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Bones [Mass Market Paperback]

Jan Burke
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 1 2001
Irene Kelley bets her life on a deal she makes with a serial killer in the novel that "firmly ensconces [Burke] in the mystery pantheon with Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Robert B. Parker, and John Sandford."(The Tennessean)

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Product Description

From Amazon

Nobody writes better than Jan Burke about the real world of print journalism, and that aspect of her latest Irene Kelly mystery is as strong as ever. The tensions of being the wife of a cop and continuing to work as a crime reporter in the Southern California desert city of Las Piernas have increased with each big story Irene covers: it's almost as though her associates are waiting for her to make some mistake, to fumble a story. When an edgy, rebellious teenage girl asks her to look for her missing mother, Irene crosses the path of a very dangerous serial killer--Nicholas Parrish. He is one of those totally anonymous but enormously gifted and resourceful villains found only in fiction. Parrish kills women who happen to look like Irene (and his abusive mother), and attracts devoted disciples to his grisly cause. Because of Irene's involvement, several more lives are damaged or endangered, and the strain takes its toll on the reporter's mental stability.

Burke is such a fine, realistic writer that she can tread her way carefully across territory already well covered by Patricia Cornwell, Jeffery Deaver, Thomas Harris, et al. and still find something new to say about ritual murder and forensic science. But her real talent is bringing to full, instant life a remarkable woman--and the city she lives and works in. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In her seventh outing (after Liar, 1998), journalist Irene Kelly is part of the investigative team on the hunt for serial killer Nicholas Parrish's many victims. Their graves are in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, and Parrish, having entered a plea bargain, is there too, leading the team to the women's corpses in exchange for a life sentence instead of the death penalty. But Parrish has planned a surprise or two. When a grave explodes, most of the team are killed, Irene flees, and the killer escapes. Back home, Irene continues to work at the behest of Gillian Sayre, the daughter of one victim. Her hunt for Parrish is made considerably easier by his growing obsession with her. A cunning psychopath with a calm demeanor, Parrish heavily resembles Hannibal Lecter. Rather than eat his victims, however, he tortures and dismembers them. Burke spends the first third of the novel overbuilding Parrish's reputation, so by the time she actually depicts his depravity the horrors are a bit anticlimatic. Later, the killer's mysterious accomplice, "The Moth," will be too easily identified by readers, especially after Burke unsuccessfully labors to mask his/her gender. And Parrish is only generically, not memorably twisted. Though Irene and other characters are well wrought and realistic, too many red herrings are introduced, all meant to distract the reader from the true evil, which, once fully revealed, just isn't quite evil enough. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The sensation of being watched had been almost constant on this journey, and now I was feeling it again. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, If you Like This Kind of Book Jan. 25 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read the whole series and watched Ms. Burke's writing become stronger and more enticing. This one was almost a bit too much for me. People have said cruel things such as the only interesting character is a dog, too many characters, killer not developed, etc. I can't agree with any of that. This book is superb. Complex, compassionate, interesting, surprising, capitivating. I wanted to put it down because it was making me scared. This killer became too real and she went too far into his personality for my comfort, but the book was so good I couldn't stop. Yes, something startling happens in the beginning of the book, and I wonder what would happen next because there was so much book left. Burke gives us our money's worth to the VERY END, and it's a long book. My only complaint, is that she brought me a little too close to the motivations and pleasures of the killer for my comfort. Where did she learn to do that? Too much information for my enjoyment, but it's a talent I have to admire. I fear now she won't be able to go back. All of the books will be this scary. Yes, it did seem odd that Jan Burke would create such a perfect killer and then work the night shift in a dark, deserted building, but her Irene Kelly is an independent cuss. She deserves a break of good luck in the next book. My favorite one of the series was HOCUS. Burke matured from the earlier books, developed her characters, and her story line, and didn't scare the BEJESUS out of the reader the way she did with BONES. I hope she'll go back to the intelligent book that's not so scary. This killer really gets it though. Perfect punishment. Perfect book. Too perfect. :) I'm still scared.
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3.0 out of 5 stars This isn't a novel, this is two books in one... May 23 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Man, this book was great. The ending left everything nice and open and...well then the novel continued for 200 vastly more boring pages. It's like two novels in one, only the first novel is interesting (if disjointed) and the second one is just unbelievably boring. And as usual, the GRAVE DENOUCEMENT at the end that explains it all and shows who the TRUE EVIL of the book is does nothing but make the reader feel cheated - as in you wonder why you even bothered reading the first 180 pages of the novel.
Good book up until halfway through, when the second plot kicks in and everything just falls apart. I'd say give it a read as Irene Kelly is pretty interesting. It's a shame the first half of the novel couldn't have been longer and better written (with more emphasis on the killer and his assistant) and the second half could have just been left on the cutting room floor.
Eh. Mildly recommended. Just stop after about halfway through to save yourself the dissapointments coming up. And keep a notebook handy so you can keep the plethora of supporting characters straight - too many characters doing too many things weighed this book down heavily.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Being a fan of Jeffery Deaver and Patricia Cornwell, this book was recommended to me by a fellow reader. I had read Burke's "Flight" last year and quite enjoyed it, but found "Bones" a very different kind of story. "Flight" was more of a human interest story with a mystery thrown in, whereas "Bones" definitely enters Deaver "grisly and creepy serial killer book" territory.
Burke's ongoing character Irene Kelly, a feisty journalist, is part of a team of mostly cops and forensic specialists going on a mountain trek with a serial killer to find the body of a victim he says he buried there. Thus begins a harrowing, tragic and creepy cat-and-mouse game that will keep you reading (and maybe even keep you awake) until the end.
I guess my only criticism would be that the book is packed with such an enormous cast of characters that it is sometimes difficult to keep them straight (this is more in the first half, though). Fortunately, the later part of the story focuses most of its attention on 4 or 5 of them so it's easier to follow.
The book's villain is not one you're likely to forget soon!
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5.0 out of 5 stars impressive debut Jan. 24 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Other reviews have praised Burke's grasp of forensic details, but I think what really distinguishes her writing is her fine grasp of psychological detail-- there is hardly a false note in its 420 pages. Events follow logically from characters' motivations, which is not to say that the novel is without its small pleasures and surprises (not to mention a few big ones near the end), it's just that the story doesn't have to jump through hoops or pull rabbits out of a hat to blindside the reader. The serial killer is intelligent and cunning without seeming to have superhuman powers, and is all the more believable and chilling for it. Anyone unfamiliar with this novel should know that Burke takes her time to develop her story; in lesser hands, this would be a fatal flaw, but her sheer confidence in her story-- and her characters-- is able to overcome this. Of the dozens, maybe hundreds, of crime novels I read every year, there is usually only one or two which really stand out. This is one of those novels.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A breakout book for Jan Burke March 4 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've never read any of the Irene Kelly mysteries before but there was a subaudible buzz about BONES that good, perceptive readers had heard about THE ALIENIST, A MAIDEN'S GRAVE and THE BONE COLLECTOR. While BONES doesn't quite match up to the abovementioned books (the characterization and dialogue is a bit stale and the book features a bewilderingly large array of supporting characters), the character of Nick Parrish is an intriguing one and the various "messages" that he leaves for Irene are chilling and disturbing.
And it is Nick Parrish who's also the reason I gave this book only three stars. I would've liked to have seen more space given to Parrish's point of view and more vivid descriptions of his handiwork, which Burke shies from. An interesting character like Parrish deserves to have his psychopathology explored and explicated for the reader.
The premise for BONES is this: Take the last scene of SE7EN and then write a story from there. Nick Parrish strikes a deal- commutation of his death sentence to a life sentence if he shows the authorities where the body of his last victim is buried. Much mystery is built up and one even begins to speculate whether she's even dead. But when her corpse is exhumed, Burke never explains adequately why Parrish tortured and killed her, which would've at least begun to explain his twisted motives for killing who he did and continues to kill.
Parrish's escape is ingenious and the identity of his assistant The Moth is a genuine surprise. If Burke can think of a way to bring Parrish back, I'd certainly buy a hardcover sequel.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful serial killer novel!
This was the first book I have read by Jan Burke and I was very impressed! The first couple of hundred pages are fabulous and have many good twists and turns. Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by "bhensley37"
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT!!!
This has been the best book in thriller/mystery that I have read. (and I read plenty...) I know many readers say they couldnt put the book down but, but its soo true, this book... Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2004 by sevphire
5.0 out of 5 stars Bones by Jan Burke
As a first-time reader of Jan Burke, I wasn't sure what to expect. What I got was an incredibly suspenseful story that was incredibly well-written. Read more
Published on June 1 2003 by Robert Rosen
4.0 out of 5 stars A Twisty Little Mystry
This thing is brain candy of the Edgar Award winning variety (deservedly so), but it is clever and quite unpredictable at times. Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2003 by Ms. Antoinette P. Burnham
5.0 out of 5 stars Tick Tock- Just A Matter of Time until You Cant Put It Down
This is one of those books that you read where you dont want the characters to take another step - because you know where they are going, and you want to save them. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2003 by "momsbusybiz"
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling
At first when I picked up this book I expected it to be mediocore and just ok. But after probably the first 10 pages I just couldn't put the book down. Read more
Published on Sept. 15 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A quick read with a suspensful plot and excellent characters
This is one of my all time favorite psychological suspense novels. If you enjoyed "Silence of the Lambs" read this novel. Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2002 by "oceanmarina"
5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic or not, it still achieves severe goosebumps!
I was surprised when I read some of the other reviews written here. Yes, some things were predictable if you are an avid serial-killer-suspense reader, and there may not really be... Read more
Published on Aug. 17 2002 by Sharon L. Valdez
5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic or not, it still achieves severe goosebumps!
I was surprised when I read some of the other reviews written here. Yes, some things were predictable if you are an avid serial-killer-suspense reader, and there may not really be... Read more
Published on Aug. 17 2002 by Sharon L. Valdez
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