by Vivian Barz
An unlikely pair teams up to investigate a brutal murder in a haunting thriller that walks the line between reality and impossibility.
When small-town police officers discover the grave of a young boy, they’re quick to pin the crime on a convicted criminal who lives nearby. But when it comes to murder, Officer Susan Marlan never trusts a simple explanation, so she’s just getting started.
Meanwhile, college professor Eric Evans hallucinates a young boy in overalls: a symptom of his schizophrenia—or so he thinks. But when more bodies turn up, Eric has more visions, and they mirror details of the murder case. As the investigation continues, the police stick with their original conclusion, but Susan’s instincts tell her something is off. The higher-ups keep stonewalling her, and the FBI’s closing in.
Desperate for answers, Susan goes rogue and turns to Eric for help. Together they take an unorthodox approach to the case as the evidence keeps getting stranger. With Eric’s hallucinations intensifying and the body count rising, can the pair separate truth from illusion long enough to catch a monster?
An easy to read if dark thriller driven by good characters, Forgotten Bones has elements of the supernatural. Eric Evans and Susan Marlan are likable leads, he’s a schizophrenic, she a dogged police officer. Eric’s pregnant wife is having it away with his brother so he leaves his job, not bearing to be around them. He takes a pay cut, to teach.
Despite his medication Eric’s condition produces hallucinations and he envisions a kid in a blue dungarees. By this point there’s been a brutal killing. Could the two be related?
With authentic dialogue and a pacy story, there’s lots to admire. An accident, inventive poisoning, convicted felon, dead relative, dodgy neighbour, suspected paedophile released from prison, nursing home mother, dismissive Sherrif and serial killer all play their part in this small town mystery which sees FBI involvement as the case is linked to over twenty bodies.
Plentiful POVs, twists and ambition helps make Forgotten Bones a memorable debut to Barz’s Dead Remaining series.
About the Author
Vivian Barz grew up on a farm in a small Northern California town of less than three thousand people. With plenty of fresh air and space to let her imagination run wild, she began penning mysteries at a young age. One of Barz’s earliest works, a story about a magical scarecrow with a taste for children’s blood, was read to her third-grade class during show-and-tell. It received mixed reviews. Vivian kept writing, later studying English and film and media studies from the University of California, Irvine. She now resides in Los Angeles, where she is always working on her next screenplay and novel. Barz also writes under the pen name Sloan Archer.