Part of my efforts for 2019 has been not only to read more, but to read more fiction. While browsing my local library’s ebook collection, I discovered ebook versions of some murder-mystery books I’d read and enjoyed in high school and college. They were the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffery Deaver, and were part of what piqued my interest in some brief studies of forensics during my undergrad.
I first read The Bone Collector, a few months ago, and most recently read The Coffin Dancer. They’re an interesting study in contrast. The Bone Collector introduces the characters, but they’re not fully formed yet and are held together by the tension of the plot. The Coffin Dancer aims to bring more character development into the mix, while maintaining a tense plot.
I remember liking The Coffin Dancer more than its predecessor in the past, but present me prefers The Bone Collector. [Mild spoiler alert forthcoming:] This isn’t due to the suspense, per se, but rather to a certain subplot that both shows its age (being published in 1998) and some old-fashioned homophobia. See, one of the antagonists is gay, or a victim of childhood abuse and sexual abuse, or all of the above. And said antagonist is closeted and so is subject to experiencing “latent homosexuality” (ugh, why was that ever a thing), which is then used to another antagonist’s advantage while various protagonists use the opportunity to use a variety of slurs, because why not?
So what I found myself experiencing was re-reading a book now, as an out and proud gay man, and my past self, reading that same book while closeted and afraid. And where my past self saw such things as a reflection of the culture and a reason to hide, my current self recognizes what is wrong and so pushes back.
In the end, it’s a read that reflected my past right back to me, and for that reason alone, I’m glad I reread it. Otherwise, this one isn’t essential.