Review: All of FBI agent Kelly Jones' investigative and diplomatic skills are put to the test when she is assigned to a serial killer task force with victims found in three states (and three jurisdictions, each with their own special brand of bureaucracy) in Boneyard, the second thriller in this series by Michelle Gagnon.
Though the remains of the victims were found in multiple locations, Kelly and her team quickly determine they have something in common: they were all young men who had criminal records including solicitation. But there are some significant differences that puzzle the team: some of the bodies appear to have been buried then unburied, and the age of some of the bones seems to indicate that the killings took place years earlier. Could a serial killer be at large for so long a time yet no casework filed? The way the men died also presents a twist: some appear to have been meticulously tortured and others quickly killed. Is it possible there are two killers at work here?
Boneyard has several unusual elements that elevate it above the standard serial killer thriller. For much of the book, the focus is on relationships, primarily between Kelly and her team members, and between the team members themselves. This creates a character-driven story that is deeper and more complex than merely the search for a serial killer. And it has the effect of drawing the reader in, making them part of the team. For the most part, and to her credit, the author minimizes much of the graphic detail of the torture the young men experience prior to their deaths. It's not necessary anyway and it works to the benefit of the book as a whole.
If there's a weakness here it's in the motivation of the killer which isn't well established. A hate crime to be sure, but it could have been better outlined and defined. And Kelly's romantic element, introduced in the first book of the series, is furthered in this one but is still more of an intrusion than not.
Kelly Jones is not a typical FBI agent and this is not a typical serial killer series. Both Boneyard, and its predecessor The Tunnels, are recommended.
Acknowledgment: Harlequin provided an ARC of Boneyard for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Mira Books (Mass Market Paperback), June 2007
ISBN-13: 9780778324461; ISBN-10: 077832446X
Location(s) referenced in Boneyard: New England, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, The Berkshires
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Boneyard by Michelle Gagnon — A Kelly Jones Mystery
Publisher: Mira Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: August 2008
List Price: $6.99