Review – Bone By Bone by Carol O’Connell

bone by bone Synopsis

In the northern California town of Coventry, two teenaged brothers go into the woods one day, but only one comes back. No one knows what happened to the younger brother, Josh, until twenty years later, when the older brother, Oren, now an ex-investigator for the Army CID, returns to Coventry for the first time in many years. His first morning back, he hears a thump on the front porch. Lying in front of the door is a human jawbone, the teeth still intact. And it is not the first such object, his father tells him. Other remains have arrived there as well. Josh is coming home . . . bone by bone.

Using all his investigative skills, Oren sets out to solve the mystery of his brother’s murder, but Coventry is a town full of secrets and secret-keepers: the housekeeper with the fugitive past, the deputy with the old grudge, the reclusive ex-cop from LA, the woman with the title of town monster, and, not least of all, Oren himself. But the greatest secret of all belonged to his brother, and it is only by unravelling it that Oren can begin to discover the truth that has haunted them all for twenty years.


The basic plot of this thriller is that ex-army man Oren returns to his small-town home to help out his father. But he discovers upon arriving that his brother, missing since childhood, is coming back home – literally bone by bone. Someone is dropping body pieces off on Oren’s doorstep and the local police have no clues, leads or ideas. So they let Oren step in and takeover the investigation. The only problem is that everyone in this town is suspect, not only that but they all appear to be slightly daft.

I really enjoyed the storyline, fast-pacing and mystery of this novel. The suspense builds in a nicely timed manner leading to the final climax. All of the characters, main and supporting, were clearly developed and had original personalities. However sometimes the absolute bizarreness of the secondary players became a bit much, how on earth could any small town be home to that many weird people, they’d be buried in skeletons if suddenly all the closet doors opened simultaneously. Overall not a big problem for me, as I’m so used to grumbling about unimaginative characters. Bone By Bone is well worth a read, and I plan to check out her thriller series featuring Detective Kathleen Mallory, which has received praise from authors Jonathan Kellerman and Nelson DeMille.

About The Author

Carol O’Connell is the author of ten previous books, nine featuring Kathy Mallory, and the stand-alone Judas Child. She lives in New York City.

Published by Putman

Bone By Bone is scheduled for release in January 2009

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

Oh, that sounds like a good one. I love books like that, but I could never watch that kind of movie. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

At last, a book where you find out what happens after the kids go into the woods! (I'm still a little bitter about the end of in the Woods...can you tell?)

Ms. Bookish said...

Just saw this review in your November wrap-up. I haven't read this one, but I've enjoyed the Mallory series so far. I think I'll check Bone by Bone out.