Red Bones Review
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Some novels take a few chapters to get interesting, but then, by the end, you’re glad that you hung in there and finished it. Red Bones is one such book.

While he’s out hunting rabbits late one night (after a few too many beers), Ronald Couston accidentally shoots Mima Wilson in her own front yard. He doesn’t remember being anywhere near Mima’s house that night, but since he’d been drinking, he can’t really say for sure. With a new baby in his life and a job that barely covers the bills, Ronald doesn’t need the added stress.

The next day, Detective Sandy Wilson finds Mima, his grandmother, lying dead in her yard, wearing a rain slicker belonging to an archeologist named Hattie, who’s working on a dig not far from Mima’s house. Sandy can’t believe that his cousin Ronald shot his grandma, and he’s desperate to find another explanation. Could Hattie have been the original target? He calls in Detective Jimmy Perez for help on the case. Not long after, another victim is claimed in what looks like a suicide. Coincidence? Sandy thinks not—neither does Jimmy.

As Jimmy and Sandy investigate deeper, they uncover a decade-old feud and a secret kept among the older occupants on the island of Whalsay. The secret might have gotten Mima killed—and it might also have something to do with some old bones that were uncovered at the dig site. Are they ancient bones—or something more recent?

Sandy Wilson hasn’t been a detective long, so he’s not a very confident member of the law enforcement team. Instead, he looks to the more experienced Jimmy Perez to help him solve crimes, earning my respect for his character—because there are few things worse than a cocky new detective who thinks he knows it all. Thank goodness that Sandy isn’t one of them. Meanwhile, Jimmy quietly and patiently guides Sandy as he learns what it takes to solve a crime—the main rule being not to let your emotions get in the way and cloud your judgment.

Red Bones starts out slowly, but it builds into an absorbing mystery that’s filled with chilling secrets right up until the surprising and clever ending. You’ll never really suspect the killer; yet, when he or she is revealed, it makes perfect sense.

With deeply drawn characters, a gothic setting, and a plot that simmers until it explodes, Red Bones is a tightly written literary mystery. Once the story gets its claws in you, a hurricane couldn’t rip this book from your hands. So if, like me, you find that the first few chapters barely keep your eyes open, hang in there. The story definitely gets better, and you’ll be glad you finished it.

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