Merrimon Book Reviews

Bennington Battle Monument


From Merrimon Book Reviews
Boneyard by Michelle Gagnon
by Michelle Gagnon    

FBI Special Agent Kelly Jones had been leery of joining the Behavioral Science Unit, but a phone call from Gerry McLarty after solving the case of the tunnels changed that.  Her plans for a well-needed vacation come to a grinding halt when some bones are discovered in the Berkshire mountains spread across two states.  Arriving on the scene, Kelly finds herself in charge of law enforcement of both Vermont and Massachusetts as well as a forensic anthropologist, all comprising a united force often at odds with one another.  With the discovery of a new victim, Kelly must wade through the clues to determine whether the past and current cases are related, especially as the case expands to a third state.  Why has no one reported the absence of these young men in the past?  What motivations lie behind the serial killer(s) brutal murders?  If indeed two killers are at work, what is the connection between them?  Can Kelly figure out the case in enough time to save a victim before he ends up like all the rest?

Michelle Gagnon's second thriller, BONEYARD, combines a creepy, terrifying portrait of a serial killer with all the excitement of a suspense puzzle with unexpected twists and turns in a case that baffles a simple, linear approach.  As with her thriller, THE TUNNELS, readers can expect horrifying and even gruesome details as the killer tortures and brutalizes his victims.  Michelle Gagnon, in writing through the perspective of the victims at times, takes the reader right into the scene of the crimes while also aligning the reader with the victims against the killer.  Likewise, her descriptions of the killer haunt a reader, not only with his skewed vision, but also his ability to appear like anyone else one might encounter.  Michelle Gagnon paints a terrifying a vision of fanaticism and extremism run amok.  Readers familiar with Bennington and Bennington College will recognize the landscape and the landmarks.  The characterization of Bennington college itself might vary depending upon whether one reads from the point of view of a college or town resident or tourist, but whichever, seeing the town from the point of view of the coroner's office intensifies the creepiness.

Kelly Jones fans will appreciate the depth and development Michelle Gagnon gives to her character from book to book and within this book itself.   The case tests Kelly's complex relationship to her job, while her personal life also comes into play.  Not only does Michelle Gagnon have a way of interweaving cliffhangers within the thriller itself to maximize the level of suspense, but readers should be prepared for an ending that will leave one anxious to read the next.  BONEYARD is a natural choice for fans of serial killers, especially for the utter creepiness factor of the killer, but suspense fans like myself, who prefer suspense over serial killer thrillers will find Michelle Gagnon's BONEYARD an intriguing web of puzzles to discern in the hunt for clues.  Magnificent!

Publisher: Mira (July 2008)
Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
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