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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.