I really wanted to love this book. Honest, I did. I am a sucker for serial killer stories, something about their twisted minds always fascinates me, and so I accepted this book for review with high hopes. It has received a lot of pre-publication publicity, and some big name authors gave it a positive blurb. But I had to skip read it, just to be fair to the author and get through the whole book.

It started out decent enough with a prologue that introduces the “Bone Yard,” which is the professional name for the place where serial killers dump their bodies. A hiker is confronted by a bear that has a branch in its mouth, only the branch turns out to be a human leg bone.

FBI special agent Kelly Jones is sent to head up the two-state task force investigating the remains that were found in on the Appalachian Trail that runs through the border of Massachusetts and Vermont. She has to work with a female who is in charge of the Vermont investigative team and, Doyle, the man who heads up the team for Massachusetts. Early on it is revealed that he may be connected to something shady going on, and it is not a huge surprise when Kelly finds out what it is.

One of the main problems I had with the book is the characterization, especially of Doyle. He is so stereotypically a big-mouthed, hot-shot state trooper, I got tired of reading his scenes.

The tension and interest picks up a bit toward the end of the book when a race against time is set up. That is always a good tool for building tension, and that works here.

Unfortunately, the author missed the creative writing class that teaches how to write without relying on adverbs and dialogue attributives that tell the reader how the character was speaking.  That is so basic, that I’m surprised the editor did not catch it. Other mistakes included moments when the central character “thought to herself”.  Who else was she going to think to?

And the repetitive mistake that finally drove me to skip read was the fifteenth or twentieth time a character “rolled his eyes”, and I was only on page 58. A creative writing instructor once showed the class what kind of visual image this phraseology can conjure, by pretending to take his eyes out of the sockets and roll them across the desk like dice.

Some readers may be able to ignore the things that kept jerking me out of the story, but others may want to pass.

Bone Yard
By Michelle Gagnon
Mira Books
ISBN: 13-978-0-7783-2539-0
ISBN: 10-0-7783-2539-3
Paperback – 384 Pages – $6.99
Release date July 2008

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