The Coffin Dancer is the titular antagonist in the second novel of the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffrey Deaver, The Coffin Dancer.
Role in the book
The Coffin Dancer is one of Lincoln Rhyme's greatest adversaries. He is a cunning assassin and has evaded the police for years. Lincoln helps out with the case when the Dancer is hired to take out 3 witnesses to an upcoming trial.
Throughout most of the book, the Dancer is falsely thought to be Stephen Kall. However, the Dancer is actually a homeless man named Jodie, who had subcontracted the job to Stephen and won his trust round. Knowing that he would have to kill at least one of the targets, "Jodie" took on the identity of a homeless man to get close to Stephen and to become a witness for the case, knowing he will be put into protection with the victims until the trial. Once gaining the trust of the police, Jodie kills Stephen and dumps him in a park, removing his head and hands to prevent identification.
Near the climax, Lincoln manages to deduce that Jodie is the Dancer after identifying the body as Stephen. Amelia Sachs manages to defeat Jodie before he can get his target. Jodie attempts to make a deal with a lawyer to have Lincoln arrested and jailed for incompetence, with the promise of testifying against his client. However Lincoln saw through Jodie's plans, knowing he wanted Rhyme in jail just to kill him, and will be able to return back to work. This attempt failed, and the Dancer was locked up.
The Dancer's name isn't actually "Jodie". During his persona as a homeless man, the Dancer picked the name as he felt it made him less threatening.
- The antagonist known as the "Ghost" in the 4th Rhyme novel The Stone Monkey uses a similar tactic like the Dancer by posing as a potential victim in order to win the trust of the police and be able to try and get close to his targets without suspicion.