Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Brooklyn Bones by Triss Stein

Triss Stein launches what promises to be a terrific new mystery series with Brooklyn Bones. It's a riveting page-turner set in Brooklyn with an interesting amateur sleuth. Erica Donato is a widow, a mother of a teenager, and a historian. The historian role means there will be fascinating stories about Brooklyn. Make no mistake about it, though. Erica's most important role is mother.

So, when Erica's sobbing daughter, Chris, calls her at work, she drops everything and rushes home. The girl, with the rapidly changing moods of a fifteen-year-old, blames her mother for making her work with the contractor renovating their house. When Chris took a sledgehammer to a wall, she found bones behind the wall. After her crying jag ends, she urges her mother to find the girl's identity. With her specialization in Brooklyn history, Erica should be able to find the story behind her own house.When a close friend points out how dangerous the search could be, Erica packs her daughter off to camp, thinking she can dig into the research with her gone. But one more death proves how deadly research can be.

It's not always easy to accept the role of an amateur sleuth. But, Erica Donato is a historian, curious about a death in the 1970s in her own house. As a mother, it bothered her that the corpse was that of a teenage girl. Was someone still looking for their missing daughter all these years later, or was there anyone left to look? "What was she doing in my house that caused her death?"

Despite her fears, Erica gathers her resources, and sets out to find answers, working with a reporter who remembered the neighborhood in the '70s as he covered stories of slum landlords and development. And, somehow the story seems to be coming around again, as she takes a job researching neighborhoods for a secret developer. Even as friends and strangers urge her to quit, warning her of danger, Erica Donato searches for answers. "I was a historian, living in a house with some real history. I couldn't be expected to walk away from that."

And, she's a mother. As Chris urges her mother to find answers for the dead girl, it's obvious the two share a stubborn determination. And, both of them will need it as the book comes to a nerve-wracking climax.

Triss Stein's mystery is filled with tension as her amateur sleuth uses her skills and knowledge to dig for answers. There's a fascinating cast of characters, with interesting links to the past. Stein makes no secret of the ups-and-downs in family relationships, and she hints at future relationships for Erica. Brooklyn Bones is a compelling story, a strong beginning to a series with potential for fascinating stories of Brooklyn, as a historian uncovers mysteries of its past.

Triss Stein's website is

Brooklyn Bones by Triss Stein. Poisoned Pen Press. 2013. ISBN 9781464201202 (hardcover). 270p. (Also available as trade paperback and large type.)

FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Karen C said...

This sounds really good. I have a good friend who lives in Brooklyn; I'll have to read it and then send to her.

Lesa said...

I hope both of you enjoy it, Karen!

Mark Baker said...

This sounds interesting. Definitely going on my wish list.

Lesa said...

Hope you enjoy it, Mark!