Ryan DeMarco Mystery #2
By: Randall Silvis
Publication Date: 1/23/2018
My Rating: 5 Stars +
Blog Tour Jan 23
Top Books of 2018
When long-buried secrets come back to the surface...
The bones of seven young girls, picked clean and carefully preserved, discovered years ago... that's all Sergeant Ryan DeMarco knows about the unsolved crime he has unwittingly been roped into investigating during what is supposed to be a healing road trip with his new love, Jayme.
DeMarco is still reeling from the case that led to death of his best friend months ago and wants nothing more than to lay low. Unfortunately, the small southern town of Jayme's idyllic youth is not exactly a place that lets strangers go unnoticed―especially strangers who have a history of solving violent crimes. And if there's anything DeMarco knows, it's that a killer always leaves clues behind, just waiting for the right person to come along and put all the pieces together...
Walking the Bones is a story about things buried―memories, regrets, secrets, and bodies. Acclaimed author Randall Silvis delivers another heart-stopping investigation as DeMarco finds himself once again drawn into a case that will demand more of himself than he may be willing to give.
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Ryan DeMarco returns following Two Days Gone landing on my Top Books of 2017 with a gripping follow-up from the acclaimed author, Randall Silvis — WALKING THE BONES.
The continuation of Ryan DeMarco leads Marco and his partner to an unsolved murder case of seven African American girls who went missing from 1998 and 2004. A story of things buried―memories, regrets, secrets, and bodies.
Dark hidden secrets are unraveled and exposed in this gripping psychological suspense crime mystery thriller (procedural) with a strong literary twist. The shocking conclusion will leave you gasping, with thoughts of Vladimir Nabokov’s classic Lolita.
“The past is never past, she thought. Every second of their pasts lay gathered inside them. Every incident of their pasts had constructed their present, every cell interlocking, layer upon layer. The past is omnipresent."
Picking up from Two Days Gone, Sergeant (49 yrs. old) Ryan DeMarco of the Pennsylvania State Police is still suffering from the loss of his best friend, Thomas Hutson, his son, Ryan Jr. and the demise of his marriage. Guilt-ridden, he continues to wrestle with his demons spending time at the cemetery.
They were all gone. Only Jayme remained. He hopes he will not ruin her life.
Currently, he is dating Jayme Matson (fellow Trooper), and she is quite concerned about his well-being. She has convinced Ryan to take a medical leave of absence for three months rather than retire. She decides to join him. They rent an RV and hit the road to visit her sick grandmother in Kentucky, her hometown.
However, when they arrive, they become involved in a murder mystery. Seven young females reduced to bone. Seven skeletons found in a four by fourteen by ten-foot space between the walls of a local church.
Each of the girls — are between fifteen to nineteen years of age. All light-skinned African American girls. Not a single Caucasian. Each cocooned in a clear plastic sheeting and sealed with silver duct tape. Each meticulously, obsessively cleaned and stripped.
One per year from 1998 to 2004. A fetish for girls of color, or a hatred of them? Cause of death?
"Sometimes the bones talk, and sometimes they hoard their secrets."
Who was the killer? It had to be someone who knew about the false wall in the church and how to access it. A regular visitor, the pastor, or someone well-known in the community? Later the church was torched.
Flashing back and forth from Ryan’s childhood to the present –we learn more about his earlier childhood. The one which still haunts him.
Between Ryan’s internal struggle, his grief and guilt, emotions, insecurities, disturbing dreams, regrets, his troubled ex-wife Laraine, and his current relationship with Jayne – he has his hands full. The tensions and drama run high. Will he screw up his second chance at happiness?
“Unless you have chaos inside, you cannot give birth to a dancing star.”—Freidrich Nietzche
Neither Ryan nor Jayne knows where their relationship may be going, but they are along for the rocky ride. (Mixed with a few family members and locals). Plus we learn about both their pasts.
In the midst of their personal affairs, they are drawn into this old mystery.
From a senior amateur group of six concerned citizens (Da Vinci Cave Irregulars). Determined to solve this case and help in any way they can —to a registered pedophile, minister, Mennonite, a groundskeeper, a foreman, a tarot-car-reading librarian, a retired coroner, a reclusive chiropractor millionaire, among others.
They have folders for the players: Suspects: Chad McGintey (statutory rape), Lucas McGintey (drug possession), Aaron Henry (teacher), Virgil Helm (caretaker), Eli Royce (pastor & narcissist), and the victims.
Each of the victims had circumstances and were reported missing in the Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. The all were between five feet and five four. Petite. The cause, date, time, and place of death were undetermined. Runaways. Had their families given up on them long before their bones ended up in Aberdeen?
In addition to Ryan’s haunted past, afraid he was becoming his father—now the seven girls are starting to haunt him as well. Will the cemetery, a bear cage, or being trapped in the woods give him the answers they are desperately seeking?
"History never really says good-bye. History says, see you later.” — Eduardo Galeano
With rich, evocative language, a twisty plot, and well-developed characters, Silvis once again delivers an extraordinary piece of art. Not only is WALKING THE BONES a phenomenal suspense crime mystery, but it also possesses an intense character study. I loved Two Days Gone; however, the followup further delves into the heart and soul of DeMarco and his tormented childhood as well as adulthood.
Both parts of the story (Ryan’s) and the (murder mystery) are equally as gripping. The secret behind the girl’s death was unpredictable and a clever twist. Silvis lyrical prose is spellbinding. Beautifully written, and profoundly moving, an emotional and haunting meditation of acceptance, love, trust, and survival. (an intriguing character).
I enjoyed Jayme’s personality — a strong sassy and witty female counterpart to Ryan’s complicated, moody, emotional, deep, and grief-stricken side, at times. A delicate balance of humor. Enjoying Silvis’ writing and look forward to reading his backlist.
Highly Recommend both Two Days Gone and WALKING THE BONES. For fans of intelligent well-plotted literary mystery suspense thrillers. Looking forward to seeing what is coming next!
Also recommend Only the Rain. (2018)
A special thank you to Sourcebooks and #NetGalley for an early reading copy.
Jan Top Reads
"Silvis’s deeply satisfying sequel to 2017’s Two Days Gone finds Sgt. Ryan DeMarco of the Pennsylvania State Police reeling from events of the recent past: the death of his best friend in action, his baby son’s death, and the end of his marriage. On a visit to the hometown of his sweetheart, Trooper Jayne Matson, the pair are pulled by a trio of elderly vigilantes into an unofficial investigation into the deaths of seven young black women, whose skeletons were discovered behind a false wall in a local church several years earlier. Filled with the psychological language of memory and dreams, this solid procedural offers heart-pounding moments of suspense. Childhood history and relationship drama keep the lead’s personal life as interesting as the case he is chasing. Silvis smoothly blends moments of exquisite beauty into a sea of darker emotion to create a moving story heavy with the theme of the “past is never past.”” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A tour de force.” –Karen Dionne, international bestselling author of The Marsh King’s Daughter
Two Days Gone
Ryan DeMarco Mystery Series #1
Read My Review
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Top Books of 2017
A literary page-turner about a beloved college professor accused of murdering his entire family, and one small-town cop’s dangerous search for answers.
About the Author
”Randall Silvis is the internationally acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels, one story collection, and one book of narrative nonfiction. His essays, articles, poems, and short stories have appeared in various online and print magazines.
He lives in Pennsylvania and is the author of Two Days Gone. Read More