Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman

Dry Bones in the ValleyDry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is all about atmosphere, an atmosphere that is somewhere between ambiance and stench. The meticulous detail in depicting life in rural Pennsylvania is what makes this story special. The unholy mix of hillbilly, Smalltown, USA, and elite summer camps and riding academies is thoroughly engaging. It’s really the story. The book purports to be a mystery, and there are a couple murders early on, which Henry, our hero, begins valiantly to solve. But, really, this isn’t a murder mystery per se. The murders are resolved at the end, but no Sherlockian analysis of the evidence will lead the astute reader to the solution. In the meantime, the author manages to keep the action going. Henry pinballs from shootout to standoff to being clonked over the head, all the time walking a tightrope between trying to do his duty and being a nice guy. Good luck with that, Henry. The actual plot is unimaginative, so just enjoy the brushwork and forget the landscape.

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