Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver

The Bone Collector has been sitting on my 'To Be Read' shelf for a while now. I don't really even remember buying it. Anyway, I was looking for something to read, and I've been doing a lot of children / young adult books lately, so I decided to take a break with something decidedly adult. It was either this or The English Patient, and I'm just not there emotionally right now. So, The Bone Collector it was. I had read about 20 pages when I had this feeling of familiarity. Aha! This was that movie from several years ago with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Well, crap. Ok, so what do I remember about that movie? Hmmmm....not much. I remember not feeling that it was extrordinarily wonderful. I remember caves or tunnels or something dark and dank. Yeah, that's about it. Well, ok, so I'll keep reading, but I'm not expecting much.
I have to say that I was really surprised by this book, in more ways than one. First of all, it was far better than I had figured. The plot was superbly written, the pacing was perfect - it didn't feel rushed nor did it lag in places, and the characters we were supposed to root for were believable and endearing. The other thing that surprised me was the ending. Rarely do I read a 'mystery' that ends with an 'ohhhhh, so that's who it was.' Generally, I've got it figured out pretty early on. I wouldn't necessarily use the word shocked, but I will say that I was far from disappointed in the ending. Deaver has masterfully crafted a magical blend of page-turning action with a smartly written plot. Because the story focuses on a great deal of forensic science, there were probably aspects of the book that were a tad dated (it was first published in 1997), but to a non-criminalist they don't really stick out.
Most books that I'd qualify as thrillers generally go the way of something to read for fun - not much on substance, but high on entertainment. The Bone Collector had huge helpings of both.