Hollow Bones Review
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College kids are notorious for getting themselves into trouble. But in Hollow Bones, the latest Caitlyn Tierney crime thriller by author C. J. Lyons, one college girl gets herself into something much more serious than just a Saturday night bender—and it’s up to the FBI to help her out.

Hollow Bones finds Supervisory Special Agent Caitlyn Tierney settling into her new position as the FBI’s Local Law Enforcement Liaison. But it isn’t long before she’s called away, as a favor to her boss, to investigate the disappearance of college student Maria Alvarado from a cruise ship.

Once Caitlyn meets up with Maria’s friends at the ship’s latest stop in Mexico, she discovers that there’s more to the case than just a simple disappearance. Maria planned to leave the ship, eager to take part in an archeological expedition in Guatemala. But it soon becomes obvious that the expedition was an elaborate hoax, set up to lure Maria away—and she could be in serious danger.

In her third adventure (after Blind Faith and Black Sheep), Caitlyn may be the lead agent on the case, but she often takes a backseat in the action. Instead of keeping Caitlyn in the forefront, the story is split between Caitlyn’s investigation, Maria’s experiences in Guatemala, and the unofficial investigation by Caitlyn’s would-be boyfriend, forensic accountant Jake Carver. For that reason, the Caitlyn of Hollow Bones is just a shadow of the strong yet vulnerable character that was developed in Black Sheep.

But the same is true of the other characters, too. With just a small part of the story focusing on each character, none of them are given a whole lot of personality—and none have the opportunity to stand out as particularly memorable. Instead, they simply do their jobs and fill their roles to make the story work.

Fortunately, though, while the characters may not be particularly memorable, the story itself is. The subject matter—which touches on the horrors of the human tissue trade—is often more terrifying than any Hollywood slasher flick. It definitely makes for a suspenseful read—and it’s handled remarkably well by the author, who also happens to be an E. R. doctor.

Hollow Bones isn’t a strong, character-driven thriller—and readers probably won’t race out to pick up other books in the series based on Caitlyn’s personality alone. But the chilling story makes up for the flaws in character development. It isn’t the best book in the series, but it’s still worth a look.

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