With the recent announcement that the title character has been cast in Lincoln, NBC's new TV pilot based on the 1999 thriller The Bone Collector, there's never been a better time to delve a little bit into the history of Lincoln Rhyme. One of the most popular characters in modern serial killer thriller writing, he has been a fixture on book store shelves for over 20 years, which means there's an abundance of material for the show's creators to mine for ideas.
Here are eight things fans should know about Lincoln Rhyme.
8 HE WAS CREATED BY WRITER JEFFREY DEAVER
Lincoln Rhyme was created by acclaimed thriller writer Jeffery Deaver and debuted in the 1997 novel The Bone Collector. A former journalist, folksinger and attorney, Deaver has written over 35 novels, three short story collections and a nonfiction law book. His novels have appeared on Bestseller lists the world over and have been translated into more than 25 different languages. All in all, he has sold 50 million books worldwide and has seen his work adapted into film three times. His first novel (1988's Manhattan Is My Beat) introduced the world to his first recurring character: Rune, a streetwise 20-year-old who worked at a video store and believed she had the key to discovering who murdered her favorite customer. It could be described as a young adult mystery and was nowhere near as dark and macabre as his later works.
7 THERE HAVE BEEN 14 LINCOLN RHYME THRILLERS
To date, there have been 14 Lincoln Rhyme thrillers published over the course of 21 years, as well as three short stories featuring the character. Their popularity has grown and grown over the years, with readers becoming accustomed to Deaver's intricate plotting, frightening subject matter and fiendish stories that bamboozle with their twisty-turny nature. The Lincoln Rhyme thrillers fit comfortably in the mystery/crime genre and will definitely appeal to fans of serial killer thrillers such Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lecter books.
Rhyme has gone up against, amongst others, a notorious killer dubbed 'the conjurer', who eludes police with magic tricks, and a killer named 'the skin collector', who turns out to be a tattooist with a chamber of torture hidden deep underground!
6 RHYME IS A QUADRIPLEGIC FORMER NYPD HOMICIDE DETECTIVE
The thing that makes Lincoln Rhyme so fascinating is that he catches killers using only his brilliant mind, as he has almost no use of his body. He was once the head of NYPD forensics and the USA's foremost criminalist; a man who could read a crime scene and create a perfect profile of a killer seemingly in an instant. But a freak accident on the job rendered him quadripleic, capable of only moving one solitary finger. At the start of The Bone Collector, he is a great mind strapped to a bed, angry and sarcastic, contemplating assisted suicide. He is reluctantly coaxed out of self-imposed retirement to track down the killer, who has buried a corpse on a deserted West Side railroad track, its bloody hand rising from the dirt...
5 HE PARTNERS WITH DETECTIVE AMELIA SACHS, WHO ACTS AS HIS EYES IN THE FIELD
The core relationship in the Lincoln Rhyme books is between Rhyme and Amelia Sachs, his eyes and ears in the field. She is the NYPD patrol officer who spots the hand sticking out of the dirt on the railroad track. All of the flesh has been removed and a large diamond ring placed on one bony finger. Sachs' work at the crime scene catches the attention of Rhyme; she is a natural, despite never having worked a scene in her life. He drafts her in to work as his arms and legs, whispering instructions in her earpiece as she does the forensic work he loved more than anything else. The two form a close bond, even though they don't always see eye to eye. In fact, in The Empty Chair, they are at odds when Sachs, the person Rhyme has taught all he knows, disagrees with his analysis and winds up harboring the very suspect Rhyme believes is a ruthless killer.
4 RHYME ALREADY MADE IT TO THE BIG SCREEN IN 1999'S THE BONE COLLECTOR
The Lincoln television show will not be the first time Rhyme has been adapted to the screen. A mere two years after The Bone Collector novel hit store shelves, a big screen adaptation was released starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. The film was directed by Phillip Noyce (Clear And Present Danger, Salt) and co-starred Queen Latifah, Michael Rooker and Ed O'Neill. It was a big hit at the box office, raking in more than $150 million worldwide, but was badly reviewed, with most critics calling it formulaic and asserting that it wasted its talented cast.
Even director Noyce was reportedly unhappy with his work on the film, believing he functioned merely as part of an assembly line project that was trying to ape the success of David Fincher's classic 1995 thriller Se7en.
3 RHYME HAS GONE UP AGAINST PROFESSIONAL HITMEN AS WELL AS SERIAL KILLERS
Over the course of their adventures, Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs have tangled with a host of terrifyingly baroque serial killers. But, they don't exclusively go up against this particularly brand of killer. In the second novel, The Coffin Dancer, they encounter an assassin with a tattoo of the Grim Reaper waltzing with a woman in front of a coffin. In The Stone Monkey, their quarry is 'the Ghost', a notorious human smuggler and killer. And in The Broken Window they uncover a chilling pattern of similar murders and rapes in which the perpetrators claim innocence, despite ironclad evidence against them. They come to believe they are dealing a master of identity theft and manipulation, whom they dub '522'.
2 DEAVER HAS RHYME CROSSOVER WITH OTHER CHARACTERS IN HIS DIFFERENT THRILLER SERIES'
Jeffery Deaver writes standalone novels alongside the Lincoln Rhyme series, but he also written a few other series' starring recurring characters as well. There are three John Pellam novels, dubbed the Location Scout series. There are also four novels starring Kathryn Dance, a brilliant interrogator and body language expert. But, Deaver has cleverly weaved his recurring characters into each other's books over the years. Dance made her first appearance in the Rhyme novel The Cold Moon, and Rhyme has briefly appeared in two of her novels. Similarly, retired FBI document examiner Parker Kincaid first appeared in the standalone novel The Devil's Teardrop, which Rhyme appeared in too. Kincaid later went on to show up in two further Rhyme novels. Perhaps these crossover characters could make appearances in Lincoln?
1 RUSSELL HORNSBY IS PLAYING RHYME IN THE TV PILOT
Russell Hornsby has made quite a name for himself over the last decade or so. Genre fans will know him as Detective Hank Griffin in NBC's supernatural police procedural series Grimm, and he also starred in 2018 Netflix crime drama Seven Seconds. On the big screen he was recently seen in Creed II and The Hate U Give. He has landed the role of Lincoln Rhyme in the upcoming show, which will see him play the role originated by his Fences co-star/director Denzel Washington. Interestingly, he is currently one of the leads in Fox's Proven Innocent, which would seem to preclude him from starring in Lincoln if it goes to series.
However, that show opened a few weeks ago to low ratings and middling reviews, so who knows what the future holds for it?