VALLEY OF BONES by MICHAEL GRUBER.
After a Sudanese businessman falls ten stories from his hotel room and is impaled on the fence below, Mimi detective Jimmy Paz finds a most unlikely suspect in an otherworldly creature named Emmylou Dideroff, who claims to commune with the saints.
Her scribbled 'confessions' tell the remarkable tale of a woman from the wrong side of the tracks - thief, drug dealer, prostitute - who has been called into the service of God in a most unusual way. Might this 'service' include the murder of the Sudanese businessman, whose close knowledge of oil reserves could be contributing to genocide back home?
Police psychologist Lorna Wise must determine whether the suspect is legally insane, but when people associated with her 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.
....... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): The cop happened to look up at just the right instant or he would have missed it, not the actual impalement, but the fall itself.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 27): "That was a schizophrenic Cuban, Emmylou."
"Yes, an angel of the Lord. Not all of them are pretty blondes with feathery wings'"
MY THOUGHTS: The second in a series of books, I have to say that, apart from the occasional reference to the first book, this read perfectly well as a standalone novel.
Alternating between the story of the crime of which Emmylou Dideroff is accused (IE the killing of Sudanese oil baron Jabir Akran al-Muwalid) , her written notebook 'confessions' and a history of the fictional order known as the Nursing Sister's of the Blood of Christ, it is my opinion that it is only the story of Emmylou's crime that is is any way interesting. OK, so it could be argued that Emmylou's confessions give a lot of background information but I'm sure it needn't have taken quite so much time to do so but why the history of the Nursing Sisters?
Too 'busy' for my tastes, there is simply too much going on - Catholicism, Voodoo, religious conversion, miracles (?), gangsters, secret agents, possible mental illness, it's all here and more.
And as for the characters?
Hmm, I don't want to go into too many details here but suffice to say there was really only Emmylou that I found believable. Quite well written I did enjoy how the author kept us guessing as to her true nature ....... saint or sinner, able to commune with the saints (and the devil) or merely delusional, who is to say?
The other main characters, Detective Jimmy Paz and psychologist Lorna Wise just weren't very believable . Not particularly well depicted, I felt there were a lot of contradictions in Wise's character, strange to say I know but it felt as if the author didn't know her very well.
Not a novel I enjoyed, as harsh as it sounds, to me it felt as if the writer was trying to be too clever and it just didn't work.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: Ex-library stock, would it surprise you to know that I won't be keeping this?