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Review of Jacob Ross' The Bone Readers

Written by Angela Howell for Words of Colour on Monday, October 17, 2016

Michael (Digger) Digson has every reason to mistrust the police, starting with the murder of his mother during a political demonstration. Growing up on the small Caribbean island of Camaho with his grandmother, steeped in religion, he learnt how to be vigilant.

Digger’s skill with detail attracts the attention of Detective Superintendent Chilman when he witnesses a murder of a young student in town. His accurate account of the case leads Chilman to forcibly recruit Digger into his new plain clothes squad before he is carted off to London to sharpen his natural forensic skills.

When he returns to Camaho, DS Chilman retires, leaving Digger to deal with a cold case of a young man by the name of Nathan who just disappeared. Chilman decides that Digger should be teamed with the unorthodox Miss K. Stanislaus, a woman with no official credentials, but full of island wisdom. With her mysterious past and Digger’s forensic expertise, they have to read more than just bones, to solve this mysterious case and keep out of danger.

During the complex investigation they come into contact with The Children of the Unicorn Spiritual Baptist Church, which is under the control of the charismatic Pastor Bello. Digger is quick to dismiss Bello, but Stanislaus is strangely intrigued by him. Soon Digger realises that all is not what it seems.

As the investigation moves across to the neighbouring islands, Digger is forced to keep his wits about him as not everyone in his department is on his side. Despite the secrets, lies, being stalled and finding new clues, including one to Stanislaus’ real identity, he never forgets his true cold case: the death of his mother.

Jacob Ross carefully and cleverly weaves an intricate plot and holds all the strands in place. Ross gives the reader a rich and vivid sense of the island’s polarity and jaw-dropping beauty, tinged with uncertainty and a sense of danger. With Digger as the main narrator, we are witnesses to his life, loss and loves.

Digger is a man on a mission, one which, at times, he is of unsure of. What he is clear about is that he has to see it through - to the end. Many times we are left guessing, which compels you to read on in anticipation.

The Bone Readers is a well written thriller, and gives readers a detailed trail without losing our attention, or the plot.

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