Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Old Bones

Old Bones by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
Grand Central Publishing: 8/20/19
hardcover; 384 pages
ISBN-13: 9781538747223
Nora Kelly Series #1

Old Bones by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is a very highly recommended tale of suspense and the first book in a new series.

Nora Kelly, a curator at the Santa Fe Institute of Archaeology, is approached by historian Clive Benton with an offer to lead a team in search of the third 'Lost Camp' of the Donner Party. Benton has found out where the camp may be located from a long-lost diary of one of the victims. The Donner Party became snow bound and trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains over the winter of 1846-47 when some members of the party resorted to cannibalism in an attempt to survive. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Nora. When Benton also informs Nora that there may be $20 million in gold coins hidden in the camp, the search acquires a sense of secrecy to keep treasure hunters away.
During this same time, new FBI special agent Corrie Swanson is assigned her first case. She is investigating the murder of a man found on top of the exposed grave of Florence Regis. After the body is removed, the coffin is opened and it is discovered that the upper part of Regis' body is missing. As Swanson continues the investigation, she uncovers a link between Regis and the Donner Party - and there are other cases that may also be linked. This link sends Swanson to Nora's dig site where the two strong, intelligent women meet - and clash - for the first time.

Long time readers of Preston and Child will recognize both Nora Kelly and Corrie Swanson as characters who have appeared in some novels from the Pendergast series I am absolutely thrilled to see that a new series is beginning with Nora Kelly as the main character (and I assume Carrie Swanson will be joining her). The two together could make for a dynamic relationship, since they are intelligent, analytical, observant, strong women. They may clash, but they could also play off each other nicely. For those who need to know, Pendergast makes a brief appearance at the end.

The writing is excellent, as expected, and the plot is intriguing and fascinating. Perhaps it helps being familiar with New Mexico and the Sierra Nevada's, as well as the history of the Donner Party. Although this novel is fiction - there is no third lost camp - it does relay what happened during that winter. Old Bones can be enjoyed without reading any of the previous novels that include Kelly and Swanson as characters. Preston and Child include pertinent facts and background information about the characters and expound upon the information here, furthering their character envelopment. As always, I will continue to read any book Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child write.

No comments: