Berkley, Jul 2008, $23.95
Physical anthropologist and homicide solver Gideon Oliver and his wife are attending the annual International Paleoanthropological Society Conference held in Gibraltar. Oliver, known as the Skelton Detective, is going to celebrate the discovery of the First family, a Homo sapiens mother holding her hybrid Neanderthal son. This find proved that the two humanoid species interacted, mated and had offspring.
Although he never worked at the site, Oliver examined the bones of the Gibraltar woman and her son. While on the Rock, only luck saves him from being killed. He thinks someone deliberately pushed him, but is not fully sure if it happened or it was his imagination.. When he gets set to lecture, only the warning of a fellow scientist keeps him from being electrocuted. He thinks the attempts on his life are linked to a story planted by his editor in the newspaper about a revelation he will make. When it is discovered another group member Sheila Chin was not killed in a cave in but murdered also, Oliver concludes someone working the site is willing to commit two years ago but was murdered Oliver decides to start his investigation.
In some ways Oliver will remind forensic fans of Scarpetta as he uses the latest scientific techniques and some intuition to solve homicides. In this tale, Aaron Elkins makes it easy for the lay reader to understand the science behind physical anthropology and the pressure the scholars are under to discover something. The whodunit is entertaining as the suspects are professionally gathered from around the world sharing the same motive and opportunity. Fans will appreciate the Bone Detective as he searches amidst UNEASY RELATIONS to find a killer.