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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Her Perfect Bones by Ellery A. Kane

When the body of a pregnant young woman is discovered in a barrel of sand that’s been stored in an abandoned cabin for over 30 years, Detective Will Decker wonders if there is any hope of solving a case this cold. Criminal psychologist Olivia Rockwell might be able to help out, but when she sees the image of a doll she knows must have been made by someone she knew in her childhood, she realises her judgement may be compromised.

There are an awful lot of side stories going on here; we first meet Olivia at her father’s bail hearing, as he tries to get out of prison after serving 27 years for murder. Within hours he’s dead of an apparent suicide, which Olivia just doesn’t buy, and the twists keep coming as she discovers he was working as an informant for the police. While the ‘current’ crime (even though it’s a very cold victim) does tie back to Olivia’s childhood, the link is actually fairly tenuous and I started feeling like all the stuff going on with her family was just a distraction.

This is the second in series (I haven’t read the first) and though I followed along pretty well, I do feel like I may have missed out on a lot of character building from the first book, because there’s not much of it here. We don’t get to know either Decker or Olivia all that well. There’s an enormous Chekov’s Gun that never goes off, as we are told early on about a serial killer who escaped and will apparently be after Olivia… and then never shows up. Then there’s yet another side plot going on with Will’s convict brother, and more with his ex - multiple exes of Olivia’s show up - and frankly, there are just too many parallel threads here, most of which aren’t connected to the central story here other than tangentially. I couldn’t keep track of all the side characters introduced, and every one of them was a distraction from the main characters I was supposed to care about.

There’s a good story in here - I cared about Shelby, the victim - and I was intrigued by the slow unravelling of her story, but there’s just way too much ‘noise’ going on with all the other side stories. Overall, I’ll give it three stars.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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