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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Review - Rumor of Bones

Today I review the first in an older series.  I have reviewed books by the Beverly Connor for her Diane Fallon Forensics series before:  One Grave Less #9 (click here) and The Night Killer #8 (click here).  But this was my introduction to the Lindsay Chamberlain series that Ms. Connor also pens.  Let's join an archaeology dig in Georgia that turns deadly.

Author: Beverly Connor

Copyright: March 2001 (Cumberland House) 320 pgs

Series: 1st in Lindsay Chamberlain Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild - clinical descriptions of death, serial killer of children

Mystery Sub-genre: Amateur Sleuth

Main Character: Lindsay Chamberlain, Forensic anthropologist 

Setting: Modern day, Georgia

Obtained Through: Personal purchase

From book cover: "Lindsay Chamberlain has a problem. People keep finding bodies in shallow graves and bringing the bones to her. It's not that she doesn't know what to do with the remains. An anthropologist who specializes in archaeology, she is an expert in the forensic analysis of bones.

It's the bones of missing children, however, that disturb her, and lately she's had more than her share of them. Someone has been abducting young girls in the area for several years, and their remains have recently been found in shallow graves in a nearby wooded area. And Lindsay is asked to identify them.

A lot of strange things have happened since Lindsay and her colleagues from the Anthropology Department at the University of Georgia first began excavating the Indian settlement at Jasper Creek. First came the grave robbers and pot hunters, then the mysterious opposition that jeopardizes their work. After the shady lawyer who has orchestrated some of the trouble is murdered and someone attempts to abduct a nine-year-old girl, Lindsay finds herself in the middle of a crime that took place sixty years earlier. Because so much time has passed, it looks as if the murderer will get away with the crime. Can Lindsay provide the proof needed to bring the killer to justice?"

Lindsay Chamberlain, a forensic anthropology expert, flawed and extremely independent who has trouble asking for help.  I enjoyed her character and look forward to reading more of her.  Derrick is an old friend from college and colleege on the dig. He and Lindsay also partner for dance competitions.  I loved the dance aspect.  Frank is the director of the dig and he seems conflicted in his desire for Lindsay or Marsha from the nearby town.  Sheriff Duggan relies on Lindsay to identify the bones of children, victims of an apparent serial killer.  He is a great character, layered, tough as nails, but reasonable.

The dig site, among trees and near a river, is used to create an atmospheric setting.  I felt like I was camped out and part of the dig crew.  The plot begins simply and gets progressively more complicated.  The unfolding picture of a small town hiding a terrible secret is punctuated with the drama on the dig itself and sub plots of the character interactions.  

There are several scenes that are tense or gripping, the climax was more a police search and confrontation with the killer.  Although I tend to like exciting killer reveals, this fit the tone of the story and worked well.  The wrap up answers the final pieces to the puzzle and offers more closure. 

I like how Lindsay "time trips" and sees what the areas must have been like in the past in her mind's eye. This ability is useful in the investigation too.  The correlation of archaeology and criminal forensics is explained and demonstrated.  Characters are finely fleshed out with emotional depth.  The overall story remains as a memory you lived for a few hours.  I appreciate Ms. Connor's writing style and skill.  

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it, it had a good grip on me! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list.

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