Sunday, April 29, 2012

Skeleton Picnic (A.J.D. Books Mystery) by Michael Norman


 Synopsis :

Third generation Kanab, Utah residents, Rolly and Abigail Rogers, come from a long line of dedicated pot hunters who scour the desert southwest in search of valuable antiquities. When the couple fails to return from a weekend skeleton picnic, (pot hunting trip)along the desolate Arizona Strip, local Sheriff Charley Sutter turns to BLM Law Enforcement Ranger J.D. Books for help.

When Books searches the missing couple’s home for clues about their disappearance, he discovers the house has been burglarized and a valuable collection of ancient Anasazi and Fremont Indian antiquities stolen. Soon a search and rescue operation finds the Rogers’ truck and trailer at an abandoned campsite near an ancient Anasazi ruin that has been recently excavated. Footprints and other evidence lead Books to conclude that the couple may have been overpowered by a small group of unknown assailants.

 As Books close in on those responsible, Books’ own survival skills will be tested where the hunter becomes the hunted, and only one person gets to go home alive.

While this story managed to highlight the issue of pot hunting – illegal excavation of ancient Indian artifacts (jewelry, pottery, arrowheads, etc.), it failed to ignite my interest and curiosity on this issue.

The story is pretty boring from beginning to end and more like a narration rather than story telling. It lacked excitement and thrill and halfway through the book, I decided to ‘quick read’ it and am I glad I did so as the ending was as expected and pretty mellow as well.

The main character, J.D. Books is not an interesting character to me and other than the fact that he’s a coffee nazi who brews his coffee, there’s nothing about him that charms me, a reader.  The rest of the characters are equally one dimensional to me.

This is the second book under the J.D. Books series. The title of the first book was On Deadly Ground.  I don’t think I’ll be reading any of this series anytime soon.

Published by Poisoned Pen Press, Skeleton Picnic was released in April 2012.  I did this review for Netgalley.com.

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