Old Bones
The first in the groundbreaking Nora Kelly series from #1 bestselling authors Preston & Child blends the legend of the Donner party with a riveting suspense tale, taking the dynamic duo's work to new heights.Nora Kelly, a young but successful curator with a series of important excavations already under her belt, is approached by the handsome Historian, Guy Porter, to lead an expedition unlike any other. Guy tells his story--one involving the ill-fated Donner Party, who became permanently lodged in the American consciousness in the winter of 1847, when the first skeletonized survivors of the party stumbled out of the California mountains, replete with tales of courage, resourcefulness, bad luck, murder, barbarism--and, finally, starvation and cannibalism.Captivated by the Donner Party, Nora agrees and they venture into the Sierra Nevada in search of the camp. Quickly, they learn that the discovery of the missing starvation camp is just the tip of the iceberg--and that the real truth behind those long-dead pioneers is not only far more complex and surprising than they could have imagined...but it is one that puts them both in mortal danger from a very real, present-day threat in which the search for the lost party, and its fabled fortune in gold, are merely means to a horrifying end.

Old Bones Details

TitleOld Bones
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 20th, 2019
PublisherGrand Central Publishing
ISBN-139781538747223
Rating
GenreMystery, Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Adventure

Old Bones Review

  • Kaceey
    January 1, 1970
    You all remember the horrific tragedy revolving around the Donner family? The travelers who resorted to cannibalism after being stranded in the High Sierra mountains. What if some of the members of this doomed journey left something up there in the mountains? What if it is just waiting to be discovered?Nora Kelly is an extremely successful archaeologist, she is approached by a historian who has a grand idea! He wants Nora to join him and lead an expedition into the Sierras. To the sight of the D You all remember the horrific tragedy revolving around the Donner family? The travelers who resorted to cannibalism after being stranded in the High Sierra mountains. What if some of the members of this doomed journey left something up there in the mountains? What if it is just waiting to be discovered?Nora Kelly is an extremely successful archaeologist, she is approached by a historian who has a grand idea! He wants Nora to join him and lead an expedition into the Sierras. To the sight of the Donner camp.Corrie Swanson is a rookie with the FBI. Anxious to prove her mettle, she lands her first case. A grave robber is found murdered on top of a grave he just dug up. (Ironic, yes?) But why? Was there something special about this particular grave? I loved how the two seemingly separate stories blended so perfectly. I cannot wait to see where these authors take these two very strong characters next!This was my first read by the fantastic writing duo of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child penned as Preston & Child for this book. I’ve heard so much about their work, and had so many of their books recommended to me over the years. Finally, here was my chance with this brand new series they’re launching! I will definitely be watching for the next in the series!Thank you to NetGalley, Grand Central Publishing and Preston & Child for an ARC to read and review.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones." (William Shakespeare)And speaking of bones.....Let's bring out our expert. Dr. Nora Kelly is one archaeologist on a grand scale with impeccable credentials. She's based in Sante Fe and has had quite the experience unearthing bones and such from particular digs through the Sante Fe Archaeological Institute. But this time it's gonna be different from anything she's been associated with before. Very different.Dr. Cl "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones." (William Shakespeare)And speaking of bones.....Let's bring out our expert. Dr. Nora Kelly is one archaeologist on a grand scale with impeccable credentials. She's based in Sante Fe and has had quite the experience unearthing bones and such from particular digs through the Sante Fe Archaeological Institute. But this time it's gonna be different from anything she's been associated with before. Very different.Dr. Clive Benton, a head-turning California historian from Stanford University, stands in the doorway waiting to enter into the office of Dr. Jill Fugit. Dr. Fugit is Nora's boss. Both women lean in as Clive lays out a proposition for them. We, as readers, seem to be leaning in as well. Clive wishes for the institute to become involved in the search for The Lost Camp. And, oh by the way, this is on the trail of the Donner Party of 1846 who became lost on their trek out west in the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. A little sidebar of sorts: they resorted to cannabalism in their desperation with the majority of them not surviving.Just as Dr. Fugit begins to refuse because of the cost to the institute, Clive ratchets up the ante. One of the men, Jacob Wolfinger, had been carrying quite the fortune in Liberty Head gold eagle coins which had never been found.. than enough to supply the institute with one-third of the cash and the other two-thirds going to the state and the government. The deal is done and the die is cast.If you've ever read a book in the long list of bestsellers from the highly talented Preston & Child, you know that this is going to be a worthy read. They hit the ground running with a murder occuring within the first few pages. We also will be introduced to Special Agent Corinne Swanson based out of Albuquerque who adds quite a bit of heft to this storyline filled with bone fragments, ghost stories, and unsavory characters. This is the first offering in the newly presented Nora Kelly Series. Our dynamic writing duo is on to something here. I can just feel it in my bones......I received a copy of Old Bones through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Grand Central Publishing and to Preston & Child for the opportunity.
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  • Ginger
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic!! 5 STARS!Old Bones is a new series by Preston & Child which follows Nora Kelly on an epic expedition in the Sierra Nevada mountains of the doomed Donner Party.Old Bones starts off with Dr. Clive Benton finding a long lost dairy of Tamsen Donner. Tamsen tells of the last days of the Donner Party and the groups that split from their group, including the Lost Camp.Benton goes to Nora and the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute to propose an expedition to find the Lost Camp along with l Fantastic!! 5 STARS!Old Bones is a new series by Preston & Child which follows Nora Kelly on an epic expedition in the Sierra Nevada mountains of the doomed Donner Party.Old Bones starts off with Dr. Clive Benton finding a long lost dairy of Tamsen Donner. Tamsen tells of the last days of the Donner Party and the groups that split from their group, including the Lost Camp.Benton goes to Nora and the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute to propose an expedition to find the Lost Camp along with lost gold. There be gold in them thar hills!Benton, Nora and two other archaeologists head to find the Lost Camp and so much more!At the same time, newly graduated FBI Agent, Corrie Swanson is investigating graves that have been robbed, desecrated and the mystery on why they're all connected.If you don't know who Nora Kelly and Corrie Swanson are, they are recurring characters from the Pendergast series of the same authors. They also happen to be favorite characters of mine from that series. I love that they are getting their own series!I loved how both plots end up coming together to figure out what really happened in the Lost Camp besides starvation, despair and cannibalism!!Gah, the whole historical story of the Donner party made this a must read for me. I did play The Oregon Trail game as a kid folks. That dysentery will get you everytime!And putting this epic and disastrous wagon train in the hands of Preston & Child was fantastic and a no brainer for me to read!They made it adventurous, scientific and suspenseful. It was worth the 2-3 day book binge!I am so looking forward to more books in this series with both Nora and Corrie bringing the fun, adventure and science nerd information together in well written books.Bravo Preston & Child for doing it once again!
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsIt's pure serendipity that I picked this up right after reading White Fire, since both follow Pendergast's young protege Corrie Swanson. Now, she's a fully fledged FBI agent, if still in her first two probationary years, and her hesitant attempts to run her first investigation are at times helped or hindered by her take no shit attitude. She's changed enough that she's become a much more appealing character to follow, but her anger still gets her in trouble. Especially when up against a 3.5 starsIt's pure serendipity that I picked this up right after reading White Fire, since both follow Pendergast's young protege Corrie Swanson. Now, she's a fully fledged FBI agent, if still in her first two probationary years, and her hesitant attempts to run her first investigation are at times helped or hindered by her take no shit attitude. She's changed enough that she's become a much more appealing character to follow, but her anger still gets her in trouble. Especially when up against another of Pendergast's former associates: archeologist Nora Kelly. Both women have very particular ideas about what's important, causing them to clash repeatedly throughout the book. It was an amusing contrast, neither of them knowing their shared Pendergast connection, and it seems like their winning combination might form the basis of a separate series. These two characters and their barbed interactions were the highlight of the novel, with the plot somewhat drawn out and rushed at the end. Still, it was atmospheric and fun, as all these thrillers are. Best of all, the authors have used yet another fascinating slice of history as the foundation for their narrative- the story of the Donner Party pioneers who resorted to cannibalism to survive, which has left me desperate to know more and will no doubt take me on my own journey of internet research. It was hard not to miss Pendergast, but there was enough in this to ensure I pick up the next in the series.ARC via Netgalley
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  • Terry
    January 1, 1970
    Every bit as good as I’d expected it would be, and I hope this is just the beginning of another long series of books from these authors.
  • Shaina
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. I flew right through it without even meaning to. It was great and had part of the plot going on at the archeological dig with Nora Kelly and another part going on with Corrie Swanson who is now a newly minted FBI agent. It’s crazy because neither knows the other is a friend or has been a colleague of Pendergast ! That was driving me crazy the whole time. While Nora excavates a site relates to the Donner party .. the so called Lost Camp site.. Corrie is dealing with a sicko who I loved this book. I flew right through it without even meaning to. It was great and had part of the plot going on at the archeological dig with Nora Kelly and another part going on with Corrie Swanson who is now a newly minted FBI agent. It’s crazy because neither knows the other is a friend or has been a colleague of Pendergast ! That was driving me crazy the whole time. While Nora excavates a site relates to the Donner party .. the so called Lost Camp site.. Corrie is dealing with a sicko whom is robbing graves and taking the top part of the remains. Well and kidnapping individuals all related to those dead.. how does this relate to Nora’s dig and how is she going to get through this with Corrie aka the FBI in her way? Also is the rumor of a treasure chest of gold true ? Among a host of other weird and crazy trouble one doesn’t normally have at an organized dig? Well that was the fun here. To be honest though. I just want Pendergast back. I really do.
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  • Bam
    January 1, 1970
    A new thriller series from Preston and Child features two characters from Pendergast books: archaeologist Nora Kelly and fledgling FBI Corrine Swanson. Nora is asked by historian Clive Benton to help search for a lost camp where several of the Donner Party stayed after breaking off from the main party and died from starvation; her boss agrees to help fund the work when she learns there might be a fortune in gold coins hidden there. FBI agent Swanson is looking into grave-robbing on federal land A new thriller series from Preston and Child features two characters from Pendergast books: archaeologist Nora Kelly and fledgling FBI Corrine Swanson. Nora is asked by historian Clive Benton to help search for a lost camp where several of the Donner Party stayed after breaking off from the main party and died from starvation; her boss agrees to help fund the work when she learns there might be a fortune in gold coins hidden there. FBI agent Swanson is looking into grave-robbing on federal land and somehow her investigations seem to dovetail with the current archeological project. Some parts of this story are predictable but it's actually a very intriguing plot. I'll look forward to reading more in this new series. I was provided with an arc by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. Many thanks.
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  • Michael Hicks
    January 1, 1970
    My review of OLD BONES can be found at High Fever Books.When word landed that Nora Kelly, a character that made her solo debut in 1999’s Thunderhead and has since been a recurring character in several of the authors’ Pendergast novels, was to finally get a series centering her front and proper I was pretty damn enthused. Given the propensity for the authors to pack in plenty of scientific rigor, twisty mysteries, and loads of adventure, I figured this was going to be some tasty brain candy. Unfo My review of OLD BONES can be found at High Fever Books.When word landed that Nora Kelly, a character that made her solo debut in 1999’s Thunderhead and has since been a recurring character in several of the authors’ Pendergast novels, was to finally get a series centering her front and proper I was pretty damn enthused. Given the propensity for the authors to pack in plenty of scientific rigor, twisty mysteries, and loads of adventure, I figured this was going to be some tasty brain candy. Unfortunately, my high expectations just weren’t met and the title Old Bones just feels way too apt for this sluggish non-thriller.Nora finds herself recruited by historian Clive Benton, a descendant of the infamous and doomed Donner Party, to search for The Lost Camp where many emigrants to California met their end to cannibalism and madness. While she and her team of archaeologists work with Benton to uncover these old remains, FBI rookie Agent Corrie Swanson is investigating a series of murders and desecrated graves that all point toward a common ancestor — one of the doomed pioneers from that ill-fated expedition west. Fans of Preston & Child will recognize characters like Nora and Corrie, both of whom have played supporting roles to the popular Agent Pendergast over the course of several of his novels. Seeing them striking out on their own, however, isn’t as rewarding as it should be. Old Bones lacks the thrills and tension of prior Preston & Child books, and it creeps along at a slow but determined pace. Instead of thrills and high adventure, much of the book’s narrative relies too heavily on repetitious details. The authors start out with a bang, setting up what should have been an interesting mystery about stolen skulls and the race to find a murderer. There’s a promising idea at the core of Old Bones, but it feels like neither Preston nor Child knew what to do with it. They spent a lot of time narratively spinning their wheels and treading water, going nowhere fast. The bulk of Nora’s side of the story involves uncovering a dig site, going back to camp for dinner and a ghost story, and recapping the details of the Donner Party, who killed who, and who survived. Corrie’s side of the story involves investigating a murder or a disappearance, making wild speculations, and being told by her supervisor to reign it in and that’s she making the same mistakes every other rookie has made. Rinse and repeat for damn near every chapter. Eventually, the two stories intertwine, but by the time some additional murders and a dash of conspiracy and paranoia get tossed into the mixed, it’s far too late to be of any real interest. The reveal of the book’s antagonist comes as no surprise at all, and the unwrapping of why such extremes were undertaken is too neatly resolved and with too little exploration, at that.While I was delighted at the chance to see Nora taking the lead on a book of her own, for the first time since 1999, I felt supremely disappointed that both her and Corrie’s agency were severely undercut in the book’s denouement. Considering that much of Corrie’s story element involves dealing with local yokels and good old boys who think they know better than this little girl with a badge, it’s self-defeating that both her and Nora need a man to solve one of this book’s puzzles on their behalf. I won’t get into the details of it, but I will say it’s ultimately a disappointing and ham-fisted bit of fan service. In fact, disappointing, ham-fisted fan service pretty well sums up Old Bones as a whole. Preston & Child have shown countless times that they know how to write complex and engaging thrillers. Sadly, Old Bones isn’t one of them. This one’s slow and creaky, content to tell you the same little factoids gleaned from Google over and over and over. While I do look forward to another expedition with Nora Kelly and Corrie Swanson, Old Bones should have been left buried.
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  • Steven
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley and Grand Central for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.Preston & Child have done it again! I've been super excited about this spinoff to the Pendergast series since I read the news a few months ago. For those who don't know, I've been following Pendergast on his adventures for a good 15 years, and absolutely love the world and cast that Preston & Child have created. Of course, I was elated to find out that two of my favorite secondary cast mem Thanks to Netgalley and Grand Central for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.Preston & Child have done it again! I've been super excited about this spinoff to the Pendergast series since I read the news a few months ago. For those who don't know, I've been following Pendergast on his adventures for a good 15 years, and absolutely love the world and cast that Preston & Child have created. Of course, I was elated to find out that two of my favorite secondary cast members were not only making an appearance again, but were STARRING in a new spinoff that will be a SERIES of its own!This one takes place out near the west coast in the infamous Donner Pass. Well, mostly. There are some scenes elsewhere, of course, but most of the action takes place in the creepy setting of a locale where some crazy events went down. You know, group of travelers headed west for a new life, get lost in the mountains, snowstorm cuts them off, starvation leads to cannibalism, the usual story, am I right? *shudders* Anywho, Nora Kelly, archaeologist extraordinaire, works for the Institute that gets sent to do a dig and help find out what happened at what is dubbed the "Lost Camp" - a separated group of the Donner party that the whole camp was lost to history. Shenanigans ensue, obviously. Meanwhile, Corrie Swanson - all grown up and employed by the FBI - finds herself working a case with some strange connections to the Donner Party, leading her in Nora's direction. The story comes to an explosive ending with some fun moments and some setup for future adventures.Wherever the authors take these two, I'm there. I've got skin in the game!Please note that you CAN read this without reading the Pendergast series, but not only will you have missed out on seriously character development for the two main characters, but you'll also spoil quite a few big details from the main series. I highly recommend you binge read the Pendergast series first - and don't forget to read Thunderhead in between Reliquary and Cabinet of Curiosities. You don't want to miss out on Nora's introductory novel!
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  • Bob
    January 1, 1970
    Is there anything more frustrating than a book that just completely falls apart at the end?Old Bones is the start of a new series by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, starring Nora Kelly, the archaeologist who assisted Agent Pendergast through five novels, and featuring Corrie Swanson, the junior FBI agent who was mentored by Pendergast through five novels of her own. It's a story of murder, cannibalism, survival, and hidden treasure, based on the true story of the tragic Donner Party.For the Is there anything more frustrating than a book that just completely falls apart at the end?Old Bones is the start of a new series by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, starring Nora Kelly, the archaeologist who assisted Agent Pendergast through five novels, and featuring Corrie Swanson, the junior FBI agent who was mentored by Pendergast through five novels of her own. It's a story of murder, cannibalism, survival, and hidden treasure, based on the true story of the tragic Donner Party.For the first 47 chapters (88% of the book), this is a five-star thriller all the way. It's one of those books you sit down with, intending to read a few chapters, only to repeatedly find yourself asking, "And then what happened?" . . . until it's hours later and you're halfway through. I breezed through this in an evening and an afternoon, drawn as much by the history and the archaeology as the overarching mystery.Although I was already a Nora fan from her previous appearances, it was reassuring to see that she's just as capable of leading a novel as she is a team. Her passion and her dedication shine through even the cold and the rain, and seeing her sort of mentor Clive Benton, book-based historian, allows her to explain a bit more about archaeological technique without sounding like Preston & Child are info-dumping. Similarly, getting to see Corrie juggle her first field assignment for the FBI, fighting against small town minds as much as the perception of her age, made for an interesting side-story that eventually intersects with Nora's in a big way.This isn't the fastest-paced novel Preston & Child have written, nor is it the most tense, but it moves along at a satisfying pace, and the mystery is more than sufficient to keep you reading. It's a mystery with layers, both past and present, and there are some nice ghost-story touches that remind us of the heavy weight of history buried in the mountains. The whole story of the little girl roaming the mountains, looking for her missing leg, paired with the discovery of her skeleton is particularly effective. The buried gold is a total MacGuffin, there only to spur the search and fuel tensions among the dig team and their guides, but it does lend itself to one of the more interesting twist betrayals we've ever come across in these books.That brings me back to my opening question about the final pages. While the twist in motive is one I'm entirely fine with, and would have liked to see explored in more detail, it is the twist in villains that had me groaning, shaking my head, and cursing the authors. It's a twist that comes out of nowhere, with nothing to back it up, and the explanation we do get is as thin as the twist itself. It just does not work. Preston & Child have had some weak endings in the past, and sometimes you need to suspend disbelief a bit to make them work, but this was just plain lazy and cheap.As for the epilogue, I'm somewhat torn on that. It wasn't a total surprise, and I did kind of enjoy it, but I also felt as if it took something away from Nora and Corrie, especially with how it resolves the story's last puzzle. Overall, it's taken me a few days to decide how I feel about Old Bones as a whole. In the end, it's very much like the ghost story of little Samantha Carville - a damned fine, perfectly creepy skeleton to admire, but one that's sadly missing a supporting limb.
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  • Skip
    January 1, 1970
    The start of a new series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, starring Nora Kelly, the archaeologist who assisted Agent Pendergast in five novels. Nora is asked by historian Clive Benton to help search for a lost camp of the tragic Donner Party (a true story of murder, starvation, cannibalism, survival, and hidden treasure). Nora's boss and the Institute are interested in part because of sharing in the potential recovery of a fortune in gold coins. Meanwhile, Corrie Swanson, now a junior FBI a The start of a new series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, starring Nora Kelly, the archaeologist who assisted Agent Pendergast in five novels. Nora is asked by historian Clive Benton to help search for a lost camp of the tragic Donner Party (a true story of murder, starvation, cannibalism, survival, and hidden treasure). Nora's boss and the Institute are interested in part because of sharing in the potential recovery of a fortune in gold coins. Meanwhile, Corrie Swanson, now a junior FBI agent sponsored by Pendergast is investigating a murder/grave robbery on federal land, which she cleverly ties to several other desecrations/disappearances with the same last name. The stories become intertwined. For me, this lacked a compelling element, except for the last minute appearance of Pendergast, helping the two newbies discover the reason their dig and investigation were related.
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  • Autumn Is Azathoth
    January 1, 1970
    I read this in one day, totally enthralled. OLD BONES is the first in the new Nora Kelly series. Long-time fans of Preston and Child's Agent Pendergast Series will remember the feisty and strong-willed Nora as a museum curator and archaeologist. Now working in Santa Fe, Nora is approached by a historian who has discovered a long-lost diary by the wife of George Donner, of the tragic Donner Party. He persuades the Institute at which Nora is employed to search for the "Lost Camp," an offshoot of t I read this in one day, totally enthralled. OLD BONES is the first in the new Nora Kelly series. Long-time fans of Preston and Child's Agent Pendergast Series will remember the feisty and strong-willed Nora as a museum curator and archaeologist. Now working in Santa Fe, Nora is approached by a historian who has discovered a long-lost diary by the wife of George Donner, of the tragic Donner Party. He persuades the Institute at which Nora is employed to search for the "Lost Camp," an offshoot of the main Donner Party which became lost and snowbound in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.OLD BONES also stars Agent Pendergast's protege Corinne Swanson on her debut FBI investigation. Her clashes with the equally strong-willed Nora Kelly and the Institute"s Director, Dr. Jill Fugit, create a lot of fireworks. For history buffs, there's a plethora; and for thriller and mystery addicts, you'll stay riveted.
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child have begun a new series, an offshoot from their much-loved Pendergast books. Leading this new series in “Old Bones” is Nora Kelly formerly of New York City but relocated to Santa Fe after the death of her husband in a case outlined in an earlier Pendergast novel. She is working as a field archaeologist at the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute, a well respected member of her profession.She is approached by an historian with tangential links to the infamous Donn Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child have begun a new series, an offshoot from their much-loved Pendergast books. Leading this new series in “Old Bones” is Nora Kelly formerly of New York City but relocated to Santa Fe after the death of her husband in a case outlined in an earlier Pendergast novel. She is working as a field archaeologist at the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute, a well respected member of her profession.She is approached by an historian with tangential links to the infamous Donner Party, the group of families headed to California in 1846. They were trapped by blizzards in the high Sierras, blizzards which brought an estimated 26 feet of snow. The group also apparently became split with a small portion separated into what became known as the “Lost Camp.” This historian, one Clive Benton, has a lead on where that lost camp may be.In a separate story thread, we meet Corrie Swanson, now a fledgling FBI agent in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has also been seen in past Pendergast episodes, most memorably for me in “Still Life With Crows” where she was introduced. After that case, Pendergast took an interest in her future and now she has earned her badge. The story alternates between Nora and Corrie’s viewpoints, though Nora is the predominant narrator. I think I will avoid providing more plot other than to say there are exciting details of a dig (exciting to any wannabe archaeologists), there are missing people, horses, high mountain country scenery, and interesting details about the Donner Party I never knew before. And Nora and Corrie are definitely brought together by the events of this novel.I do recommend this book to Pendergast fans and others interested in mystery/thrillers. The setting is unusual. The history is interesting. The characters should keep you wanting to read more. I know I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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  • Juli
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a big fan of the Agent Pendergast novels by Lincoln & Child. The stories are always suspenseful and creepy-cool. That's why I jumped right on this first novel in a new spin-off series featuring Nora Kelly. Kelly appears in two prior Pendergast novels and as the main character in a prior stand alone novel, Thunderhead.The Basics: Kelly is an archaeologist and museum curator. She is approached by historian Dr. Clive Benton about a lost camp site of the Donner Party. Promising the chance to I'm a big fan of the Agent Pendergast novels by Lincoln & Child. The stories are always suspenseful and creepy-cool. That's why I jumped right on this first novel in a new spin-off series featuring Nora Kelly. Kelly appears in two prior Pendergast novels and as the main character in a prior stand alone novel, Thunderhead.The Basics: Kelly is an archaeologist and museum curator. She is approached by historian Dr. Clive Benton about a lost camp site of the Donner Party. Promising the chance to excavate previously undisturbed remains of the ill-fated party who descended into madness and cannibalism while trapped by heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Benton also pulls Kelly in with the possibility of a stash of gold coins hidden at the site. Meanwhile, new FBI agent Corrie Swanson (another character from previous Pendergast novels -- Still Life With Crows & White Fire) is investigating grave robberies, one disappearance and a murder that seem related to a member of the Donner Party. When members of the group excavating the lost camp start dying, Kelly and Swanson work together to solve the case.I loved this story! I liked Nora Kelly and Corrie Swanson when they appeared in the Pendergast series. Nice to see them getting a series of their own! Both are strong, intelligent women and they worked well together in this story. Pendergast does make an appearance at the end, but the investigation and action in this new novel is all Kelly & Swanson!It isn't necessary to have read the Pendergast novels before Old Bones. The story really doesn't refer much to prior cases or characters from the Pendergast books.The story would still be enjoyable even with no knowledge of Pendergast or the prior cases Kelly and Swanson helped investigate. This book can stand on its own just fine.Enjoyable read! I will definitely be reading more of this series! Happy to see two favorite characters from the Pendergast series get to branch out a bit on their own! **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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  • Shelley
    January 1, 1970
    *Source* Publisher*Genre* Mystery, Thrillers*Rating* 3.5*Thoughts*Old Bones marks the launch of a brand-new series from Preston & Child that will draw on the author's backgrounds in archaeology, American history, and Museum Studies like never before. While Old Bones will be the first official book of the Nora Kelly series, the first novel to actually feature Kelly as the main protagonist was 1999's Thunderhead. Dr. Nora Kelly is an archaeologist associate of Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast *Source* Publisher*Genre* Mystery, Thrillers*Rating* 3.5*Thoughts*Old Bones marks the launch of a brand-new series from Preston & Child that will draw on the author's backgrounds in archaeology, American history, and Museum Studies like never before. While Old Bones will be the first official book of the Nora Kelly series, the first novel to actually feature Kelly as the main protagonist was 1999's Thunderhead. Dr. Nora Kelly is an archaeologist associate of Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast. Her last appearance came in the novel called Cemetery Dance. Cemetery Dance was the ninth book in the Agent Pendergast series. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...
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  • OutlawPoet
    January 1, 1970
    Old Bones is delightful with a touch of frustrating. We’re going to talk frustrating first. The book is Pendergast-adjacent. It’s not a Pendergast book, though it features characters from his world. I won’t tell you if he ever does or doesn’t make a cameo in the book. I can just tell you that, if you’re a long time reader of the series, it kind of has the feel of an almost-Pendergast novel.That being said, though, it’s actually very good and I do hope that the authors keep up with the Pendergast Old Bones is delightful with a touch of frustrating. We’re going to talk frustrating first. The book is Pendergast-adjacent. It’s not a Pendergast book, though it features characters from his world. I won’t tell you if he ever does or doesn’t make a cameo in the book. I can just tell you that, if you’re a long time reader of the series, it kind of has the feel of an almost-Pendergast novel.That being said, though, it’s actually very good and I do hope that the authors keep up with the Pendergast-adjacent world. Once I got used to it, I did like it. I loved our two main characters (two of my favorite from the canon in any case), found the mystery intriguing, and loved the adventure of it.In the end, though I missed our tall, pale dude, I found myself fully on board and wanting another book.Here’s hoping there are many to come!*ARC via Net Galley
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  • KC
    January 1, 1970
    The Donner Party take center stage in the first in a new series by authors Douglas & Preston. Archaeologist Nora Kelly assembles a team to head out to the last campsite of the doomed historic Donner Party, but tensions mount when the others learn of the possibility of twenty million dollars in lost gold. Soon after they learn of this news, one of the horse wranglers ends up dead. Rookie FBI Agent Corrie Swanson, in the midst of her own unusual case, heads out to Dr. Kelly and the rest with h The Donner Party take center stage in the first in a new series by authors Douglas & Preston. Archaeologist Nora Kelly assembles a team to head out to the last campsite of the doomed historic Donner Party, but tensions mount when the others learn of the possibility of twenty million dollars in lost gold. Soon after they learn of this news, one of the horse wranglers ends up dead. Rookie FBI Agent Corrie Swanson, in the midst of her own unusual case, heads out to Dr. Kelly and the rest with hopes that these two cases are connected. This unlikely pair of women will most likely meet up again.
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  • Elaine Tomasso
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to thank Netgalley and Heads of Zeus for an advance copy of Old Bones, the first novel to feature Dr Nora Kelly of the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute.Nora is approached by Clive Benton with an interesting proposition. He has found Tamzene Donner’s diary which, in addition to listing the trials and starvation that led the group to cannibalism, identifies the location of the lost camp, a group of stragglers who got separated and set up their own camp, where such terrible events too I would like to thank Netgalley and Heads of Zeus for an advance copy of Old Bones, the first novel to feature Dr Nora Kelly of the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute.Nora is approached by Clive Benton with an interesting proposition. He has found Tamzene Donner’s diary which, in addition to listing the trials and starvation that led the group to cannibalism, identifies the location of the lost camp, a group of stragglers who got separated and set up their own camp, where such terrible events took place that there is no written record. In the meantime rookie FBI Agent Corrie Swanson has been given her first case, the murder of a grave robber.I thoroughly enjoyed Old Bones which is a compulsive read based on historical events. According to the authors there is no lost camp but the Donner cannibalism part is true and it’s gruesome enough to be fascinating and a great base for an adventure story. The novel is split into two main narratives, Corrie’s investigation and Nora’s excavation in the Sierra mountains, alternating between them. Both are interesting but I found Corrie’s story more compelling, possibly because there is more mystery attached to it or because she is the better drawn character. I’m not sure what to think of the solution - I’d never have guessed it in a million years so that’s good but it has conspiracy theory stamped all over it so it’s perhaps on the shady side of plausible. Whatever, the journey to it is absorbing, interesting and compelling.As I said Corrie Swanson is the best drawn character and she’s very likeable in her newness to the job, being both uncertain and feisty although not always at the right times. I can’t say I took fully to Nora Kelly although I recognised her from the few Agent Pendergast novels I have read. I don’t feel she was well developed as a character. I understand in a cameo appearance from the elusive Agent Pendergast that Corrie has also participated in his investigations (I obviously haven’t read those ones). I like the idea of a series which brings familiar, minor characters to the front.Old Bones is a good read which I have no hesitation in recommending.
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  • Audrey
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this book so much!!! The surprise ending had me squealing with excitement!!
  • Monnie
    January 1, 1970
    For a second or two, I considered giving this book - the start of a new series by the authors of one of my other favorite series - four stars with the expectation that the next one will be better. But then I remembered when, as a student, how much I hated teachers who refused to give papers an A because that "doesn't leave room for improvement" (fortunately, those nitwits were few and far between). So here's my take: No matter what comes next, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and give it top marks. For a second or two, I considered giving this book - the start of a new series by the authors of one of my other favorite series - four stars with the expectation that the next one will be better. But then I remembered when, as a student, how much I hated teachers who refused to give papers an A because that "doesn't leave room for improvement" (fortunately, those nitwits were few and far between). So here's my take: No matter what comes next, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and give it top marks.Featured here is Nora Kelly, an archeologist curator who works for a nonprofit institute and is working amid the remains of a former Pueblo Indian site. She's approached by Dr. Clive Benton (interestingly, in the official book description, the visit is by historian Guy Porter, so now I'm curious about the reason for the name change in the finished product). At any rate, he shares a story relating to the 1847 Donner Party, almost all of whom were lost to bad weather, murder and even cannibalism (and of which he claims to be a descendant). To entice the institute to fund an expedition, he dangles the real possibility of finding gold coins valued at about $20 million in today's market - a third of which would go to the institute.The lure of much-needed funding sways Nora's boss in Benton's favor, and off they go to the Sierra Nevadas - aided by a journal Benton found that supposedly was documented by another relative. Led to the wilderness by a team of local guides, it doesn't take long to unearth two of the Donner camps, but it is in the third - not yet found - that the gold is likely to be.As all this is taking place, newly minted FBI agent Corrine Swanson is earning her bones, so to speak, mostly with boring desk work. Corrie, some readers may recall, is a protoge of Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast - the main character in that favorite series of mine mentioned above. Then, she gets a case in which a very old grave is robbed of half its contents, after which the robber is unceremoniously murdered execution style. Because that happened on federal land, the feds are in charge - and the investigation puts Corrie in the general vicinity of Nora's excavations.Needless to say, the two professionals end up meeting - and bumping heads - as the two storylines begin to merge and Corrie begins to suspect a connection between her case and Nora's work. Also needless to say, danger follows close behind; more suspicious deaths (and near deaths) happen before the book ends with a flurry of excitement and an appearance by a very special person.All in all, very well done - and certainly an enticement to read about Nora's next adventure. I shall be eagerly waiting!
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  • Elvan
    January 1, 1970
    Donner Party madness and mayhem. (Sorry for those of you who read my predictive “Dinner Party” review. Ironic predictive text to be sure) This is my first book by this duo of prolific writers I’ve never heard of before. With no knowledge of Nora Kelly, Pendergast or Corrie Swanson I found the young FBI agent Swanson to be the highlight of the book. The earnest archaeologist Kelly knew her stuff as did the historian Clive Benton. Both filled the historical reference babble needed to flesh out thi Donner Party madness and mayhem. (Sorry for those of you who read my predictive “Dinner Party” review. Ironic predictive text to be sure) This is my first book by this duo of prolific writers I’ve never heard of before. With no knowledge of Nora Kelly, Pendergast or Corrie Swanson I found the young FBI agent Swanson to be the highlight of the book. The earnest archaeologist Kelly knew her stuff as did the historian Clive Benton. Both filled the historical reference babble needed to flesh out this murder mystery. The Sherlock Holmes wannabe, Pendergast makes an appearance in the final chapter and comes across as a pompous a$$, much like Holmes. A better than average read.
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  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    Another great book by the Preston & Child team. A bit like Thunderhead 2.0, with an archaeological dig lead by Nora Kelly that starts off well but eventually it all goes wrong. Definitely good enough for me to continue the series, but I wish it were a little less similar to Thunderhead.
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  • Onceinabluemoon
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 rounding up because I have always been fascinated with the donner party and enjoyed seeing it discussed again. I grew up at Tahoe and enjoyed the Sierra settings, the ending was a little surprising, certainly would have never thought of that! Good to see powerful females, be them good or bad!
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    I fun novel with clever links to the Pendergast universe. It stands up well on its own, but fans of the main long-running series will enjoy this all the more for its links common characters.
  • Shanna Davis
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely love Preston and Childs novels. Agent Aloysius Pendergast is second only to Hercule Poirot, in my opinion. Pendergast makes a cameo at the end of this novel, which focuses on two previous Preston and Childs characters: Nora Kelley, an archaeologist, and Corrie Swanson, a rookie FBI agent. Old Bones centers around an excavation of an ominous camp belonging to the infamous Donner Party. The novel begins with an attention-snaring opening scene, and increases in tension with hints of lo I absolutely love Preston and Childs novels. Agent Aloysius Pendergast is second only to Hercule Poirot, in my opinion. Pendergast makes a cameo at the end of this novel, which focuses on two previous Preston and Childs characters: Nora Kelley, an archaeologist, and Corrie Swanson, a rookie FBI agent. Old Bones centers around an excavation of an ominous camp belonging to the infamous Donner Party. The novel begins with an attention-snaring opening scene, and increases in tension with hints of lost gold, cursed land, and possible roaming, dismembered ghosts - incredibly atmospheric!Old Bones fell short for me in places, at least when compared to other Preston and Childs novels. The villains were rather obvious, and the promise of some nefarious, over-arching evil only developed in the very final chapters, and was both predictable and a little underwhleming. However, the appearance of Pendergast in the final chapter, with his usual wit, and uncanny ability to solve the most impossible of mysteries, ended the novel on a high note, for me. Old Bones does evoke a very creepy, skin-crawling atmosphere, and I was on edge more than once, reading it at night. It seems there will be more Kelley and Swanson pairings, in future novels, and I look forward to them.
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  • Patrick
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fast paced, throughly enjoyable read. For most of the novel, I could not figure who was committing the murders or digging up the graves. It seemed like a real mystery and there were almost no clues till the very end. The explanation when it finally came was a bit of a surprise, but maybe you'll pick up on it quicker than I did. And our friend Pendergast makes a cameo appearance in it. What more could you ask.
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  • Kay
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent mystery adventure. Great story and pace that would keep you flipping the pages. A must read!
  • Anima Miejska
    January 1, 1970
    Fast-paced, with interesting, familiar characters, especially the young FBI agent (what a change), I hope for next installment soon ;)
  • Gemima
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of Old Bones from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I have really enjoyed reading this book. It had me hooked from the first few pages. This is a great start to what I believe will be an amazing series. As soon as I started reading this story, it gripped me and pulled me in. The mystery surrounding the main characters did not let me put this book down. This book is about hard work, ambition, adventure and justice. I highly recommend you read this!
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  • Nan Williams
    January 1, 1970
    This is a spinoff from the popular Pendergast series. This introduction of a new series features Nora Kelly and Corrine Swanson both of whom we met several novels ago. Nora is now a world class archaeologist living and working in the southwest. Corrine (Corrie) has finished her FBI training and has been assigned to Albuquerque. We see Corrie tackle her first case which leads her to work with Nora, neither of whom knows the other’s connection to Pendergast.As always with the Preston & Child’s This is a spinoff from the popular Pendergast series. This introduction of a new series features Nora Kelly and Corrine Swanson both of whom we met several novels ago. Nora is now a world class archaeologist living and working in the southwest. Corrine (Corrie) has finished her FBI training and has been assigned to Albuquerque. We see Corrie tackle her first case which leads her to work with Nora, neither of whom knows the other’s connection to Pendergast.As always with the Preston & Child’s books, there is a lot of history to be gleaned and history to be researched more fully. That’s one of the things I really like about these very well written books – the fact that they make me delve more deeply into the history covered.Good plot although a bit implausible more often than not, good character development, good movement, good history. It is a most enjoyable read. I’ll look forward to more from these authors, as always and now more books featuring Nora and/or Corrie.I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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