The Bone Garden
Ballantine, Oct 2007, $25.95
After her divorce, Julia Hamill buys a fixer-upper in Weston, Massachusetts. While working in the garden, she digs up a skeleton. She is curious to learn who was buried here in apparently the early nineteenth century. A relative of the previous owner informs Julia that he possesses letters and other memorabilia from the lady who resided there for many years. They might obtain answers if they go through the zillion boxes he owns.
In 1830 Rose Connolly watches her sister die of child birth fever and is told to protect and hide her niece Maggie. Rose works hard to provide the best for the child at a time when Boston is besieged by the West End Reaper killer. Rose sees the killer and is aided by Harvard medical School student Norris Marshall who is awed by her courage. Norris witnesses the killer take another victim. He is found by the Watch near the corpse. Everyone assumes Norris is the West End horror except for loyal Rose who vows to prove the love of her life is innocent.
This historical thriller is different in style, tone, and setting than any previous work of Tess Gerritsen. Readers will quickly realize how much historical research has occurred as THE BONE GARDEN brings to life 1830 Boston through police corruption considered acceptable as the norm, horrific working conditions out of a Dickens novel, and the Harvard Medical School whose ethics is quit different than that of today. The characters, especially Rose and Norris seem believable partially because of the gothic-like atmosphere that enable the audience to care about them as it seems the police and the killer are coming for them.