Book Review: Old Bones by Preston and Child #bookishtuesday

Hi, friends! I only read one book last week, but it’s one I’ve been waiting for. Impatiently.

Being the rabid Preston and Child fan, I am, I preordered Old Bones, and started reading the day it was released. Isn’t the cover fabulous?

Book cover for Old Bones by Preston and Child features rugged hillside with skulls visible in the ground, ragged trees above

This is the first book in a new series which features Nora Kelly, an archeologist who has previously appeared in Preston and Child’s Pendergast novels. Initially, I wondered if she was strong enough to carry a book on her own. Yes, there is room for improvement, but Nora fared fairly well her first time out. P&C gave her a fantastic plot—searching for “the lost camp” of the Donner Party. Yeah, those Donners.

Nora pairs up with a historian who claims to have found a journal belonging to one of the victims of the Donner tragedy. At the same time, rookie FBI agent, Corrie Swanson, is investigating a series of grave robberies and a person who went MIA. There is a connection between all these incidents, but I won’t say more for fear of spoiling the plot.

Highlights for me involved the remote setting, the Donner history, the creepy tale of Samantha Carville, the mounting tension and fear among Nora’s team, and—best of all­—Corrie Swanson.

I’ve been a fan of Corrie since she first appeared in Pendergast #4, Still Life with CrowsAt that time, she was a teenage misfit with dyed purple hair, major attitude, a Goth appearance, and an alcoholic mother. Pendergast hired her to chauffer him around her small midwestern town—after he bailed her out of jail.

In Old Bones, Corrie gets a starring role beside Nora. Her first major investigation with the FBI means she has to navigate the “good old boys” in local law enforcement, prove her theories at the Bureau, bite her tongue when it comes to red tape and orders, plus overcome Nora’s objections when she sticks her nose in (and Nora has plenty of objections).

Most of the novel clips along at a steady pace. It’s an easy read that keeps you turning pages. There is plenty of talk of cannibalism, excavation of bone fragments, and a ghost story or two (told around a campfire) for good measure. Ratchet up the tension as the last few pieces fall into place, and the closing chapters will have you chewing your nails.

The epilogue­—during which Special Agent Pendergast makes a cameo appearance—is a nice wrap, setting the stage for the series. It looks like P&C have plans for Nora and Corrie to work together in the books ahead, and a I couldn’t be happier. Corrie is well developed, but Nora could use a bit more growth. I look forward to reading along as that happens.

5 Stars!

Blurb and Amazon Purchase Link
Genre: Suspense > Suspense Thrillers

What do you think? Intriguing?


56 thoughts on “Book Review: Old Bones by Preston and Child #bookishtuesday

  1. This sounds like a great read, Mae. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve got some catching up to do with only just buying the 1st book in the original series, lol. It’s a set I’m looking forward to reading, and that was down to your recommendation. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m honored you’re going to read Relic from my recommendation of the series! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. The guys don’t always hit a whopping home run, but I think they’ve got a fabulous start to this new series. I loved the book!
      I’m looking forward to more, plus the new Pendergast novel next year. Marcia Meara is now a rabid P&C fan as well, LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Starting in a few months (okay, the winter – truthfully), I am easing up my ARC selections so I can read great books like this. So looking forward to P&C’s Old Bones!! Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that surprises me given you’re a horror writer, LOL!
      Actually, those parts aren’t graphic. They’re discussed between characters as to what took place in the past and how the tragedy played out. It really lent an aura of creepiness to the whole book!


  3. I finished it last night, Mae, and being all fangirl over Pendergast just like you, you’ll have guessed my favorite part of the book was when he made his cameo appearance at the end. Can’t wait for the next release in HIS series, this spring. However, I think Old Bones is the best non-Pendergast book I’ve read so far by this team, or by Preston alone. And yes, the cover is stunning. My signed copy is sitting on an easel on my desk! 😀

    I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Corrie coming into her own. You already know I didn’t care a lot for the younger Corrie, but I really like this more adult version. I admit you have good instincts, though. I think she’s going to be great in this series, and I’m looking forward to the potential partnership with Nora.

    Nora’s character developed a stronger personality than she had in the Pendergast series, which I guess was a good thing, since this series is hers. I liked her more, too, warts and all. I thought she was more well-rounded and realistic this time around, and I very much look forward to this series going forward.

    Great review, Mae, touching on everything potential readers should know. A super motivation for them to get on board with this new series.

    Now roll on, March (or so), and the release of Crooked River! Can’t wait! And that one I’ll be reading the very minute it’s delivered to my Kindle. I can’t have you reading ahead of me when it comes to our mutual hero! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, my Pender Pal 🙂

      I’m so glad you finished it and can weigh in with your thoughts. With the exception of Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child—which scared the daylights out of me (after it got started)–this is my favorite non-Pendergast book, too. I think of a lot of that (for me) had to do with characters I was familiar with, and seeing how they’ve grown. It’s also great someone can pick up the book (not knowing anything about the P series) and read without feeling lost. They were smart, making a book devoted fans AND new readers can love.

      I’m so glad you like Corrie better, too. I was smitten with her from day one, but I do agree this older, adult version of the former Goth girl is a strong character. I can’t wait to see how she does once she gets a little more experience under her FBI belt.

      Glad you liked my review! 🙂 And yes–now we’re on countdown to March, Crooked River, and our main man, A.X.L.!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m so totally hooked on Pendergast, it’s ridiculous! Can. Not. Wait! But then there’s that other character who MIGHT be popping into the new book. I’d rather eat dirt than spend any time with HIM, but his evil shenanigans do give A.X.L. a challenge from time to time. Whatever Preston & Child have planned, though, you can bet it’ll be jaw-dropping, and you can count me in! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Me too! Although I’m seriously hoping that “other character” stays in the shadows a while more.

        But, whatever happens, I will surely devour anything with our guy, A.X.L. in it!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am a HUGE Preston and Childs fan, especially of Agent Pendergast. I’ve downloaded the book and will read it after I finish Diana Gabaldon’s last book in the Outlander series. Right now, since season 5 of the series on STARZ had not been released, I’m a droughtlander!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! It sounds like you’re smitten with the Outlander series, Noelle. I hope STARZ catches up for you soon. 🙂

      And, I love that you’re besotted with P&C, too. Marcia Meara and I go all fan girl over Pendergast, and pretty much devour anything P&C write. This new series is off to an awesome start. I’m so glad they decided to do this, especially pairing Nora up with Corrie. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Old Bones!

      Liked by 1 person

    • You would NEVER catch me up there in those remote and lonely parts, Craig!

      That desolate setting really added to the creepiness of the novel. I never realized t the Donner party split off from the main wagon train to take a short cut. As much as I love history, this is one incident I never really explored. It was an eye opening read, and the fictional aspects P&C layered into the story added to all the goosebumps!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Hooray for Preston & Child. It’s hard to start a new series when you have such a popular one. Readers expect a lot, and I’m glad they came through. I think the first book in a series is always a balancing act and it’s hard to get everything right. Sounds like they mostly did, though. Now you have ANOTHER book that’s a guaranteed read:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely! This series will be auto buy for me, Judi. I was interested when I first heard about it, but once I realized Corrie Swanson was going to have a lead role beside Nora, I was “all in.” They did an exceptional job. I’d like to see Nora fleshed out a little more, but other than that, gold stars all around!

      Liked by 1 person

    • P&C did a great job of making the tone mysterious and creepy, Flossie. With their last non-Pendergast series, they introduced a brand new character (Gideon Crew) who had no connection to the Pendergast universe. I’m enjoying the Crew novels, but I think they were really smart in spinning off two strong female characters for this new series. Old readers feel right at home, and new readers don’t feel lost. It’s a win-win! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is a freaky cover, isn’t it? Very atmospheric. I just mentioned to Flossie (above in the remarks) that I think P&C were smart in spinning off two strong female characters for this new series. Old readers feel right at home, and new readers don’t feel lost. Great goose-bump inducing mystery! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t read any P&C since the Relic, but I’ve been intending to read more (once I whittle down my TBR list, which seems to get longer every time I read one of your posts 😀 😀 ) Great review, Mae, and yes, my TBR just got a little longer …

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I know I keep throwing titles out there to bloat your TBR, Julie. I seem to be pretty good at that 😉
      I was just looking at my list the other day and lamenting how many good books I have waiting in the wings I feel like I might never catch up!


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