Book Review: Bone Rattle by Marc Cameron
This is the third in a series about US Marshall Arliss Cutter, a former Army Ranger from Florida who’s now based in Anchorage, Alaska. Cutter and his partner Lola Teariki are sent to Juneau to assist with a protection detail on a trial of two mob brothers, a trial derailed almost immediately when the prosecuting attorney is murdered. The hunt for a witness the attorney was supposed to be meeting takes Cutter and a young freelance journalist into dangerous country, the abandoned mineshafts about Juneau, with a killer on the loose who will stop at nothing to silence the whistleblower.
Although this is the third book in the series, I felt like it gave me a pretty good handle on Cutter and his friends and family. He’s a tough, extremely competent character with some deep psychological flaws he somehow manages to keep from interfering with his work, though it seems evident from a stinger at the very end of the book that his personal and work life are going to collide sooner rather than later.
There’s a secondary case going on, of body parts of young women washing up from the ocean, that doesn’t seem to have any link to the case Cutter is working or indeed any link to the rest of the story, but that stinger does make it seem like it might tie in to something in the next book, so I’m not quite as annoyed by it as I might have been otherwise. I can appreciate an author playing the long game with Easter eggs that won’t come to fruition until much later, as long as it doesn’t overwhelm the major story, and since it was really only a few scenes I’m okay with it.
What did get to me a bit was that the villain was pretty much a caricature, and a stupid one at that. Very rich men don’t do their own dirty work, and while throughout the book that was the case, I couldn’t understand why the villain threw caution to the winds at the end. It seemed contrived in order to engineer a confrontation.
The bone rattle of the title is a Native artefact found during mining works, and although its potential great value on the black market motivates several shady characters to behave unethically, I don’t think it was really a great driver of or central to the plot, so… it was a bit of an odd choice as a title. I actually wanted to learn more about it, but it did appear lost by the end of the book so I guess that’s the end of it.
I enjoyed a lot of this; while Cutter is the stoic and silent type, there are several great characters around him - mostly women, and several women of colour - who were much more forthcoming and definitely held my interest. The villain was, however, a bit too one-dimensional for my taste. Overall a good read and I think I’d read the next in the series, as the stinger caught my interest. I’ll give it four stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.