Review: Bone by Bone by Carol O’Connell

bone2Title: Bone by Bone

Author: Carol O’Connell

Genre/Pages: Suspense/Mystery; 352 pages

Publication: Putnam; 12/30/2008



I’ve never read any of Carol O’Connell’s other novels, but do enjoy suspense stories.  Bone by Bone is a quirky mystery in which no character is safe from suspicion!

Set in California, Bone by Bone recounts a 17 year old missing person case.  One by one, human bones are being left on the Hobbs family’s front porch.  The patriarch, a retired judge, suspects the bones are those of his son, Josh, who has been missing for almost 20 years.  The prodigal son,  Oren, returns home after an almost 20-year exile to help solve his brother’s case.  Despite an eccentric cast of characters and terrific premise, the execution of this novel wasn’t what I thought it would be.

Bone by Bone contains so many red herrings that I began to crave Swedish fish candy.  The plot moved along and there was a good deal of characterization, but it was all lost on me–I was drowning in a sea of suspicion. 

Another reviewer compared Bone by Bone to a Seurat painting–what appears, from close up to be only a jumble of colors, transforms into a stunning painting as you pull back.  I thought this was a brilliant analogy.  As I was reading, I couldn’t see the big picture; after I finished this novel, I was able to appreciate it.

O’Connell has a huge following and her Kathleen Mallory novels are really popular.  I may try one of those because I do love the genre and don’t want to miss out just because one book left me a bit underwhelmed.

10 responses to “Review: Bone by Bone by Carol O’Connell

  1. Sounds like an interesting premise that went astray. Thanks for the review.

  2. It sounds like in a way, this book actually left you OVERwhelmed – too much going on! It does sound like an interesting premise for a book, and yet I guess I’m starting to learn as I explore the thriller genre more and more that there really is a divide between those that are mediocre in their execution and those that are in the upper echelon. It’s a shame when a good premise goes of the rails, but it happens. If you do try other books by this author, I’m interested to hear what you think of them!

  3. Laughing Out Loud at your red herring/swedish candy comment!!

    Thanks for a great, honest review

  4. Awesome review! I enjoy reading your thoughts on books! I guess I won’t rush to add this book to the top of my TBR pile.

  5. I don’t read a lot of suspense novels anymore because the ones that I’ve picked up recently seem sort of silly to me. Here’s a clue… in case you missed it, here it is again.. blah blah.

    Now I want some Swedish candy too 🙂

  6. Love the swedish candy comment! Very entertaining.

  7. Sorry this one didn’t work for you.

  8. What an interesting review – love your analogy. I haven’t read this one yet, but I’ve read the first few Mallory novels. It was a while back, and Mallory is quite the character. I have one of the newer ones in my TBR. I remember I really liked the first one – I’d love to know what you think if you decide to pick it up!

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