Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen

Reviewer: Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter (

What we thought: I’ve enjoyed a few of Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli & Isles detective novels, and was interested to see this stand-alone novel had a cross-genre tag which tempted me to give it a try – and I wasn’t disappointed.

Like some of my own novels (The Charter and Complicit) Gerritsen writes here both in the present and the past.

Present: Julia Hamill purchases an abandoned property, and after finding human remains in the garden, becomes involved with the history of the house through old letters discovered by the former owner. Past: 1831, Irish immigrant, Rose Connolly struggles to raise her niece Meggie after the childbirth death of her sister. A serial killer roams the streets of Boston, leaving mutilated corpses in its wake, but what connection can the murderer have to a new born infant?

I found both stories satisfying, but the period writing and characters really drew me into the historical thread, and I thought the denouement was very well plotted and all of the strings pulled together cleverly in the finale.

It’s refreshing to read a fellow crime writer who’s not afraid to break a few rules and try her hand a different genre. I think this novel will appeal not only to readers of thrillers, with Gerritsen’s usual amount of shock and gore, but also readers of historical fiction who enjoy period crime writing.

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Barbara Erskine, Susan Hill, Karin Slaughter.

Avoid if you don’t like: Serial killers and Victoriana.

Ideal accompaniments: Dublin Bay prawns, real ale and suet pudding.

Genre: Crime, historical.

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