Review

Bone by Bone

by Carol O’Connell

Oren Hobbs has been gone for 20 years. Now he has come home. His
brother, Josh, will never be home again. At least not alive. On a
bright day two decades ago, Oren and his brother walked into the
woods around the northern California town of Coventry, but Josh
never came out. Until now. Bone by bone, he is returning under the
cloak of night.

“The bones of the body were dusted with soil, but the
skull bore the circular marks of cloth-wiped dirt. No part of the
skeleton showed signs of exposure to the elements…Raw burial
could only be read as murder.”

With a word like “murder” on everyone’s lips,
Josh’s brother is eager to learn the truth of that long-ago
day, a day that has haunted him since he left. Or, more accurately,
since he was sent away. He spent time in the intervening years as
part of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Army, so if he
can manage to put aside his emotions, Oren will be the ideal person
to look into the death that rocked his small hometown. The
boys’ father, Judge Hobbs, now retired, has suffered much
since the loss of his youngest son. If not for his housekeeper
Hannah, the judge himself might not have survived. Can the three of
them unearth the secrets the forest holds? If they can’t,
it’s a pretty sure bet the local police can’t. The
sheriff is nothing if not incompetent, and his deputies are even
worse. Or do they have something to cover up?

Of course, small towns have secrets everywhere, and Coventry is
no exception. In fact, it may have more than most. Teeming with
eccentric residents, Coventry sounds like an ideal place for
misfits to escape to. It has a distinct personality all its own,
peopled with folks who are just a little bit unusual. An oft-voiced
joke around the town is that no one goes to the library.
Admittedly, the librarian has a tenuous grasp on sanity, but is
there something about the building itself that houses a shady
past?

Naturally, an event like the discovery of a skeleton, especially
when it comes in installments, attracts the attention of the media.
So not only does Oren have a murder to figure out, he also has a
cadre of news hounds to keep at bay. Their meddling can cause all
sorts of unwelcome publicity, and does.

As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that Oren always loved
women, and they loved him. Josh always loved photography. That
certainly could be an explosive combination. Is it possible that
Josh captured a crime in progress with his camera? Or maybe he came
upon lovers with more than just an affair to hide. Whatever the
reason, Josh is dead and Oren wants to know why. Or does Oren know
why?

There are more mysteries in Coventry than Josh’s
disappearance. Full of robust characters, BONE BY BONE unmasks the
murderer as it exposes a family’s tragedy. As complex as it
is entertaining, Carol O’Connell’s latest novel will
more than thrill its audience. Well written and beautifully paced,
this is a must-read for mystery buffs.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on December 22, 2010

Bone by Bone
by Carol O’Connell

  • Publication Date: December 30, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0399155147
  • ISBN-13: 9780399155147