November 2018

Book Reviews

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Cave of Bones by Anne Hillerman. Harper Collins, 2018, 305 pp.

I began a book that looked interesting, but it was not. Then I thought I would review the one I was reading for my book club, but I did not care for it at all so I had to hurry through Cave of Bones for something to review and thoroughly enjoyed it.

It is a mystery, mostly in Navaho territory, and features Tribal Police Officers Bernie Manuelito and Jim Chee, who is also Bernie’s husband.

Bernie is asked to give a talk to a group of girls with problems, who are in the hills camping. She arrives to find that one of the girls had gone missing but had just returned. However, one of the instructors, a man who is very knowledgeable about the area, which is a rugged area of lava deposits, and had gone to find her, is now missing. This is the beginning of a search with many twists and turns.

In the meantime, her husband, Jim Chee, is attending a class he has been asked to take and while there is trying to help with some personal problems with Bernie’s sister and some other Navaho families. These problems intersect at times and some become very dangerous. The descriptions of the scenery are wonderful. I lived in the mountains in Colorado for a few years, and although it was a different part of that country, I could still relate to it.

I also could feel nervous when Bernie was alone, and I thought that something might happen to her. But then she always seemed to “call it in” to headquarters, and I would be relieved.

I had read a book about the same characters some time ago and might even have reviewed it. I do highly recommend her mysteries.                       – C.M.

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan, Penguin, 2018, 389 pp.

I had the same problem as Carol in finding a book to review and finally found one.

The prologue to this book takes place in l993, when Cormac Reilly, a fledgling police officer in the Irish town of Mayo, is sent to answer a distress call. He finds Maude, a fifteen-year-old  girl, with her brother Jack in a decrepit old house. Upstairs their mother, Hilaria, is lying dead. Both children appear to have been abused. Cormac takes them to the hospital, but while Jack is being examined Maude disappears.

The story actually begins in 2013 when Cormac, now a detective, has recently joined the police force in Galway. He soon discovers that a body found in the river Corrib is Jack, the boy he helped twenty years before. The police say it was probably suicide, but Aisling, Jack’s heartbroken girlfriend, insists that couldn’t be true.

Aisling is one of the key characters, as is Maude, Jack’s sister who has returned from Australia. Other characters are members of the Galway Police Force. (I hope this isn’t a true picture of the Irish police. The chief, Rogers, is an impossible man, and the rest of the force are divided and difficult).

Cormac delves into the background of Jack’s life and finds he was a balanced and amiable person. The investigation continues and reaches back to 1993 and the death of Jack and Maude’s mother. The final conclusion is stunning.                         

– P.M

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