Mystery Michael Gruber Valley of Bones

ISBN 13: 9780060577667

Valley of Bones

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9780060577667: Valley of Bones

The startling reviews of Tropic of Night announced Michael Gruber as one of the most talented thriller writers to debut in many years. Now, with the much-anticipated publication of Valley of Bones, Gruber fulfills that genre-bending promise as perhaps no writer since Graham Greene, with a genuinely exhilarating thriller that simultaneously offers a profound, deeply provocative exploration of the nature of faith itself.

The setting is Miami. Rookie cop Tito Morales arrives at the Trianon Hotel to investigate a routine disturbance call -- and, to his shock and horror, watches as a wealthy oilman plunges ten stories and impales himself on a nearby fence. Soon Morales is joined by detective Jimmy Paz, famous throughout the city for solving -- or at least providing a plausible solution to -- the so-called Voodoo Murders that left Miami burning months earlier.

Together Paz and Morales enter the hotel and discover, in the dead man's room, a most unusual suspect, an otherworldly woman by the name of Emmylou Dideroff. She emerges from a rapturous, prayerlike state and admits that she had a motive for killing the oilman. Ultimately, she says she wants to confess, and asks for a pen and several notebooks in which to convey the details of her confession.

What Emmylou writes is nothing like what Paz expects; he enlists psychologist Lorna Wise in an effort to make sense of things that go beyond Emmylou's explanation of the murder: details of childhood abuse, of other crimes committed, of regular communion with saints -- and with the devil. Is she mentally disturbed or playacting in hopes of getting declared unfit for trial? Or does she really believe herself to be an instrument of God? And why is it that so many people -- including Paz's biological father -- are suddenly interested in the contents of these notebooks and in preventing them from becoming public?

As Valley of Bones moves toward its startling and dramatic finale, Emmylou's "confessions" lead Jimmy Paz, Lorna Wise, and Tito Morales down a series of unexpected and dangerous turns that puts them in the path of perhaps the most terrifying evil imaginable and forces each of them to confront questions about faith, love, and the possibility of the miraculous.

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Product Description:

After a Sudanese businessman falls ten stories from his hotel-room balcony, Paz investigates and finds a most unlikely suspect - an otherworldly creature named Emmylou Dideroff who claims to commune with the holy saints. Her "Confessions", scribbled in a series of notebooks, tell a remarkable tale of a woman from the wrong side of the tracks - a thief, a drug dealer, a prostitute - who would be called into the service of God in a most unusual way. Might this "service" include the murder of the Sudanese businessman, whose knowledge of oil reserves may be contributing to African genocide? It is left to police psychologist Lorna Wise to determine whether Emmylou is legally insane. But, when people associated with the suspect start turning up dead, both Paz and Lorna begin to suspect that there's something much larger at stake than Emmylou's guilt or innocence - and that the search for justice might bring them up against an even more elemental force...

Review:

This top-notch novel confirms Gruber's place as a gifted writer who stretches the conventional bounds of the genre by placing the mysteries of faith and religious experience and the complexities of the human mind as well as spirit at the center of his work. It's a taut, compelling whodunit that's as far from a typical detective procedural as good is from evil and a worthy follow-up to his acclaimed debut ( Tropic of Night) that also features Cuban-American cop Jimmy Paz. Here Gruber tells a mesmerizing tale of Emmylou Dideroff, who communes with saints and whose checkered past includes stints as a hooker, drug dealer, and the leader of a band of Sudanese freedom fighters. But did she kill the Arab businessman on a government "watch list" who plunged to his death from a Miami hotel? While that's the incident that brings her to Paz's attention, it's only one of his questions about this strange woman, whose unsettling "confessions" stir up the detective's confusion about his own deepest beliefs. Emmylou is as fascinating and fully realized as Jane Doe, the memorable protagonist of Gruber's first book--so too is Lorna Wise, the psychologist brought in to assess Emmylou's sanity, whose personal and professional lives are turned totally upside down by her involvement in the case and her relationship with Paz. This is a smart, riveting, wholly original and thoroughly fascinating book that's impossible to put down and leaves the reader with only one question--when is this author's next one coming out? --Jane Adams

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