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The Bones Will Speak

The Bones Will Speak, August 2015
Gwen Marcey #2
by Carrie Stuart Parks

Thomas Nelson
Featuring: Gwen Marcey
336 pages
ISBN: 1401690459
EAN: 9781401690458
Kindle: B00PWOH87M
Paperback / e-Book
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"A riveting and suspenseful mystery involving serial killings and much more danger!"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Bones Will Speak
Carrie Stuart Parks

Reviewed by Audrey Lawrence
Posted January 12, 2016

Inspirational Mystery

Gwen Marcey couldn't help noticing how pretty the hayfield meadow by the abandoned farm next to her place in Copper Creek, Montana looked with its white daisies and purple lupines in bloom. She had almost forgotten she had painted a watercolour of that scene for an art show nearly two years earlier. Then, reality hits her again.

Gwen isn't here to admire the scenery but to find the place where Winston, her Great Pyrenees dog, had uncovered what looked to be a young woman's skull. Checking by the creek, she finds human remains partially wrapped in tattered plastic. Forcing her training as a forensic artist to kick in, Gwen is even more disturbed by Winston's latest find, and it is fresh. Suddenly, things shift quickly. Is the killer nearby? Why does the girl look so much like her teenage daughter? Is she being targeted? Why?

THE BONES WILL SPEAK is one of the most exciting and page turning mystery novels I have read this year, and that is saying a lot! I can vouch that THE BONES WILL SPEAK is a great stand alone mystery. It is the first novel I have read by Carrie Stuart Parks, yet I definitely plan to read more. I am positive existing fans of the first book in the Gwen Marcey series, A CRY FROM THE DUST, will be thrilled with this subsequent novel featuring Gwen as the feisty and determined protagonist.

In THE BONES WILL SPEAK, Gwen, a divorced, breast cancer survivor, is struggling economically due to her divorce and only getting part time contracts for work as a forensic artist. Her fourteen-year-old daughter Aynslee is being homeschooled. She is a great kid, but in a bit of a rebellious phase which makes her a little unpredictable.

Parks's gift as an author certainly shine in her ability to create authentic characters that spring to life as well as being a very suspenseful storyteller who lets them move the story along in such a riveting page turning manner. Parks's own extensive background in fine arts, forensic artistry, and law enforcement (not to mention her own beloved Great Pyrenees dogs) brings in pertinent details and information, which make THE BONES WILL SPEAK so authentic and engrossing. I particularly like how she juxtaposed the hatred and bigotry coming from neo-Nazis, white supremacist and Christian Identity gatherings and their followers with the true kindness and caring support from her own Christian friends and upbringing.

If you are looking for a great mystery, look no further than this latest suspense thriller by Carrie Stuart Parks! A very difficult whodunit to figure out. You will be surprised! But truly... THE BONES WILL SPEAK!

Learn more about The Bones Will Speak

SUMMARY

A killer with a penchant for torture has taken notice of forensic expert Gwen Marcey . . . and her daughter.

When Gwen Marcey’s dog comes home with a human skull and then leads her to a cabin in the woods near her Montana home, she realizes there’s a serial killer in her community. And when she finds a tortured young girl clinging to life on the cabin floor, she knows this killer is a lunatic.

Yet what unsettles Gwen most is that the victim looks uncannily like her daughter.

The search for the torturer leads back in time to a neo- Nazi bombing in Washington state—a bombing with only one connection to Montana: Gwen. The group has a race-not-grace model of salvation . . . and they’ve marked Gwen as a race traitor. When it becomes clear that the killer has a score to settle, Gwen finds herself in a battle against time. She will have to use all of her forensic skills to find the killer before he can carry out his threat to destroy her—and the only family she has left.

Excerpt

April 15, Five Years Later

I charged from the house and raced across the lawn, frantically waving my arms. “Stop digging! Winston, no!”

Winston, my Great Pyrenees, paused in his vigorous burial of some form of roadkill and raised a muddy nose in my direction.

“I mean it!” Why hadn’t I bought one of those nice, retriever-type dogs who mindlessly played fetch all day? Winston spent his time wading in the creek, digging pool- sized holes in the lawn, and?judging from the green stain?applying eau de cow pie around his ear. I crept toward him.

He playfully raised his tail over his back and dodged left.

“I’m warning you.” I pointed a finger at him. Phthalo- blue watercolor rimmed my nail, making my gesture less threatening and more like I was growing a rare fungus.

Unfazed, he darted toward the line of flowering lilac bushes lining the driveway, temporarily passing from sight. How could a hundred-and-sixty-pound canine move so fast? I circled in the other direction, slipping closer, then carefully parted the branches. No dog.

This was ridiculous. I could chase my dog until I retrieved the roadkill from his mouth, or scrub it off the carpet for the next week. And it was getting dark, with Prussian-blue shadows stretching between Montana’s pine-covered Bitterroot Mountains.

I glanced to my left. Winston crouched, wagging his tail. I moved toward him. He snatched his prize and shook it.

Two black hollows appeared.

I couldn’t move. The air rushed from my lungs and came out in a long hiss. I patted my leg, urging the dog closer.

Winston lifted the object, exposing a hole with radiating cracks.

Crouching, I extended my hand. “Come on, fellow. Good doggie, over here.”

He placed his find on the ground. It came to rest on its even row of ivory teeth.

I approached gingerly, knelt on the soggy ground, and inspected the sightless eye sockets. “Oh, dear Lord.”

Winston nudged the skull forward.

I yelped and sprawled on my rear. An overfed beetle plopped out of the nasal aperture and landed on my shoelace.

Heart racing like a runaway horse, I violently kicked the offending bug, skidded backward, and stood. Fumbling my cell phone from my jeans pocket, I punched in Dave’s number. “Leave it to you, Winston, to find a skull full of bugs?”

“Ravalli County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Dave Moore.”

“She’s dead. You’ve got to come now, Dave!” Winston pawed at the skull like a volleyball.

“Stop that, Winston. You’re just going to make more bugs fall out.” I bumped the dog away with my leg.

“What is it now, Gwen? You’re calling me because Winston has bugs?”

I rubbed my face. “Of course not. Don’t be silly. I already told you she’s dead?”

“Question one: Are you okay?”

“Yes! Well?”

“Good, good. Now, question two: Where are you?”

“I’m home. Near home. The edge of the woods?”

“Choose one.”

“Doggone it, Dave, don’t patronize me.” I wanted to sling the phone across the yard, then race over to the sheriff’s office and kick Dave in the shin. “Stop being irritating and get over here.”

“Ah, yes. That brings me to question three. Who’s ‘she’?”

“She’s a skull. Or technically a cranium. Didn’t I say that? She was murdered.”

“Murdered? Are you sure she isn’t a lost hiker or hunter?”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake, Dave. She’s got a neat bullet hole in her forehead, and a not-so-neat exit wound shattering the back.” The dog reached a paw around my leg and attempted to snag his plaything. I tapped it out of reach with my shoe. I sincerely hoped no one was watching me play a macabre version of skull soccer with my dog. I already had a reputation for being eccentric.

“Are you positive it’s female?”

“Just look at it!” I realized I was holding the phone over the skull and quickly put the cell back to my ear. “I’m not a forensic anthropologist, but if I had to guess, I’d say female. There’s a lack of development in the supraorbital ridges, the zygomatic process is less pronounced, there’s an absence of the external occipital protuberance?”

“Speak English.”

“Don’t interrupt. She has signs of animal activity? chewing?and is missing the lower jaw. Hence she’s a cranium, not a skull, but her teeth are in good shape in the maxilla. That’s the upper jaw.”

“I know what that is. You’re a forensic artist. Since when has a skull spooked you?”

“It’s not the skull, it’s the bugs.”

“Yeah, yeah, you and your insect phobia. I think you’re just out of practice with the real thing. You’ve been doing too much work on plaster castings.”

“I don’t even want to think about plaster castings.” It was only eight months since my work in Utah and I still had nightmares.

“Speaking of that case, didn’t you find some body parts on your property in that case too? Are you turning into Montana’s version of the body farm?”

“Very funny.” Leave it to Dave to know how to simultaneously calm me down and irritate me beyond belief. He treated me like a kid sister, which, in a sense, I was. His family took me in when I was fourteen.

“I will concede that I haven’t reconstructed a skull from a homicide case for a while.” I smoothed my paint-stained denim shirt. “But in the past, they’ve always arrived cleaned. In a neatly labeled evidence pouch. All the slithery things inside them boiled away.”

“You’re getting mighty prissy about receiving evidence.”

“Ha. Do you have any missing-persons reports?” I took a deep breath, then scratched my dog behind the ear. I stopped and looked at my hand. Fresh, cow-pie green. Great. I wiped the poo on the grass.

“One came in less than an hour ago from the Missoula Police Department. Possible abduction this morning of a fourteen-year-old girl, name of Mattie Banks.”

“If she was abducted this morning, she’d hardly be down to bone by evening . . . unless someone boiled her head . . .”

“You have a sick mind.”

“So you like to point out.”

“I’ll check missing persons, also give a call to the state guys, see how fast they can get here. We’re really shorthanded. I got two officers on sick leave, but I’ll be over within the hour.”

I gazed at the vast Bitterroot wilderness stretching past my yard. Churning indigo clouds now blotted out the setting sun. April weather could change in a second in the mountains.

“On second thought, don’t come over tonight. A storm’s about to break.” I thought for a moment. “Unless you want to call in half the law enforcement in Montana, the National Guard, and every Explorer Scout in the West, I need to see if I can narrow down the possible perimeter for this homicide. Pyrs can retrieve roadkill or tasty dead critters from about a five-mile radius. That gives us a lot of back country to search.”

“Then we’ll get Winston to take us to her body.”

“Ha! Forget the ‘we.’ If you show up, Winston will just want you to pet him. Let me see what I can do with the dog first.”

Winston wagged his tail.

“You’ve undoubtedly compromised everything to boot, Winston.”

A splash of rain struck my arm, and I glanced up. The wind brushed through the pines, creating a sibilant murmur. “I’ll get my noble hound to track tomorrow. I’ll call you.”

I dropped the phone into my pocket. “Come on, Winston. I’m not leaving you alone with your prize. Heel.” We crossed the yard to the house. “Sit. Now, stay. I’m not handling that thing with my bare hands, even dung- covered.” I stepped into the kitchen, scrubbed up, grabbed a pair of latex gloves and a large paper grocery bag, then went outside. After placing the skull in the bag, I folded the top closed and carried it to my studio. Winston trailed behind.

I set the package on my drafting table. A host of nightmarish insects were in there. What if they got out? I rubbed my arms to make the little hairs lie down, then fastened a continuous line of staples across the top and applied two-inch tape over the staples.

“Mom?”

I jumped and dropped the tape.

Aynslee, my fourteen-year-old daughter, stood at the door. “You got a phone call. Some attorney or something from Spokane. He said you’re getting a subpoena on an old case.”

“Did he say what case?”

“Something about a priest. When’s dinner?”

“Dinner? Is it that late?” I glanced at my watch. “Turn on the oven. We’ll have pizza tonight. Special treat.”

“It’s not special if we have it every night,” Aynslee muttered as she left the room.

“We didn’t have it last night,” I called after her.

“Yes, we did. Pepperoni. And two nights ago we had sausage and extra cheese.”

You’d think the child would be grateful I wasn’t cooking. Tuna noodle casserole with potato-chip topping was the extent of my culinary skills. A blast of rain struck the windows, pelting it like tiny marbles, and a deep rumbling shook the glass. Winston raised his head from his bed in the corner.

“Don’t worry, ole boy. It’s just thunder.” I cupped my hands against the window to block out the room’s light and watched the storm gather momentum, then turned and stared at the paper sack. “How long have you waited,” I whispered, “for someone to find you?”


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