Monday, July 10, 2023

The Bones of the Story by Carol Goodman Book Review

About the Book:

It’s been twenty-five years since the shocking disappearance of a female student and the distinguished Creative Writing professor who died while searching for her. The Briarwood College community has never forgotten the double tragedy. Now, the college President is bringing together faculty, donors, and alumni to honor the victims from all those years ago.

On a cold December weekend after the fall semester has ended, guests gather on the vacant campus for the commemoratory event. But as a storm descends, people begin to depart, leaving a group of alumni who were the last ones taught by the esteemed professor. Recriminations and old rivalries flare as they recall the writing projects they shared as classmates, including chilling horror stories they each wrote about their greatest fears.

When an alumna dies in a shockingly similar way to the story she wrote, and then another succumbs to a similar fate, they realize someone has decided at long last to avenge the crimes of the past. Will the secret of what they did twenty-five years ago be revealed? Will any of them be alive at the end of the weekend to find out?

You can read a sample here.

My Review:

I enjoyed this modern day locked room type of murder mystery in an academic setting. The plot is complex as horror stories written twenty five years ago come to life in the current deaths of several people. The narrative is a split time, revealing events from the past as events happen in the present day. The academic setting of an elite college is interesting.

The pace of the novel is consistent but it is not a page turner. I think the issue for me was the characters. We get to know them in the current time and then flash back to their college days. I did not find any of them really engaging except perhaps the new one, Nina. None of the characters were fully developed so it was hard to feel engaged when the murders began happening. There are some twists and a good surprise near the end, making the last half of the book much more enjoyable than the first half.

I liked the author's writing style although I would have liked more development on the characters and a faster pace on the plot.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Carol Goodman
is the critically acclaimed author of fourteen novels, including 
The Lake of Dead Languages and The Seduction of Water, which won the 2003 Hammett Prize. Her books have been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family, and teaches writing and literature at the New School and SUNY New Paltz. Photo by Franco Vogt

William Morrow paperbacks, 336 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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