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Dry Bones in the Valley: A Novel (The Henry…
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Dry Bones in the Valley: A Novel (The Henry Farrell Series) (original 2014; edition 2015)

by Tom Bouman (Author)

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1589108,621 (3.38)5
Member:Hardboiled
Title:Dry Bones in the Valley: A Novel (The Henry Farrell Series)
Authors:Tom Bouman (Author)
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2015), Edition: 1st, 284 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:jpr, 2018

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Dry Bones in the Valley: A Novel by Tom Bouman (2014)

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» See also 5 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Probably a 3.5
Folks who like CJ Box may enjoy this (better written than Box), or Nevada Barr....
I had an issue with one thing on the 4th page from the end.. won't spoil it, but I actually said Oh BULLSHIT! out loud, so glad I was at home.
I didn't label this as Police Procedural, as they really didn't follow such. I liked the main character, so may try more? ( )
  kmajort | Feb 9, 2018 |
I read a rave review in July 2017 of Tom Bouman's newly released "Fateful Mornings"(FM), his second Henry Farrell novel. I did a little research and found that the first one, "Dry Bones in the Valley"(DB),released about a year+ earlier, had received a number of prestigious awards. I decided to read DB though I wasn't overwhelmed by the plot summaries I found.

Henry is a cop in his 30s in a small Northeast Pennsylvania township that has seen better days, or not. This is Appalachia Mountain territory and most of the book's characters are scraping by. Some are on drugs and everybody has guns, lots of guns. When Henry calls on a few people "of interest" in the murder he is investigating, he invites himself in and details each weapon he finds - pistols, hunting sense of rifles, shotguns. Everybody hunts and knows more about hunting and animal behavior than Smokey the Bear. Because there's not a lot of money in the area, there's not a very big budget for local law enforcement, so things are not exactly up to date, e.g., police communications systems. Deep into the book, Henry sidetracks a minute from his crime solving and starts a fresh page with "Here's how you make squirrel pie"; it did not make my mouth water.

The story starts when an old coot, demented and alcoholic, reveals to Henry that he has found a body on his property, wedged in deep snow and rocks, an arm and eye missing, the eye recently consumed by one of the turkey vultures hovering nearby (this is the first of a number of grizzly, earthy scenes that lend an uncomfortable sense of well done you-are-there to the reader). Later that night Henry's only deputy is found shot dead near a burning heap in a junk yard. Henry calls for assistance from other jurisdictions and the investigation begins.

There are some rather interesting diversions as the story unfolds. There are huge pockets of natural gas throughout the area (Henry explains why) and companies are pressuring land owners to sell drilling and fracking rights, and suddenly we are learning all about fracking. Then there's the shootout. Then Henry reflects of his late wife, Polly - meeting her, falling in love, marriage, her cancer, her passing. There's also a bust in a drug camp, complete with rusted out old RVs, crazies, lab equipment, filth. Needless to say this is not your typical police procedural.

This is not an upbeat book, not a lot of laughs, jokes, smiles, but there is a pearl every so often. Henry tells the story of an elk which could no longer run, fight, mate. Henry shot it on the first day of hunting season to put it out of its misery. Henry observes: "With most human beings it's not so simple. We have to limp along no matter the wound."

I recommend this book, but oddly I am not sure if I will read FM. I don't know that it can tell me too much I don't already know about Henry and Wild Thyme Township and I'm not sure I want to go back. ( )
  maneekuhi | Aug 3, 2017 |
I know this was an Edgar Award winner for first novel, but I found it a bit disappointing. Nice depiction of the methland of rural NE Pennsylvania. Too much tramping about in the woods for me. I had trouble keeping the characters straight. The main plot had little to do with the many sub plots that I also had a hard time keeping straight. All that said, I would not write off Tom Bouman and would probably try another. ( )
  jwrudn | Mar 26, 2016 |
This is an Edgar Award finalist for best first mystery. The body of an unknown man is found on a reclusive man's (Aub) rural property. Shortly after this body is discovered a local law enforcement officer is killed. So, there are dual mysteries and we don't know whether or not they are interconnected. The land owner is taken to jail as the initial suspect. A small town policeman, Henry Farrell, is the point man in unraveling the murders. The novel has a very good surprise ending and I really enjoyed the book. ( )
  muddyboy | Jan 28, 2016 |
Based on the number of 5 star reviews I wonder if I read a different book, than everyone else? This book came highly recommended and even had an author blurb from Donald Ray Pollack whose books are fantastic. This for me was not a fantastic book. It was way too slow, and the story was not that interesting. I am getting tired of the character who is a lost soul who served in the military, and for one reason or another is a premature widower. I am also tired of authors with an axe to grind ( in this case against "fracking") trying to weave their beliefs into the story. In the case of Dry Bones in the Valley, the fracking issue ultimately has nothing to do with the story. Add to this a main character with little to no authority, as a like weekend police officer, who is and poorly, if at all developed, supporting characters, and you have a book that was an extremely slow read, and a 3 on a scale of 1-10 adventurous conclusion. This story just didn't offer anything for this reader to care about. ( )
  zmagic69 | Aug 11, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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The night before we found the body, I couldn't sleep.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393243028, Hardcover)

A stark, stirring debut mystery set in the hills of rural Pennsylvania.

When an elderly recluse discovers a corpse on his land, Officer Henry Farrell is drawn into his first murder investigation, a case he has little hope of closing. In Wild Thyme Township, secrets and feuds go back generations. Meth labs and heroin dealers are sprouting like mushrooms in the woods, and the steady encroachment of gas drilling has brought new wealth and discord. When danger strikes close to home, Henry’s hunt for the killer will open old wounds, dredge up ancient crimes, and lead to a final, deadly reckoning. As Daniel Woodrell did for the Ozarks and Dennis Lehane does for gritty South Boston, Tom Bouman immerses readers in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region now undergoing profound changes. Mystery readers will love fiddle-playing, deer-hunting Henry Farrell, a bashful local cop with a wry voice and hidden depths.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:03 -0400)

"The lone policeman in a small township on the sparse northern border [of Pennsylvania], Henry Farrell expected to spend his mornings hunting and fishing, his evenings playing old-time music. Instead, he has watched the steady encroachment of gas drilling bring new wealth and erode neighborly trust. The drug trade is pushing heroin into the territory. There are outlaws cooking meth in the woods, guys Henry grew up with. When a stranger turns up dead, Henrys search for the killer will open old wounds, dredge up ancient crimes, and exact a deadly price"--Dust jacket flap.… (more)

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