Making Bones by Bill Vaughn
Making Bones by Bill Vaughn, is a story following Izzy Sain, her rowdy, but hilarious group of friends, and her hunky new boyfriend, a BLM ranger named Mark. They’re all on the river together when Izzy makes a gruesome discovery that gets her involved as a special deputy for the BLM, working to solve a four year old murder. When more people start dying and the clues turn up an illegal fossil trade, Izzy has to use her knowledge of the Breaks to help hunt down a killer, which leads her to increasingly odd and dangerous locations.
I loved this book. The plot had a bunch of twists (the last line made me laugh out loud at two in the morning), a great group of characters, often humorous dialog, but what really sealed it for me was the author’s descriptions of the setting. I’ve never been to the Breaks, but after reading this book, I feel like I’ve lived there. The attention to the smallest detail and creative word choice really brings this setting to life. It’s not just a place where the story happens, but alive in it’s own natural way. The author’s passion for the outdoors really comes through (thanks for getting all of the horse bits right!) through detailed and accurate descriptions of hiking, horseback riding, climbing, photography, ranching, camping -I’m probably missing something- these characters were busy!
Like I mentioned before, I found the writing beautiful, graphic, and sometimes funny. That last line is one of the best I’ve ever read and the image will stick with me for a long time. There were no grammatical errors that I could detect, which helped make this a smooth, enjoyable read. While the plot definitely picks up more speed at the end, thanks to chapters from the killer’s perspective mixed in between Izzy’s chapters, there are plenty of suspenseful and dangerous moments that kept me turning pages. I thought the fossil trade was an enjoyable twist to a mystery/crime novel.
The author paid as much attention to the characters as he did the setting and plot. They’re all fleshed out (even the secondary characters- the small town characters really come alive here), and while they all have their backstories and history with Izzy and each other, the author doesn’t dump it all on us at once, for which I’m grateful. We learn about their shared history as the story unfolds but we learn about Izzy the most. She’s a fairly competent and intelligent woman without becoming a cliche, which I loved. She seemed so real, especially with her financial woes and worries over the ranch’s future. I need to know what she decides to do! As for Mark, I’ll admit, I shared Izzy’s skepticism about her relationship working. They really are total opposites. But the chemistry they have for each other is off the charts, and despite being opposites, they make a great investigating team. When it came to the investigation, they complemented each other well. I hope they have more adventures together. I will definitely be reading more by this author, especially if he continues Izzy and Mark’s tale!
My Rating: 5/5
If you’re interested in Making Bones, it’s available on Amazon for $3.99. I highly recommend it!
Thanks for reading!