Title: Walking the Bones by Randall Silvis
Ryan DeMarco Mystery Series Book Two
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 464 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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.
In Walking the Bones by Randall Silvis, the discovery of the bones of seven murdered young women is a fascinating mystery that has been impossible to solve for the past few years. In this second installment in the Ryan DeMarco Mystery series, Ryan and his girlfriend (and fellow state trooper) Jayme Matson agree to give the case a second look during their stay in Aberdeen, KY.
Still haunted by the death of his baby son several years earlier and struggling to cope with the death of his close friend, Thomas Huston, Ryan is ready to retire from Pennsylvania State Troopers. Jayme and their boss know he will regret the decision, so they come up with a plan for Ryan to take some time off before his retirement becomes official. While traveling together in their recently purchased RV, Jayme receives word her beloved grandmother has passed away so the couple heads to Aberdeen for her funeral. Not long after their arrival, Dr. Hoyle, Rosemary Toomey and David Vicente appeal to DeMarco to investigate the still unsolved murders of the girls whose remains were found behind a false wall in a local church. Will Ryan and Jayme be able to uncover the identity of their killer?
Hoyle, Rosemary and David have worked hard to solve the murders but they have run into dead ends at every turn. Their main suspects are Eli Royce, Aaron Henry, Chad McGintey and Virgil Helm. Royce is the pastor of the church where they remains were discovered and he has since moved out of state and now leads a mega church that is quite prosperous. Aaron is a former teacher who is a convicted child molester. Chad is a white supremacist who was once employed as handyman at the church where the remains were found. Virgil also worked at the church and no one has seen him since he disappeared right before the bones were discovered. With high hopes that Ryan and Jayme can figure out which of the four is the young women’s killer, Holye, Rosemary and David turn all of their files over to the couple.
Although they have their doubts they can achieve what no other law enforcement agency has yet to accomplish, DeMarco and Matson methodically review the information and then proceed with their investigation. They re-interview Royce, McGintey and Henry and begin searching the still missing Helm. Their investigation yields a few new clues but will these discoveries be enough to unmask the killer? Can Ryan and Jayme track down Virgil? And if so, will he have new information that will help them crack the case?
Interspersed with the chapters detailing the investigation are flashbacks to Ryan’s childhood. These memories are quite informative and provide valuable insight into what shaped him into the man he is today. As he becomes more aware of how deeply the events of his childhood continue to affect him, he gradually realizes he is in danger of repeating the past. DeMarco also continues to wrestle with the longstanding guilt from his son’s death and by novel’s end, he is much closer to coming to terms with his loss. Ryan also begins to admit the depth of his emotions for Jayme but before their relationship can move forward, he must deal with his still unresolved marriage to his son’s mother, Laraine.
Despite the confusing weaving back and forth in time in the first several chapters, Walking the Bones is a fast-paced and compelling murder investigation. Jayme and Ryan are complex characters with realistic and easy to relate to strengths and weaknesses. Their investigation into who might have murdered the seven young women is interesting but readers will have to be patient as DeMarco and Matson meticulously unravel the threads of the perplexing case. Randall Silvis takes the story in a very unexpected direction and the truth about who killed the girls and how their remains ended up in the church is somewhat shocking. Old and new fans of the Ryan DeMarco Mystery series will enjoy this newest installment which features a very intrepid crime solving duo.