5 stars out of 5
No Bones about it: This is a really, really good book.
It is not, however, one of the author's popular books featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (she of the equally popular and long-running TV series, "Bones"). Rather, this is a thriller that stands entirely on its own.
Just to be clear, there's no anthropology here, nor forensics. And in place of a self-assured (some might say know-it-all) heroine like Temperance, the main character is more than a little flawed (some might say starting with her oddball name of Sunday Night). She's got psychological scars - and a very noticeable physical one - from a disturbed past she can't forget. She lives on a secluded island; one of her next-door neighbors hanged himself, and the neighbor on the other side avoids her in the belief that she's a crazy woman. Reminiscent of the late, great Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone, she's a bit verbally challenged - tending to speak in short, clipped responses (when she feels like speaking at all).
But she's hardly deprived of skills; in years past, she was a cop who ran into some trouble that brought her promising career to a screeching halt. Now, though, one of the few people she trusts asks her to take on the case of a missing young woman whose ultra-wealthy grandmother is convinced has been kidnapped by some kind of cult.
Sunnie, as she's called, is at first reluctant to get involved despite the promise of a lucrative payday. But when the grandmother explains that the girl's mother and brother were killed in a terrorist bombing in Chicago at the time the girl went missing, something in Sunnie's past compels her to investigate. The goal, the grandmother explains, is to find the granddaughter (hopefully alive) as well as the people behind the kidnapping (dead or alive doesn't matter). The trail leads from Charleston, South Carolina, to Chicago to California to Kentucky. It's also a rocky one for Sunnie physically (let's just say bad guys and gals are prone to carry weapons) and mentally, as events in the current situation uncomfortably mirror those of her past.
Based on my love of the Brennan series, I requested an advance review copy from the publisher - and was absolutely thrilled when that request was approved. Now that I've finished, I'm even happier. I have no doubt this one is destined for the best-seller list!
Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantam, July 2017); 336 pp.