Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bone by Bone-Carol O’Connell

Bone by Bone
Carol O’Connell
Putnam, Jan 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780399155147

Twenty years ago, then seventeen Oren Hobbs and his fifteen years old brother Josh are walking in the woods taking separate paths. When they fail to meet up, Oren searches for his sibling but his efforts prove unsuccessful; the Coventry, California townsfolk attempts to find Josh also are futile. It is as if the teen just vanished into thin air. His despondent father sends Oren to boarding school and Oren thinks it is because he didn’t want to look at him as a reminder of their loss; from their Oren joins the army where he becomes a CID investigator. He leaves the force when the family housekeeper informs him his father is dying.

Oren returns home for the first time in two decades only to find his dad in perfect health. Something creepy is happening top his family, which is why the housekeeper asked him to come home. Josh’s bones are left on the porch every night and his dad places them in a coffin in Josh’s room every morning. Someone appears to know where Josh was killed and the sheriff, not interested in a cold case, gives Oren permission to investigate. Like any town, Coventry has its dark secrets, which Oren plans to bring into the light so that he and his family can finally attain closure.

Whereas Mallory takes a breather, the great Carol O'Connell provides a deep psychological suspense thriller that will give readers goose-bumps. Readers see skeletons in the closet slowly revealed as Oren gets closer to the truth. The eccentric support cast provides a strong feeling of small-town California living while their point of view enhances the cold case whodunit investigation. However, as with the Mallory series, Ms. O’Connor digs deep into the lingering psychological aftermath of human atrocities on surviving family members and their circle of friends and neighbors; the entire town of Coventry is still haunted twenty hears after the tragedy.

Harriet Klausner