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Red Bones    by Ann Cleeves order for
Red Bones
by Ann Cleeves
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

When the taut, atmospheric action of Red Bones begins, someone discovers human bones at an archeological site at Whalsey in the Shetland Islands, and everyone concludes that the skeletal remains are connected to the medieval merchant's homestead that is being unearthed. However, Mima Wilson, the eccentric owner of the land where the archeologists are digging, seems strangely perturbed about the discovery. She didn't mind the assorted artifacts being discovered on her property, but human remains are more than a little disturbing.

Not long afterward, the intoxicated father of a newborn baby wanders around late at night near the archeological dig site. With a flashlight in one hand and a shotgun in the other, Ronald Clouston - a relative of Mima - is intent upon shooting rabbits, an annoying nuisance throughout the island's rugged countryside.

Then the unthinkable happens. Clouston accidentally shoots someone. The local police authorities, with Inspector Jimmy Perez leading the investigation, make routine inquiries, and the distraught Clouston is exonerated of any criminal conduct. Perez, though, has lingering doubts about what really happened on the desolate island terrain at Whalsey. Then - when dangers for others escalate - Perez is convinced that something chilling and horrible is happening in this otherwise peaceful and isolated corner of the world where some people are obviously keeping dark and murderous secrets.

So, with that having been established as the premise, I must tell prospective readers of Red Bones that they will be treated once again to Ann Cleeves' superb skills as a storyteller. With interesting characters, a great island setting, an intricate plot, and plenty of surprises, the highly recommended Red Bones will not disappoint readers who demand sublimely riveting murder mysteries.

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