Today’s book review of a crime novel is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey.
Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen
Synopsis: Julia Hamill is gardening one afternoon in rural Massachusetts when her spade strikes something soft and unyielding – not a rock but a human skull. Medical examiner Maura Isles quickly determines that the skeleton – that of a woman – dates back to the early 1800s. ‘But too much time has passed,’ Maura warns Julia. ‘We may never know the whole story of how she died’. Boston in the 1830s is a place of disease and pestilence – and no one is more aware of this than Norris Marshall, a student at Harvard Medical School who is forced to support himself by performing the most secretive job of all. Norris is a resurrectionist – a body-snatcher – who procures cadavers from grave robbers in order to further his study of human anatomy. Soon he finds himself hunting the most notorious killer of his time, a shadowy figure who flits through graveyards and glittering ballrooms. What he does not realize is that the killer is far closer than he thinks…
Switching occasionally between the 1800s and present day, I found far too much of the historical events versus too little of the latter, and the content set in the 1800s took on too much of a fantastical tone for my liking (mention of child sacrifice and figures in cloaks) – I laughed at the film version of The Exorcist.
The writing’s good so I’m sure I’ll enjoy other books by Tess but I struggled with Laurel Lefkow’s narration. It was OK generally but over dramatic when narrating male characters and I found it comical which I shouldn’t have done.
Although it was an interesting story, with Rose my favourite character, the latter parts of the 1800s section were disappointing and the present day sections unconvincing.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a prolific blogger, podcaster, editor / critiquer, Chair of NWG (which runs the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition), Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction Competition and creative writing tutor for her local county council. She is also a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog, https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page). She also recently created five online writing groups and an interview-only blog.
Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List ($0.99 / £0.77) and she has six others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has eight collections of short stories available (also $0.99 / £0.77 each) – detailed on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories.
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