Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Literally the Best Reviews: Old Bones

Old Bones - Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Grand Central Publishing 
384 Pages

I think all readers have a handful of favorite authors they keep coming back to whenever a new novel gets published. For me, the writing team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is a sure lock for the reading list. They have written some of my favorite books, especially the Agent Pendergast books. I was hooked with the first book, Relic, all the way back in 1995. With their newest collaboration, Old Bones, we leave the world of Pendergast (somewhat) and enter the genesis of a new series.

Preston and Child have already introduced us to another series, of which I’ve all the installments. That followed the exciting adventures of Gideon Crew. With Old Bones, we are introduced to a new protagonist with Dr. Nora Kelly., a curator at the Santa Fe Institute of Archaeology. Longtime readers of Preston and Child will remember Nora from Thunderhead as well as from three or four of the Pendergast novels. So, she is not entirely new, but her dedicated arc is.

Historian Clive Benton hires Nora and the institute to assist him in uncovering a previously unknown third camp from the ill-fated Donner Party. Benton believes that this third camp, only rumors until a long-lost diary is found, has answers to some of the missing members of the Donner Party. There was also the possibility of lost treasure, gold from one of the explorers hidden somewhere near the camp.

What seems straight forward quickly turns life on its head for Nora and her friends. Seemingly unrelated death and exhumations draws rookie FBI agent, Corrie Swason into the explorations circle of influence. When these crimes lead directly towards the Donner Party and the hidden camp, the thrill ride begins. 

Why are people looking for the bones of these people? What does it have to do with the rampant madness and cannibalism that struck the Third Camp? Nora and Corrie begrudgingly work together towards uncovering all the mysteries of the camp and old bone thefts. The adventure takes several twists and turns as suspects rise to the fore only to fade into the background. Who can Nora trust? Who can Corrie trust? Is there anyone either of them can trust?

Preston and Child are fantastic entertainers. I thoroughly enjoy their books. I especially liked this one with its tie to actual historical events, even if those ties are tenuous. This is a very interesting “what if.” I love these types of stories. There’s just enough actual history to make this very intriguing, and just enough fantasy to make it very fun. Of course, at the end of the book, Agent Pendergast makes a quick appearance to help tie the two series together.

The Preston and Child books are some of my go-to books when I want to simply sit down and enjoy a good read. Each time a new one is published, I always try to grab it from the library before anyone else does. Generally, I am fairly low on the list, even the same day the library puts it into circulation. That’s the sign of a good book.

The next books that Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child release are already on my ever expanding list of books to read. They always seem to work their ways to the top of that list. They are a couple of the authors I would love to sit down with for a discussion of writing, reading, and life. If you like adventure stories, Old Bones is yet another book by this duo that will keep you engaged and wanting more.

Craig Bacon wants to write just one novel as fun as the Preston and Childs books. Just one. He has ideas. He just needs the encouragement and someone to keep him in line.