9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Not as thrilling as Tess' other stuff,
This review is from: The Bone Garden (Paperback)
I am a fairly recent fan of Gerritsen and worked my way very quickly through her previous works such as The Surgeon, The Apprentice, The Sinner and the wonderful Mephisto Club. Usually when reading her books, I get annoyed with having to put it down to do something else but with the Bone Garden, not only was I ok to leave the story where it was but I wasn't actually THAT bothered about restarting it. In the end it became one of those 'I've started so I'll finish' books.
The Bone Garden is one of those stories that flicks between a historical period (1830s) and the present day. It starts in the present day with the newly divorced Julia buying a run down old house in Boston and discovering a human skull whilst digging in the garden. In comes the infamous Dr Maura Isles (a regular character in Gerritsen's other books) to take a look at the skull and conclude that this is a case for an archaeologist for whilst it is a murder victim, the bones date back to the 1830s. That's Dr Isles total role in the book so if you were looking for more tension filled interplay between her and Rizzoli, then forget it. After that a few tenous phone calls from an unknown stranger and Julia is packed up and ready to waltz off to some godforsaken deserted old house to visit an old man who says he can solve the murder mystery. When she gets there, she remains delighted that finding the solution to the murder involves trawling through a century's worth of boxes and other bits of crap that belonged to the woman that previously owned her house (a relative of the creepy old man she stays with). From here, the story flicks back to Boston Medical School in teh 1830s where impoverished farm boy Norris Marshall is learning to be doctor. In the meantime, to pay his fees, he works as a Resurrectionist with the vile Mr Burke. Resurrectionists turn out to be grave robbers that are paid to sniff out relatively fresh corpses suitable for dissection in the medical schools. Norris' path crosses that of Rose Connelley whose siseter is dying in the hospital having given birth to baby Meggie. A very long and complicated love affair with a serial killer thrown in ensues. THe book flicks back and forth to follow the denouement of the relationships between Norris and Rose in the 1830s, and that of Julia and Tom in the present day.
There's plenty of medical dissections, autopsies and blood and guts for those accustomed to Gerritsen's love of the autopsy room. The historical parts are reasonably believable but overall the storyline and plot was just too blah for me. I could see all the twists and turns coming a mile off and when I suspected the final 'surprise!' outcome it was SO corny that I really hoped I'd got it wrong but I hadn't. The only reason I have given this any stars is because there was enough in there to keep me reading to the end but on the whole, I'll never read it again and most of it was fairly forgettable. The plot was as transparent as the window that currently faces me and anyone with half a brain can see what's coming next. Most of the time what's coming next is not worth the build up.
Overall this was a disappointing outing for me, having come from the likes of Gerritsen's other novels.
If you are new to her writing please don't make this your first foray into her work start with The Surgeon and work from there. This is really only suitable for hardcore Gerritsen fans or those who love medical history.