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Valley of Bones: A Novel

Valley of Bones: A Novel

4.7 17
by Michael Gruber

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The startling reviews of Tropic of Night announced Michael Gruber as one of the most talented thriller writers to debut in many years. Now, with the much-anticipated publication of Valley of Bones, Gruber fulfills that genre-bending promise as perhaps no writer since Graham Greene, with a genuinely exhilarating thriller that simultaneously offers


The startling reviews of Tropic of Night announced Michael Gruber as one of the most talented thriller writers to debut in many years. Now, with the much-anticipated publication of Valley of Bones, Gruber fulfills that genre-bending promise as perhaps no writer since Graham Greene, with a genuinely exhilarating thriller that simultaneously offers a profound, deeply provocative exploration of the nature of faith itself.

The setting is Miami. Rookie cop Tito Morales arrives at the Trianon Hotel to investigate a routine disturbance call -- and, to his shock and horror, watches as a wealthy oilman plunges ten stories and impales himself on a nearby fence. Soon Morales is joined by detective Jimmy Paz, famous throughout the city for solving -- or at least providing a plausible solution to -- the so-called Voodoo Murders that left Miami burning months earlier.

Together Paz and Morales enter the hotel and discover, in the dead man's room, a most unusual suspect, an otherworldly woman by the name of Emmylou Dideroff. She emerges from a rapturous, prayerlike state and admits that she had a motive for killing the oilman. Ultimately, she says she wants to confess, and asks for a pen and several notebooks in which to convey the details of her confession.

What Emmylou writes is nothing like what Paz expects; he enlists psychologist Lorna Wise in an effort to make sense of things that go beyond Emmylou's explanation of the murder: details of childhood abuse, of other crimes committed, of regular communion with saints -- and with the devil. Is she mentally disturbed or playacting in hopes of getting declared unfit for trial? Or does she really believe herself to be an instrument of God? And why is it that so many people -- including Paz's biological father -- are suddenly interested in the contents of these notebooks and in preventing them from becoming public?

As Valley of Bones moves toward its startling and dramatic finale, Emmylou's "confessions" lead Jimmy Paz, Lorna Wise, and Tito Morales down a series of unexpected and dangerous turns that puts them in the path of perhaps the most terrifying evil imaginable and forces each of them to confront questions about faith, love, and the possibility of the miraculous.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Jimmy Paz , #2
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Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Michael Gruber is the author of five acclaimed novels. He lives in Seattle.

Brief Biography

Seattle, Washington
Date of Birth:
October 1, 1940
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
B.A., Columbia University, 1961; Ph.D., University of Miami, 1973

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4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great characters, an intricate, globe-trotting plotline, and an exploration of faith's place in the world make this an enticing whodunit. A great read!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Miami Police Officer Morales was just leaving the Trianon Hotel after responding to a hoax call of a disturbance when he saw the man fall from the tenth floor balcony. Though he wanted to vomit, he first called in a homicide and held back his physical need so as not to compromise the crime scene. Not long afterward renowned Detective Paz arrives to take charge of the investigation.--- They head up to room 10D to learn more about the victim Jabir Akran al-Muwalid to decide whether a suicide, an accident or a murder occurred. Inside the room in some form of a trance is Emmylou Dideroff who insists that she was talking with the dead Saint Catherine of Siena before she fainted. She also says that Mr. al-Muwalid is a mass murderer slaughtering thousands from her tribe and others with his death squad in the Sudan; she swears she came to forgive him not kill him though the murder weapon belongs to her.--- Above are just the first few pages of an excellent crime thriller that plays out on three interconnected fascinating story lines. The obvious is Jimmy Paz¿s investigation; then there is the extracts from the book Faithful Unto Death: The Story of the Nursing Sisters of the Blood of Christ by St. Benedicta Cooley; finally the handwritten bound notes dubbed The Confessions of Emmylou Dideroff that the wild protagonist furbishes to Paz. Fans of deep police procedurals with two intriguing twists (the other sub-stories) starring a wonderful protagonist and a weird but intriguing suspect will take immense delight with Michael Gruber¿s return of the Paz (see TROPIC OF NIGHT).--- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michael Gruber takes the title of his second novel from the Book of Ezekiel, the verse that refers to the hand of the Lord setting one down 'in the midst of the valley, which was full of bones.' Not a very pleasant prospect. In this fast paced story readers will find themselves wondering precisely what it is the Lord or demonic forces can do as they are introduced to a fictional order of nuns that increased its ranks from among orphaned and disabled young girls, and meet Emmylou Dideroff, a devout Catholic woman who claims to have communion with saints - and the devil. While Valley Of Bones is described as a thriller, it's an enormous mistake to simply pigeon hole this exhilarating page-turner. Gruber pens, if you will, a thinking man's thriller - it delves more deeply than most and his characters are both original and unique. (Not too many thriller writers create characters who quote Thomas Merton). His plots are multi-layered. His narratives send chills down your spine while they just as easily challenge you to think. Set in Miami, Valley of Bones opens with a young policeman, Tito Morales, witnessing a fall from a hotel balcony. A fall that results in the impalement of a wealthy oilman. Morales had come to the hotel in response to a minor disturbance call, but has witnessed a death and heard a thud that he'll 'remember to his grave.' Soon on the scene is homicide detective Jimmy Paz (met in 'Tropic of Night'). Paz has a reputation as a crime solver, but neither of the two were prepared for what they found in the man's hotel room - Emmylou Dideroff in a trance-like state. She doesn't take long to relate her reasons for killing the oilman and asks for several notebooks so that she can explain her action and write her confession. Is she a woman truly possessed or is she pretending to be such in order to be declared unfit for trial? Whatever the answer to that question is, psychologist Dr. Lorna Wise testifies that Dideroff is indeed mentally unable to stand trial. Wise pores over the notebooks the woman has filled in an attempt to understand what could have driven her to such an extreme. But the writings make little sense outside of references to childhood abuse, and previous crimes. Meanwhile, Paz has a few demons of his own in the form of nightmares, frightening dreams he cannot fully comprehend. He seeks the help of his mother, a santera, to banish the dream. Wise soon finds herself caught in a web, a bicultural web woven by mysticism and Santeria. And, like all webs it's extremely dangerous. Gruber doesn't short shift readers on romance - there's a torrid one between Wise and Paz. As a matter of fact, this author doesn't short shift readers in any area. After spending years as a speechwriter and ghostwriter for popular legal thrillers, Gruber finally wrote under his own name. He was worth waiting for. - Gail Cooke
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book! Love the inclusion of the spirt world into the everyday world. Love the unique characters.
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J_Walter More than 1 year ago
I found "The Room" by Michael James to be fast paced and engaging. Adventure, suspense, mystery and believable characters all uniquely woven together kept me turning the pages needing to discover what was coming next and how this wonderful tale was going to end.
A well written book which links the past to the present and provokes thought and introspection of our eternal spiritual journey. Well done Michael James ! I'm looking forward to his next book.