Bone by Bone

Bone by Bone

4.1 35
by Carol O'Connell

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Brothers Oren and Josh disappear into the woods. Only Oren comes out. Twenty years later, the mystery of what happened to Josh is going to be exposed, and somebody is finally sending him home-bone by bone.See more details below


Brothers Oren and Josh disappear into the woods. Only Oren comes out. Twenty years later, the mystery of what happened to Josh is going to be exposed, and somebody is finally sending him home-bone by bone.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

At the start of O'Connell's atmospheric if overplotted stand-alone, former army CID warrant officer Oren Hobbs travels back to the small town of Coventry, Calif., where bones have begun to appear on the family property. Oren's father, a retired judge, is convinced they belong to Josh, Oren's 15-year-old brother, who vanished in the woods when Oren was 17. The town abounds in rumors as well as suspects, from a disfigured and reclusive ex-LAPD officer to a once beautiful hotel owner who may have had an affair with teenage Oren. When a grave is discovered in the woods, Oren is surprised that the broken bones belong not only to Josh but to an unknown woman. Determined to solve his brother's murder, Oren must face his own past and the real possibility that the killer might strike again. O'Connell's characters are complex as always, but she often suffocates them under unnecessary red herrings. Nevertheless, fans of her Kathleen Mallory series (Find Me, etc.) as well as new readers will be satisfied. Author tour. (Jan.)

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Library Journal

Twenty years after the disappearance of his younger brother, Josh, Oren Hobbs quits his career as an Army CID investigator and comes home because he believes his father is dying. Instead, he finds that someone has been leaving human bones on the porch of his father's house and that his father is ready to bury both Josh and the past without further investigation. When the local sheriff is both obtuse and obstructive about the case, Oren reluctantly gets drawn into investigating what happened all those years ago. In the process, he stirs up memories for several troubled townspeople of this seemingly idyllic enclave. Oren must also face his own past and present crimes. Intriguing, complex characters and long-buried secrets help build suspense and a sense of dread in this new stand-alone by the author of the gripping Mallory series (Find Me ). Although O'Connell explores new characters and crimes here, her focus remains tight on the damage that humans can do to each other. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 9/1/08.]-Devon Thomas, DevIndexing, Chelsea, MI

Kirkus Reviews
A young soldier comes home after a 20-year absence to find his widowed father aged, his loyal housekeeper unchanged and his kid brother returning, piece by piece, after having vanished two decades before. The disappearance of Josh, back when the two Hobbs brothers were teenagers, never made sense. Although no body had been found in the woods around their small Northern California town, Oren knew his brother was not a runaway. A sensitive and perceptive youth, Josh was also a gifted photographer, his snapshots often revealing more about their small town's populace than was comfortable. But the inept investigation at the time had seemed to point to Oren himself, a seductive young man involved with several of the town's women. These suspicions-and the unyielding personality of his father, a judge-had chased Oren into the Army, where he became a criminal investigator. When he comes back, believing wrongly that his father is dying, he makes a grisly discovery. Someone is returning Josh bone by bone, leaving the relics on the old judge's front porch. It's soon revealed that the mysterious visitor is leaving the remains of other victims as well. O'Connell (Find Me, 2007, etc.) knows how to get into a protagonist's head, mixing guilt and suspicion as one shady character after another surfaces. But the plotting has gaps. The local sheriff is too trusting of Oren, and his unofficial deputizing of the surviving Hobbs boy is accepted without sufficient reason or questioning. The strange neighbors are all a tad too Gothic with their obsessions, addictions and curious scars. Multiple points of view let us into these bizarre characters' heads, but none of them are as vivid as Oren, and the final effectis cartoonish rather than suspenseful. Over-the-top characters show up weak plot points in this psychological thriller.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
A Mallory Novel Series, #11
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Carol O'Connell is the author of eight previous Mallory novels, including the national bestseller Winter House, and of Judas Child.

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