Dead, Without A Stone To Tell It


Pros: decent thriller with characters I’d like to follow

Cons: a few dumb moves and a weak ending

I love picking up a book at random, enjoying it, then discovering that it’s the debut novel of a series! That’s what happened with Dead Without A Stone To Tell It, by Jen J. Danna and Ann Vanderlaan.

This is the book where we meet Policewoman Leigh Abbott. A cop with a chip on her shoulder and a lot to prove. When her latest case revolves around a recently unearthed single human bone, she needs help. She approaches forensic anthropologist Matt Lowell. Together, along with Matt’s team of students, the duo follow the clues as they lead to a horrendous pattern of torture and murder. Until, at last, the hunters become the hunted.

I enjoyed this book, in particular, getting to know these characters. I’m glad to hear they continue working together in future books and I’ll definitely check those out. But as for this book, the case was interesting, and I definitely wanted to know how it would all work out. In particular, it was fascinating watching the combination of forensics, anthropology, and good old-fashioned detective work. Think Bones.

However, Dead Without A Stone To Tell It is not perfect. There were two instances of stupidity that I found difficult to swallow. Both involve Leigh, a policewoman who should know better than to do the things she does. Like not reporting an attack against her home for no reason that made any kind of logical sense. Of course, by not reporting it, consequences ensued. Like we didn’t know that would happen! Then there was the time she brought herself, and a civilian into a terribly dangerous situation, without waiting for any kind of backup. Another one of those times where I rolled by eyes knowing how that was going to work out!

Finally, the ending is a little bit weak. Not quite as bad as “the bad guy suddenly decides to confess all” but it’s close. I.e., the authors appear to have tired of telling the story and decided just to cut to the chase.

Still, this is a fine thriller, and a decent debut. I look forward to seeing what else Abbott and Lowell can do, in subsequent novels.

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