Another serial killer is targeting New York City. He kidnaps his victims, takes them underground into sub-basements and tunnels, then kills them by tattooing them not with ink but with various poisons. The tattoos, which are a series of numeric words, seem to be sending a message to whomever is bright enough to decipher it. Lincoln Rhyme, the quadriplegic forensic scientist who consults with the New York
police, knows as soon as he hears about the first victim that this is a case only he and his team can solve.
The team consists of Rhyme, Amelia Sachs
(a policewoman and Lincoln's lover), Ron Pulaski, who is the newest member of the team, and various other individuals who are at the top of their fields. One thing the team discovers early on is that the killer has stolen a copy of the chapter in a true crime book that outlines Lincoln's first famous case--that of The Bone Collector. That was the case that pulled him out of the despair he felt after his accident left him disabled and that
which brought him and Amelia together. Is the killer studying that case in order to understand how Rhyme works and what makes him the best investigator in the city?
As the incidents mount and the kill total climbs, the team races to stop the killer before he can finish his plan. They are able to stop some of his attacks by figuring out where he will strike next. The stakes are raised as the killer starts to target the individuals on the team. Now they must watch their own backs as they try to move forward
with the investigation. As in most Deaver novels, there are plenty of twists and turns, enough to keep the reader off-balance. The killer is a chilling individual, and a look into his mind makes the most hardy reader shiver. The book ends with a satisfactory conclusion, and everything is explained in a way that makes it all seem obvious. This book is recommended for mystery readers.