When I received Christopher Valen’s Bone Shadows I was absolutely certain of one thing. I needed a long afternoon of peace and quiet in the house, and a large pot of tea brewed before I would even start on it. My previous experience with this author was such that I knew I would not want to be interrupted during my reading, and I was convinced I would read it without putting it down. It’s been slightly over a year since I read the third book in the John Santana series, Bad Weeds Never Die, and I have been rather impatiently waiting on the sequel…
Bone Shadows turned out to be another winner. I would be hard pressed to name another author who continues to impress me as much as Mr. Valen does, or one whom I enjoy equally as well. While I am not a big fan of violence in general, the intelligent manner in which Mr. Valen constructs his novels takes off the unpleasant edge of oftentimes quite graphic happenings. I loved learning yet more about John Santana, was quite pleased with the introduction of his new romantic interest, and, as usual, I found the characters truly well crafted, multi-dimensional and interesting.
Just like in the previous three novels by Mr. Valen I would have to say that the biggest draw was once again the incredible amount of relevant and contemporary issues the author so skillfully wove into his narrative. The case of an Iraq war veteran found drowned in the Mississippi river quickly turned from a likely accident to something much more sinister, and due to Santana’s methodical and dedicated work revealed itself to be much more sinister and incredibly more complex than a simple drowning of a young man suffering from PTSD. With a compelling and believable hero and a colorful cast of supporting characters, this turned out to be another superbly written tale of convoluted motives and surprising twists and turns.
I would highly recommend Christopher Valen’s Bone Shadows to anybody who enjoys a well written, contemporary story, and while it could be read on its own, I would also recommend that the potential reader starts this series from the beginning, since that would enable a much better understanding of the main character as well as some of the supporting ones who keep appearing in the stories.