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Valley of Bones: A Novel (Jimmy Paz) Paperback – April 28, 2009
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This top-notch novel confirms Gruber's place as a gifted writer who stretches the conventional bounds of the genre by placing the mysteries of faith and religious experience and the complexities of the human mind as well as spirit at the center of his work. It's a taut, compelling whodunit that's as far from a typical detective procedural as good is from evil and a worthy follow-up to his acclaimed debut (Tropic of Night) that also features Cuban-American cop Jimmy Paz. Here Gruber tells a mesmerizing tale of Emmylou Dideroff, who communes with saints and whose checkered past includes stints as a hooker, drug dealer, and the leader of a band of Sudanese freedom fighters. But did she kill the Arab businessman on a government "watch list" who plunged to his death from a Miami hotel? While that's the incident that brings her to Paz's attention, it's only one of his questions about this strange woman, whose unsettling "confessions" stir up the detective's confusion about his own deepest beliefs. Emmylou is as fascinating and fully realized as Jane Doe, the memorable protagonist of Gruber's first book--so too is Lorna Wise, the psychologist brought in to assess Emmylou's sanity, whose personal and professional lives are turned totally upside down by her involvement in the case and her relationship with Paz. This is a smart, riveting, wholly original and thoroughly fascinating book that's impossible to put down and leaves the reader with only one question--when is this author's next one coming out? --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Gruber's new mystery/thriller more than fulfills the promise of his dazzling Tropic of Night (2003), a critical and commercial success and his first book published under his own name. The story emerges from three directions: the POV of Cuban-American Miami cop Jimmy Paz; pages from the book Faithful Unto Death: The Story of the Nursing Sisters of the Blood of Christ by Sr. Benedicta Cooley; and a series of handwritten notebooks, The Confessions of Emmylou Dideroff. Gruber brings back Paz ("a neatly built, caramel-colored man, in a beautifully cut gray-green silk and linen suit" and one of the smartest, coolest, most intriguing cops working the pages of American thrillers these days) from Tropic to investigate the death of Arab oil trader Jabir Akran al-Muwalid, who's been bonked on the head with a piston rod and thrown off the balcony of his hotel room. Inside al-Muwalid's room, Paz finds Emmylou Dideroff kneeling on the floor, having a one-sided conversation with St. Catherine of Siena. The rod belongs to Emmylou, so she's assumed to be the killer; she's put into a mental hospital under the care of Paz's new psychiatrist girlfriend. Emmylou's written confessions tell the horrifying but riveting tale of growing up with an insane mother and a stepfather who molested her, as well as her adventures as a whore, drug dealer and, after joining the Nursing Sisters of the Blood of Christ, a tribal leader in Africa. Readers will find each of the stories—Paz's, Emmylou's and that of the founder of the Nursing Sisters—equally fascinating. Evocative prose, an erudite author, spellbinding subject matter and totally original characters add up to make this one a knockout.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Jimmy Paz and Michael Gruber explore Christian mysticism and demonology in this second outing with Jimmy Paz. A Sudanese oil bureaucrat is dead under mysterious circumstances and the woman found at the scene, Emmylou Dideroff, claims to be in contact with Saint Catherine and the devil, not to mention God and they are all in competition, not only for her soul and sanity but for the survival of an obscure Sudanese tribe. Jimmy becomes involved when he catches the murder case, but he is involved in a more fatalistic level as he himself struggles with questions of spirituality and materialism. Indeed, one of the main reasons to read Gruber, besides his incredibly intelligent plots and lovable characters is to read about the nature of life and the cosmos from both points of view. Anyone who has struggled and continues to struggle with these questions will find a home in Gruber, along with a page-turning read. Along the way the reader also gets an education in Evangelism, Catholic theology and religious life, psychometric testing, the state of mental and medical help for the less fortunate and the mysteries of human personality.
If these things sound like they couldn't possibly fit together, that is the fun of reading a Gruber novel. He makes them fit together and while he does he muses on the nature of consciousness and reality and teaches the reader something about an academic subject be it anthropology, entomology, Catholic theology or art history, to name a few topics from his many thrillers. Gruber is always, always an intelligent and entertaining delight who is a curious seeker and any reader who is the same will find his books a non-guilty pleasure.
Truly, more than a master of the genre, Gruber's works have elements of the literary and character study as well, wrapped up in an appealing, page-turning package. I have been pre-ordering his books for his last three publications after discovering him with the Jimmy Paz trilogy. I highly recommend that lovers of a good read that has brains and brio start with the Paz Trilogy and move on to all of his other works. A delightful find.
This story pits the modern detective's point of view against classic religious miracles. As in "Tropic of Night", there are multiple narrative lines, which are interwoven to tell the story. In the tale, it slowly becomes apparent that there is a distinct possibility that the "reality" behind the murder might encompass a miracle or two. And then it becomes apparent that there may be a saint who is responsible for a massive military coup...
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Now I'm looking to buy it for my kindle.
It's a pretty good book.Read more