Old Bones

Old Bones

Book - 2019 | First edition
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Nora Kelly, a curator with a series of important excavations already under her belt, is approached by historian Guy Porter, who has found the long-lost diary of one of the Donner Party members. It points to an additional camp that was never discovered. Nora agrees to lead an expedition, and they venture into the Sierra Nevada in search of the camp. But discovery of the missing starvation camp is just the tip of the iceberg. The real truth behind those long-dead pioneers puts them both in mortal danger from a very real, present-day threat.
Publisher: New York : Grand Central Publishing, 2019
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781538747223
1538747227
Branch Call Number: FIC
Characteristics: 369 pages ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Child, Lincoln

Opinion

From Library Staff

THRILLER. USA. First in the Nora Kelly series.


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Quotes

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j
jimg2000
Oct 05, 2019

Finally he reached down, opened the backpack, and pulled out a plastic Ziploc bag. He opened it and removed an old, tissue-wrapped volume, which he laid reverently on the table between them, unfolding the tissue with delicate fingers. “The original journal,” he said, “of Tamzene Donner.”
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The Donner catastrophe was one of the greatest calamities of the westward migration. Here was a group of emigrants who set out to civilize an untamed land — California — but in the process ended up reduced to unspeakable barbarity. It was the American Dream turned inside out.
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As I mentioned, two primary campsites were identified — the camp near Truckee Lake and the one along Alder Creek. But the Lost Camp has never been found.
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…numismatic value. A single gold eagle in uncirculated MS-60 or better condition with a date in the mid-1840s is currently valued between fifteen and twenty thousand dollars.

j
jimg2000
Oct 05, 2019

“Any artifacts uncovered in a permitted excavation by a qualified 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) nonprofit organization are normally owned by the organization.”
===

Five banks robbed in a space of two months. Two tellers shot, neither fatally. The perp was conscious of security cameras and had walked into the banks wearing a variety of cowboy hats, under which was concealed a balaclava he’d roll down immediately upon entering. Total take, $694,000. Last seen at the Third National Bank in Alamogordo, just off the Mescalero reservation.
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Corrie Swanson, the foulmouthed, purple-haired goth who’d grown up a latter-day rebel without a cause in a shithole prairie town. Her mother hadn’t bothered to come to graduation — drunk, probably — and it had stung that the prime mover behind her budding career, Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast, had been unable to attend …

j
jimg2000
Oct 05, 2019

If Albuquerque was the ugly, dusty ass end of nowhere, then Farmington was the inflamed boil on that ass. If she ever ended up in a satellite office like that, she just might rob a few banks herself.
===

“Being an FBI agent isn’t like being a doctor. Or even like being a cop. There’s no single path to getting the right kind of experience under your belt. There are plenty of agents — lawyers, programmers — who don’t even wear a weapon and spend their entire careers at their desks. Location makes a difference, too. You happened to catch Albuquerque. A lot of the action around here is drug-related, so the DEA tends to take point. “He leaned forward a little. “But I’ll tell you two more things, Swanson. First — I’m your FTO. That means I’m your judge as well as your guardian angel. While you’re evaluating those cold cases, I’m evaluating you: where your skills lie, where you’ll do the most good — what weak points need the most work.”

j
jimg2000
Oct 05, 2019

FBI’s opinion of the DEA: knuckle-dragging Neanderthals whose main talent was for cracking skulls. But on these ride-alongs, she’d learned the DEA’s own impression of the FBI. The assault teams had let her know, in no uncertain terms, that she’d joined the wrong agency, and that the FBI was a sorry collection of pencil-necked, limp-dicked, nerdy accountants who rarely if ever broke leather their entire careers
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FBI shield, she realized; she had it, he didn’t, and though he might not like it, he couldn’t do shit about it. This realization gave her a tickling sensation of power. Growing up, power was the one thing she’d never had. And so she’d built up a carapace of sarcastic belligerence and resentment toward authority. Ironic how she was the authority now.

j
jimg2000
Oct 05, 2019

His biceps measurement was greater than his IQ. ”
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If you encounter a bear, back off slowly. Look as harmless and unafraid as possible. Let it retreat. With mountain lions, do the opposite. Act belligerent, make yourself big, open your coat up and flap it, spread your arms and make a lot of noise.
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“A student with your depth of scholarship, and you’re going to tell me you don’t know about the Battle of Glorieta Pass?”
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I’m talking about Glorieta Pass — the westernmost major battle of the Civil War. The Confederacy invaded New Mexico Territory in an attempt to cut the West off from the Union, and got their asses royally kicked. At Glorieta Pass.

j
jimg2000
Oct 05, 2019

Florence was about as die-hard a Confederate as they come. Her father, Edward Parkin, was a big slaveholder in Georgia. He taught her to shoot at an early age. And her husband, Colonel Regis, led a Confederate battalion until he was killed by a Yankee sniper right after First Manassas. Following his death, Florence pulled up stakes and moved to El Paso. When she heard General Sibley was sending half a dozen companies up the Rio Grande in preparation for an attack on Fort Union, she was determined to avenge her husband’s death. She donned a Confederate uniform and joined the ranks, pretending to be a man. After the truth came out following her death in battle, the general ordered her buried with full military honors.
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If it were up to him, she’d be taking five trunks full of everything from umbrellas to an espresso machine. He had been extra solicitous of her the last several years, ever since she’d lost her husband in New York City under tragic circumstances.

j
jimg2000
Oct 05, 2019

I’ve tried to get into hip-hop — I really have. But I’ve more or less given up. To me it sounds like a bunch of bragging and ranting and bitch-slapping, chanted over the beat of a dime-store drum machine. And then when they do condescend to sing a little — like, during the hook, maybe — the voices all sound so clinical and similar, Auto-Tuned up the ass.
===

“He’s hard to pin down but he looks, well, hungry.“ “ What do you mean?” “You know, the kind of person who’s never satisfied, always looking for greener grass.”
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The proton magnetometer — a device that looked like a high-tech lawnmower — had already been run over the entire area, giving them a rough idea where buried artifacts might be located, especially ferrous objects such as nails, bolts, and tools.

j
jimg2000
Oct 05, 2019

Taking the edge of her trowel, she gently removed soil a millimeter at a time, placing it in a bucket next to her, to be later dried and screened or put through flotation in search of carbonized organics and human hair.
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“You grow up thinking everything’s fine and bad things happen to other people, and then, out of the blue, life drops a piano on you. I couldn’t believe the pain. And the surprise.”
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“What is it with that guy? He prowls around like an extra from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
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Voltaire once said, ‘To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.’ And that’s the way we can best serve these people’s memories — by learning their stories. I’m not going to let some Bible-thumping wrangler tell me what’s right and what isn’t.

j
jimg2000
Oct 05, 2019

“You know,” Clive said as the two riders disappeared, “there were a lot of things to worry about with this project, but I never expected something like this.”
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What had started out as a textbook-perfect archaeological dig was rapidly turning into a nightmare.
===

“The question is not whether he fell. The question is how. ”
===

…tried to tamp down her nervousness. The practice interrogation sessions at the Academy had been straightforward, leaving her ill-prepared for the sort of investigation she was engaged in now — in which she could see no motive, develop no hypothesis of a crime. All she had were a lot of disconnected facts and coincidences, along with a gut feeling. One of the things she’d been taught at the Academy was to clarify the facts, work chronologically, and — especially — resist forming ideas.

j
jimg2000
Oct 05, 2019

“You know,” Clive said as the two riders disappeared, “there were a lot of things to worry about with this project, but I never expected something like this.”
===

What had started out as a textbook-perfect archaeological dig was rapidly turning into a nightmare.
===

“The question is not whether he fell. The question is how. ”
===

…tried to tamp down her nervousness. The practice interrogation sessions at the Academy had been straightforward, leaving her ill-prepared for the sort of investigation she was engaged in now — in which she could see no motive, develop no hypothesis of a crime. All she had were a lot of disconnected facts and coincidences, along with a gut feeling. One of the things she’d been taught at the Academy was to clarify the facts, work chronologically, and — especially — resist forming ideas.

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m
midori_hon
Nov 30, 2019

evocative of early chricton or preston child, an interesting look at a historical dig... and cannibalism

LoganLib_Kylie Oct 10, 2019

Preston and Child have written another winner. Based on the historic struggles of the Donner party who were stuck in a blizzard and many resorted to cannibalism, Old Bones brings back Nora and Corrie, both fabulous strong female characters. I can't wait for the next!

j
jimg2000
Oct 05, 2019

Each of the pair of antagonists, Corinne Swanson and Nora Kelly, appears in five of the FBI special agent Pendergast novels but never together until Old Bones, see the titles in "Summary." As usual, engaging interesting crime thriller based on a horrific true event with unexpected twists and turns; too busy turning pages other than looking up the archaeology and science behind the mystery.

Best lines (More in "Quotes"):

“Fortuna spondet multa multis, praestat nemini, vive in dies et horas, nam proprium est nihil.”

“Fortune makes promises to many, keeps them to none. Live for each day, live for the hours, since nothing is forever yours.”

n
nerowolfgal
Sep 25, 2019

A galloping good read.
It is well-written and enjoyable, but as I read I was thinking "Oh, I know where this is going". However, the very last chapter does a right-angle turn into a totally different ending and explanation of all the strange and murderous happenings in the book. I was very pleased. I am an avid reader, which can cause a person to say "Oh, I know this plot" or "I can totally tell you who did the crime". Not so with this book.

The book is also good in really giving a strong sense of the landscape with its beauties and dangers. As well the authors research on the Donner Party provides many of interesting and perhaps not well-known facts

d
dianewillett
Sep 11, 2019

a GREAT read. Strong female lead characters. Good mystery and pacing.

e
Eagle_dancer
Sep 11, 2019

Well written, as is the case for Preston and Childs. It is not their usual action-packed, scary book. The characters were good. A different story, for sure. Disappointing, even with a brief visit by Agent Pendergast at the very end of the book.

z
zenith628
Sep 11, 2019

I love Preston & Child's books but this was so disappointing. Not their style, at all.

Summary

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j
jimg2000
Oct 05, 2019

Books the two antagonists appear in Agent Aloysius Pendergast's novels:

Corinne Swanson:
Still Life with Crows
Dance of Death
Cold Vengeance
Two Graves
White Fire

Nora Kelly:
Thunderhead
The Cabinet of Curiosities
Dance of Death
The Book of the Dead
Cemetery Dance

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