Saturday, September 11, 2010

Amazing reading experience

A murder mystery in which the heroine does not wander through the story totally clueless (or close to it), and then end up stumbling across the answer while simultaneously acquiring serious physical injuries and waiting to be rescued by some man:  Bone Hunter by Sarah Andrews. 

The book has a number of flaws, but the fact it has an actual thinking, autonomous heroine is sufficiently amazing that I'll overlook them.  Geologist Emily Hansen actually manages to string clues together, comes up with answers before the police do, and then -- this is the absolutely most amazing part -- rescues the LEO who has been assigned to protect her.  Em comes close to dying because of course there have to be close calls:  a helicopter crash, getting shot at and pursued by the bad guys, getting swept downstream by a river that's running stronger than anticipated.  Nonetheless, she's the one who takes the lead when she and the police officer find themselves apparently trapped by the bad guys and figures out where they are in the Utah canyonlands in terms of being able to find their way to help.  She also survives the experience with nothing worse than scrapes and bruises, another amazing outcome in a genre that seems locked into having the heroine end up in  a cast or a hospital bed on a routine basis.

The book also had one of the niftiest murder weapons I've seen in a long time.

The flaws?  Some of it was plotting -- for example, one or two minor characters wander in just long enough to pique a reader's interest but then never do play any sort of role other than stage dressing -- and some of it was just awkward writing in a few places.  Minor quibbles for a genre where the dreck generally vastly outnumbers the good stuff.     

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