The Burial Hour
A Lincoln Rhyme Novel #13
Grand Central Publishing, April 2017
The latest Lincoln Rhyme mystery novel begins with an argument between the criminologist and his aide, Thom, about the forthcoming marriage of Rhyme and supercop Amelia Sachs. The controversy centers on where the honeymoon should take place, with unsentimental Lincoln lobbying for Greenland, where he can observe some new method or other, and Thom suggesting someplace more romantic. Then fate intervenes in the form of an abduction and an odd form of murder, a hanging with a noose made of a cello gut string.
When the victim is rescued in the nick of time by Sachs, the perpetrator, a mental health escapee from an institution, apparently goes to Italy, where Sachs and Rhyme follow only to be treated shabbily by the Italian police and prosecutor. Eventually, somehow all work together to solve the mystery, only after at least three more abductions take place.
Unlike previous entries in the series, forensic analysis is done by an Italian woman, albeit a capable technician, with Rhyme and Sachs only able to read the results. On the whole, this novel is less satisfying than previous books in the series. Perhaps the author strained as he based the plot on a controversial topic: cascading immigration overwhelming the country. Also, the conclusion is hardly in sync with previous novels featuring the criminologist. However, it raises the question of whether the author is preparing readers for a seismic shift in future plotting. Since there are glimmers of the old Lincoln Rhyme, this entry, as all previous ones, is recommended.
Reviewed by Ted Feit, May 2017.