Cover image for Bones : an Irene Kelly mystery
Bones : an Irene Kelly mystery
Burke, Jan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, 1999.
Physical Description:
378 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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For Four Long Years, No One Has Known What Became of Julia Sayre On the morning after this mother of two disappeared, her family sought the help of reporter Irene Kelly. But despite Irene's best efforts, until now only one person has known where to find Sayre: her killer. Nick Parrish, brilliant and sadistic, already faces the death penalty in a torture-murder case. Now he wants to cop a plea -- life imprisonment in exchange for directing police to the isolated mountain grave where he buried Julia Sayre. The D.A. agrees to the controversial deal, and form a specialized team of law enforcement and forensic experts to accompany Parrish on his grisly journey. When the Sayres and the newspaper pressure the D.A. to include Irene on the expedition, their wishes are honored over the protests of the team. From the start, Parrish makes Irene the object of his unnerving attention. His knowing smile and relentless stares make her wonder if heavy chains, armed guards, and a protective search dog will be enough to keep him at bay. But Nick Parrish's deadly plan to regain his freedom is already in motion, and Irene will need all her courage and ingenuity to remain the reporter -- not the victim -- in tomorrow's headlines.

Author Notes

Jan Burke, an award-winning mystery writer, holds the distinction of being the first woman novelist to win the Ellery Queen Mystery Readers' Award. She was also awarded an Edgar for her Novel, Bones. Her popular mystery series features the newspaper writer Irene Kelly, who lives and works in Southern California.

Burke was born in Texas. With her family she moved to Southern California when she was a young girl. She attended California State University, Long Beach, earning a degree in history. After graduating, she worked for several years as a manager of a manufacturing plant. Her first novel, Goodnight Irene, was written during those years. Goodnight Irene was well received and the Irene Kelly series has grown in popularity with each subsequent novel. Other notable works from the series are Dear Irene and Hocus.

Her works include Bloodlines, Kidnapped, The Messenger, and Disturbance.

(Bowker Author Biography) Jan Burke has won the Edgar Award, the Macavity Award & the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Award. She lives in Southern California.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Hannibal Lechter clone Nick Parrish is the hideous "star" of Burke's latest Irene Kelly mystery. Parrish, arrested for the torture-murder of Julia Sayre, promises to show the cops where he's buried Julia's body in the mountains above Las Piernas. Journalist Kelly has followed the Sayre case since it began, and the police grudgingly allow her to come along on the gruesome trip to Julia's grave. True to his word, Parrish leads the group to the decomposing body, then offers to show them the graves of other victims he claims he's killed. But Parrish has booby-trapped the graves, and once the bomb goes off, he escapes in the ensuing confusion. A heart-stopping chase through the mountains, with Irene as Parrish's intended victim, would provide a fitting climax for the story, but Burke has more suspense in store. Irene is rescued, but Parrish is still loose, and over the following months, he stalks Irene relentlessly. Gruesome "gifts" and a campaign of physical and psychological terror would turn most folks into basket cases, but Parrish's tricks only make Irene more determined to track him down. Burke's latest is very impressive--deviously plotted, cleverly crafted, full of screw-tightening suspense. This may be the book to take Burke to the top tier of literary and popular success in the genre. --Emily Melton

Publisher's Weekly Review

In her seventh outing (after Liar, 1998), journalist Irene Kelly is part of the investigative team on the hunt for serial killer Nicholas Parrish's many victims. Their graves are in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, and Parrish, having entered a plea bargain, is there too, leading the team to the women's corpses in exchange for a life sentence instead of the death penalty. But Parrish has planned a surprise or two. When a grave explodes, most of the team are killed, Irene flees, and the killer escapes. Back home, Irene continues to work at the behest of Gillian Sayre, the daughter of one victim. Her hunt for Parrish is made considerably easier by his growing obsession with her. A cunning psychopath with a calm demeanor, Parrish heavily resembles Hannibal Lecter. Rather than eat his victims, however, he tortures and dismembers them. Burke spends the first third of the novel overbuilding Parrish's reputation, so by the time she actually depicts his depravity the horrors are a bit anticlimatic. Later, the killer's mysterious accomplice, "The Moth," will be too easily identified by readers, especially after Burke unsuccessfully labors to mask his/her gender. And Parrish is only generically, not memorably twisted. Though Irene and other characters are well wrought and realistic, too many red herrings are introduced, all meant to distract the reader from the true evil, which, once fully revealed, just isn't quite evil enough. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In order to escape the death penalty, a serial killer agrees to show authorities the grave of one of his victims in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Leaving a fretful detective husband behind, inveterate reporter Irene Kelly follows the taunting psychopathic killer, his guards, guides, two forensic anthropologists, a photographer, and one amazing canine into the wilderness. A traumatic reversal, however, turns the already risky journey into a lethal game of the hunter and the hunted. Detailed surroundings, chilling prose, and an unforgettable, "isolated-with-a-killer" plot recommend this for all collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.