Bones: An Irene Kelly Mystery Hardcover – Sep 1999
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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
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on April 1 2004
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 morePublished on Jan. 12 2004 by sevphire
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 morePublished on June 1 2003 by Robert Rosen
This thing is brain candy of the Edgar Award winning variety (deservedly so), but it is clever and quite unpredictable at times. Read morePublished on Jan. 22 2003 by Ms. Antoinette P. Burnham
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 morePublished on Jan. 8 2003
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 morePublished on Sept. 15 2002
This is one of my all time favorite psychological suspense novels. If you enjoyed "Silence of the Lambs" read this novel. Read morePublished on Aug. 18 2002
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 morePublished on Aug. 17 2002 by Sharon L. Valdez