In “Old Bones” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, archaeologist Nora Kelly gets a visit from historian Clive Benton, who shows her a lost artifact tied to the fate of the Donner Party, the group of people trapped by a blizzard in the Sierra Nevada of California in 1847 that resorted to cannibalism to survive.
Porter has found a diary written by one of the victims, and it reveals the location of a camping site thought lost. The historical implications are priceless, and so Kelly agrees to go with him and a small team to see what they can find.
Junior FBI agent Corrie Swanson is working on cold cases when a strange murder plunges her into her first active investigation. What at first appears to be nothing more than a man being killed in a cemetery unveils a strange link to several grave robberies in which the skulls of the deceased are taken. All of the thefts are tied to people with the same last name.
When a woman disappears, and she has the same last name as the ones from the gravesites, Swanson begins to realize that something sinister is occurring, even if her direct boss doesn’t see the evidence in the same way. Swanson’s research puts her directly in the path of Kelly and their expedition, and murder is on the map.
Longtime readers of Preston and Child will love to see the beloved characters of Nora Kelly and Corrie Swanson take center stage in what is a terrific start to a new series. Their writing talent shines as this mix of history, exploration of nature and crime will without a doubt land on the top of the best-seller lists. Though some of the historical facts have been tweaked a bit for the story to work, a note to the reader from the authors at the end reveals what is true and what they made up, and is sure to lead to a surge in attention for nonfiction accounts of what really happened that horrible winter.
“Old Bones” (Grand Central), by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child