Category Archives: forensic geology

Bone hunter by Sarah Andrews, the remains of the review

Bone Hunter coverGeoscience factor: Forensic geology

Spoiler: In the 1983-84 T.V. movie and miniseries “V”, the aliens round-up all the “scientists.”

Rating: No longer rated

In retrospect, I wish that I hadn’t read the rest of Bone Hunter. I didn’t want to consider Em Hansen’s uninformed musings about Mormonism, polygamy, cults, drugs, man-hunts, faith, or conspiracies in the realm of paleontology. The reader may have figured out by now that I’m not fond of this sub-genre.

Andrews glosses over character, plot, and body-count. Em Hansen briefly expresses remorse about leading two people to their death, then moves on to diagnosing hypothermia (a result of one non-fatal mistake), romance (a logical conclusion to hypothermia and its treatment), and a fast and unsatisfactory dénouement (a teaser for more books to come).  As is typical in this kind of mystery, it’s not clear whether the sensational elements serve to explore humanity’s slimy underbelly or simply the author’s unpleasant imagination.

The author’s note at the end of the book could have redeemed the book, but didn’t, as Andrews’ “research” into the connections between science and religion remained unconvincing. Throughout the mystery and the author’s note, Andrews pretentiously throws around the term “scientist,” yet never offers serious evidence to justify her condescending attitude towards religion or people of faith.

I would recommend Bone Hunter and all other Sarah Andrews mysteries to readers who would in fact enjoy these books.

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Bone hunter by Sarah Andrews, half a review

Bone Hunter coverGeoscience factor: Forensic geology

Bonus science: Paleontology

Spoiler: To be determined.

Rating: 1

When I started digging into GeoFiction, I resolved to keep an open mind, even about books that were not my usual fare. I dug half-way into Bone hunter, an Em Hansen mystery, and was already feeling trapped by this resolution.

But, you say, Bone hunter has a conglomerate of elements that I like: farce, mystery, a sassy protagonist, an insider’s view, science.

Alas, the farcical situations are presented in a cliff-note version. A summary of unfortunate accidents beseting our heroine cannot count as farce. The author delights in showing and telling you everything and then showing and telling you everything, and then again, with a rock hammer to the head. The mystery is a standard whodunit, where multiple murders occur in whatever town our heroine visits. And annoyingly, Em Hansen’s attitude has the worst traits of hack detectives. She makes mule-headed decisions and is inexplicably naive during tense moments. Her reveries aren’t always typical of the detective genre, but they muddy her personality instead of illuminating it.

On the other hand, Em Hansen is mostly smart and capable and she provides an insider’s perspective into the shady worlds of paleontologists. I still want to know what will happen to her and whodidit. So I will keep digging and perhaps one day this summer, dig my way out.

 

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Filed under book review, forensic geology, mystery, paleontology