The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen

Unknown bones, untold secrets, and unsolved crimes from the distant past cast ominous shadows on the present in the dazzling new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.

Present day: Julia Hamill has made a horrifying discovery on the grounds of her new home in rural Massachusetts: a skull buried in the rocky soil–human, female, and, according to the trained eye of Boston medical examiner Maura Isles, scarred with the unmistakable marks of murder. But whoever this nameless woman was, and whatever befell her, is knowledge lost to another time. . . .

Boston, 1830: In order to pay for his education, Norris Marshall, a talented but penniless student at Boston Medical College, has joined the ranks of local “resurrectionists”–those who plunder graveyards and harvest the dead for sale on the black market. Yet even this ghoulish commerce pales beside the shocking murder of a nurse found mutilated on the university hospital grounds. And when a distinguished doctor meets the same grisly fate, Norris finds that trafficking in the illicit cadaver trade has made him a prime suspect.

To prove his innocence, Norris must track down the only witness to have glimpsed the killer: Rose Connolly, a beautiful seamstress from the Boston slums who fears she may be the next victim. Joined by a sardonic, keenly intelligent young man named Oliver Wendell Holmes, Norris and Rose comb the city–from its grim cemeteries and autopsy suites to its glittering mansions and centers of Brahmin power–on the trail of a maniacal fiend who lurks where least expected . . . and who waits for his next lethal opportunity.

The Bone Garden is much different than any of the previous Tess Gerritsen books that I've read. Most of the action and mystery are set in the past, making this more of a historical mystery than the usual police procedural/medical thriller that one usually expects of Gerritsen. Yet I think she really got it to work. It was fascinating to see how truly bad medical conditions were at that time. I had known about a lot of the information that is shown, but Gerritsen brings it to life in a way that the few medical history books I read failed to do.

There's also more romance mixed in than usual and it adds to an interesting touch at the end of the book that sort of truly connects the past to the present.

If you've liked Tess Gerritsen in the past, I think you'll like this one. it's definitely different, but I liked it. And of course, I can't wait to see what the author comes up with next.

Oh, Maura Isles makes a cameo appearance, but that's the only link between this book and the Isles/Rizzoli series.


avidbookreader said...

Hey Nicole, I got this one coming up next after Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. You should get Heartsick. Very good book so far.

Nicole said...

I'm in line to get Heartsick from the library. Can't wait.