River Bones by Mary Deal is not a book I finished in a short time (if you have a few hours in a row, you probably could), and I enjoyed that it took me a few evenings to get to the end. It was a pleasant read and I felt like I got to know most of the characters very well, which is great because many series have rather shallow first books in which the characters seem fairly flat. This is not the case here. Mary Deal created a main character you actually start to care about more and more as the plot progresses. I found the story was exciting, but not in a nerve-wracking manner.Sara is a believable character and I felt closer to her than to many other female protagonists, because Sara seems to have some real values and is not a superficial chick who all of a sudden turns into a heroine. I also liked how a touch of the supernatural was woven into the plot. It gave the story that little bit of an extra that a book needs to deserve 5 stars, which River Bones certainly does. ~ Kim Anisi for Readers'Favorite
River Bones is an exciting read, a thriller that unfolds at breakneck speed with a powerful tension that sweeps the reader along, arousing their emotions and a subtle sense of anxiety that builds up as they read on.Sara is genuinely flawed and vulnerable, and the reader wants to follow her, at times fearing for her life, and at times admiring her daring. Mary Deal uses a lot of cunning with the plot, putting many suspects in front of the reader and making them guess each step of the story. River Bones is enthralling, a bold plot with a satisfying end. ~ Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
River Bones is a great read, filled with intrigue, suspense,mystery and even romance. It is well written and easily one of the best mystery/suspense books I have read this year. Mary Deal clearly has a talent for this style of writing, and I look forward to reading more books from her in the future.~ K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite
A serial killer on the loose is not of much concern to Sara Mason when she returns to her hometown in the California Sacramento River area. Then, Sara and an old friend are drugged. Pierce remains in a coma, suspected of being the killer. The next morning, searching for her missing dogs, Sara finds them unearthing human bones along the river bank. Suddenly, old bones and new begin to pop up all around her. Are the local cops doing all they can to find the criminal? Is the attraction between Sara and Huxley a lasting one? What if her feelings have been perpetuated by a clever killer as a way to hide his crimes?These questions will be addressed in this quick-paced novel as Sara discovers clues to the killer and seeks her own answers to the mysteries of life.
Mary Deal offers a thrilling mystery while documenting the history and lives of people who call the California Delta home. The author has created a believable story of old wounds and the power of healing through friendships and love,while uncovering the truth about these crimes of passion at the riveting end. ~ Barbara Deming of The US Review of Books
Just finished reading River Bones. Actually it was the copy you autographed for my auntie Flora. I loved it! Right up there with my favorites... James Patterson, Faye Kellerman, and Ann Rule. Keep those mysteries coming. In between my daily activities I finished it in a day in a half.. ~ Susanna, Marg Kupers's Cousin
Serial killers stalk victims without their knowledge. Many fall prey to these people because their victims do not follow a specific profile or age group. Sara Mason returns to the Sacramento River Delta area and moves into a house that she is warned has a history attached to it. Owners Orson and Esmerelda Talbot were the second owners of the old Victorian, but he disappeared leading this to be not a great omen. The entire area in which she lives has been consumed with finding this killer but no one knows where to start.
Imagine a skull sticking up at you out of the ground and then the remains of a person found. Each victim having one thing in common: the hyoid bone in the person's neck is broken and they are buried with the remains of an animal.
As the pieces start to fit together, there are many suspects that come to light:Ike the cat killer, Fredrik, the nurse who is obsessed with death, and Daphine who seems to be Sara's friend but is she? Author Mary Deal created a plot so filled with surprises, twists and turns she keeps the reader guessing and hopefully not able to figure out who the killer is and who, for more than 20 years, has been burying bodies with all of their possessions and the remains of an animal.Making the book unique are the descriptions of the Delta area, the history behind the area, and the many festivals and places that make this area so special.
As the body count rises and the victims are starting to be identified, just who the killer turns out to be will definitely surprise and shock for the reader. Sometimes killers hide in plain sight. ~ Fran Lewis, Reviewer , New York, NY
Aloha, Mary. Once again, I love what you do. The character threw little bones here and there, but you keep us guessing just the same. I finished River Bones last week and loved it. I kind of thought the ??? did it, but with all the twist and turns, it kept me unsure and excited to see how it all unfolded. I also couldn't wait to see what happened to Choco and Latte. What a gift you have my friend for the written word. Two for two so far, loved both the books I read. Keep up the great work. ~Richard J. Nedervelt, Panzhihua, China
River Bones kept building in suspense, with increasing bodies, narrowing the suspects, and finally the threatening man-child, and I couldn't put it down. I suspect you lived and dreamed the life of Sara in the Delta. Your imagination, dreams, and writing ability have served you well. I am so proud of your accomplishments. ~ Jim Pezzaglia, Walnut Creek, CA
The Delta area will never be the same. Had to stop reading for awhile as I was having some bad dreams. ~Sherrye Boyer Dix, Delta native, London, England
River Bones is filled with suspense,romance & friendship, tragedy, and informative history. The love scenes with Sara & Huxley are sooo romantic! I liked the history about the Delta.Since I also grew up on Grand Island, I felt like I was in the story. ~ Genie Luna, Delta native, Galt,California
WOW, talk about intrigue! River Bones keeps you guessing. The setting brought back memories of long ago; the Delta culture and personalities,towns, levees & water -- our entertainment as children & teens. ~Phoebe Nicolette, Delta native, Santa Rosa, CA
It didn't matter that I knew the area where River Bones takes place. Even without that, I like this writer's style. I'd have read the book anyway. Now I'm ready for her next one. ~ Mike Jensen, Delta Native, Petaluma, CA
From the Author
Two plots kept repeating in my mind for which I could see no way to develop. One was about a woman who returns to her hometown for a class reunion and ends up solving a decades old cold case. The other was about an elusive serial killer.I had never written about murders and cold cases so I left them dangling in my mind and in partial notes.
Then one day, I happened to be on a book signing tour which included going to my childhood hometown area for a class reunion. A former classmate asked, "Why don't you set one of your stories here in the Delta.?" Immediately the lights went on in my mind. The two above mentioned partial plots crashed together and I knew I had a book! Coincidentally, I was at a class reunion and the Sacramento River Delta had long ago known its own serial killer. My two plots jelled.
River Bones contains one scene at a class reunion, and is used to bring in a couple of new characters. The main story is about a woman returning to live in her childhood hometown area of California's Sacramento River Delta only to learn about an elusive psychopath and that he may have her in his sights - but not before taunting her - as he plays his sick little games. The character, Sara Mason, turns out to be such a great sleuth, I decided to turn more stories into the Sara Mason Mysteries. Then I realize that Sara Mason's love interest, Huxley Keane, as well as several of the important sub-characters had exciting lives of their own that would spice up any future stories in this series. The next story in this series would bring Huxley's life to the fore as Sara solves yet another cold case.
The fact that I could work these characters into exciting future stories fills me with glee. Now I have a list of stories to write about Sara solving cold cases,but the lives of other characters helps move these plots along.