Little Bones: A Totally Addictive Crime Thriller (Detective Lottie Parker, Book 10) (Unabridged)
She lifted up her granddaughter from the cot, clutched her to her chest, and without looking at her beautiful daughter lying dead on the floor of her bedroom, ran from the house. Only when she was outside did she let a wail escape her lips, frightening the baby who joined in her screams.
When Isabel Gallagher is found murdered on the floor of her baby’s nursery by her mother, it’s a grueling case for Detective Lottie Parker. Isabel’s pajamas have been ripped, her throat cut and an old-fashioned razor blade placed in her hand. As Lottie looks at the round blue eyes and perfect chubby cheeks of Isabel’s baby daughter, she can’t understand who would want to hurt this innocent family.
That very same day she receives a call with devastating news. Another young mother, Joyce Breslin, has gone missing, and her four-year-old son, Evan, has been abducted from daycare. Lottie is sure that the missing mother and son are linked to Isabel’s death, and when she finds a bloody razor blade in their house, her worst fears are confirmed.
Desperate to find little Evan, Lottie leaves no stone unturned as she delves into Isabel and Joyce’s pasts, and when she realizes the two women have been meeting in secret, she knows she must find out why.
But when Joyce’s body is found in a murky pond and some little bones are found on a windy hillside, it feels as if this merciless killer will stop at nothing. The bones aren’t Evan’s, but can they give Lottie the final clue to find the innocent child before more lives are taken?
This absolutely gripping crime thriller from best-selling author Patricia Gibney will leave you gasping for breath.
An enthralling mystery-thriller
Little Bones is another tightly-plotted and emotionally gripping instalment in Patricia Gibney's excellent D.I. Lottie Parker series.
The book opens with a dramatic prologue, set two and a half years prior to the main body of the story, detailing an horrific episode of domestic violence and a clandestine burial. We then move forward to the present time, as Anita Boland arrives at the home of her married daughter, Isabel Gallagher, expecting to babysit her baby granddaughter while Isabel attends an appointment. She walks into a shocking crime scene - Isabel has been murdered, but baby Holly has been left alive, screaming disconsolately, in her nearby cot.
Detective Inspector Lottie Parker and her team, based in nearby Ragmullin, Eire, are called in to investigate the murder. Throughout the story, we see vignettes of widowed Lottie's rather chaotic domestic life at dilapidated Farranstown House, with her three children, young grandson and the frequent presence of her partner/colleague Mark Boyd and her judgmental but domestically-indispensable mother, Rose.
While Parker's team begin their investigation of the Gallagher homicide, another drama is unfolding nearby. Another young mother, Joyce Breslin, receives a mysterious warning - a rusty razor blade in a plain envelope pushed under her door. Joyce is clearly traumatised as a result of experiences in her past, her terror amplified when she hears of Isabel's death on a news bulletin. She reacts instinctively by preparing to flee Ragmullin with her four-year-old son, Evan, dropping him at day-care while she frantically gets herself organised. But before she can escape, Joyce disappears, leaving her car abandoned by the side of a remote road, and Evan is mysteriously abducted from his day-care centre while the proprietor is distracted.
If that's not enough drama to contend with, hiker Dervla Byrne is enjoying a solo walk on nearby Misneach Hill, a place rich in mythology, when she comes across a tiny bone, protruding from a moss-covered mound. Dervla wrestles with what she should do - could this be a human bone?
The three apparently disparate plot threads gradually come together, as Parker and her team conduct their investigations. Both Isabel's and Joyce's husbands are behaving strangely, the homicide team is further stretched by internal tensions, and a potential witness-suspect can't be found.
As readers have come to expect from Patricia Gibney, a complex, multi-layered plot is complemented by great characterisations, evocative settings and punchy dialogue (both internal and spoken). Lottie Parker is a sympathetic protagonist, barely keeping her home and family arrangements under control while balancing a demanding professional life. The supporting characters are also well-developed, both those who are recurring figures throughout the series and those whose involvement is limited to this particular case. There are so many metaphorical skeletons hidden, in addition to the one physical one, that the reader is kept guessing as to the identity of the villain(s) right up to the thrilling conclusion.
With the themes of domestic abuse, self-harm and violence against children, this isn't a book for the faint-hearted. Several of the scenes are genuinely chilling in their descriptive content. However, for readers who look for grittier content in their mystery-thrillers, Little Bones will prove a stimulating and enthralling read. This is a worthy addition to a fantastic series. Highly recommended.