New York Times best-selling author Laurie R. King garners widespread acclaim for her suspenseful novels rich with historical detail. Set in the vibrant Paris Jazz Age, The Bones of Paris introduces private investigator Harris Stuyvesant, an American agent who's been given the plum assignment of locating beautiful young model Philippa Crosby. But when Philippa's trail ends at the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Montmartre, Stuyvesant discovers a world where art meets sexual depravity - and where a savage killer lurks in the shadows.
©2013 Laurie R. King (P)2013 Recorded Books
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"Brilliant evocation of Paris in 1929"
Laurie R. King makes 1920s Paris alive in this story of Harris Stuyvesant's search for young Pip Crosby. He follows Pip's trail through amusement parks, coffee shops, bookstores, an eccentric aristocratic mansion, a taxidermist's lab, and the gut-wrenching experience of the Theatre du Grand Guignol. Jefferson Mays's narration communicates the sounds, sights, and smells of a wide range of settings and characters. Mays gives voice to King's masterful storytelling. Dare we all hope that we'll hear and read more about Harris Stuyvesant? I do!
"Not even Jazz Age Paris could save the plot"
I love Paris. I love Paris in the 20's. I love the emerging modernists - Gertrude Stein, Hemmingway, and all of the other artists lurking the grotty streets after WWI. I love burly, noir protagonists.
This book had all of those virtues front-loaded into it, and it STILL was a complete chore to finish it.
Spoilerish-Alert: The plot - Girl disappears. Slouching, manly detective with pugilistic tendencies and a soft spot for pretty dames investigates. Girl is still missing, insert old flame with a fake HAND for cryin' out loud. Generate exactly NO sexual tension. Insert shell-shocked brother of old flame who has unexplained psychic abilities. Background for all of this is Dali, Man Ray, Hemmingway, and a creepy count all obsessed with death and making stuff out of bones. Have a few creepy but not very interesting nights at strange parties and boring gothic theatre experiences. Five minutes before end of book, prove that the character you suspected all along is a serial killer, but introduce completely tangential evidence and reasons that have almost no precedent.
By the end of the book, you're just begging for it to be over so you can go on to your next book.
Narrator does a good job with this endless story.
"I'm not sure..."
I have mixed feelings about this book. It is the first book in a new series for King. I can understand that she might be feeling burned out on Mary Russell and want a change. I just wasn't sure about this one.
First of all this story takes place in Paris, and I speak NO French. There was a lot of French conversation going on, and while King was generally good about going back and providing the translation, there was so much of it, I got impatient at times.
Second, the story was creepy. A lot of the creepiness was my own imagination kicking in, I admit. And I admit that it is an indicator of how good a writer King is that I could feel that creeped out on the basis of so few details. And I know that many people like creepiness. To let you gauge how timid I am when it comes to creepiness, I don't read Stephen King or Dean Koontz at all because I'm afraid of them. So you can judge this based on your personal Creepometer. If you read Stephen King or Dean Koontz, you shouldn't have any problem with this book. But if you are a solid yellow coward when it comes to creepiness, beware.
I like the main character (mostly). He is a manly man. I like his English friend and hope he will turn up in future books in the series. I like the way real people who were really in Paris at the time turn up in the story. (I really got a kick from the Hemingway references.) Ms. King always seems to do massive research about her locations and includes details that make a place and time come to life.
The plot was complex. There were several very viable candidates to choose from for the role of murderer, and I didn't figure out who it was until close to the end.
Bottom line: I WILL be getting the next book in this series. I recommend that you try it.
"Evocative of time and place"
This was a very good book. I've always liked Laurie R. King, and her 'Folly' was one of my favorites. Although very different from 'Folly', there are things in common. Both stories began somewhat slowly, and things would happen that didn't seem to have any bearing on the mystery, but that in the end, were huge pieces of the puzzle.
Paris, and the 1920s, are beautifully laid out. And having just returned from Paris, it was like greeting an old friend. King's descriptions are wonderful and really bring the listener into that time and place.
A wonderful book, with well drawn characters, a compelling mystery, and a real view into a place and time now gone into the fog of time.
Probably not for a long time. It was quite memorable.
Well written. Ms. King both writes elegantly and invariably delivers a riveting plot.
"Wonderful dive into the 20s"
This is a book on the darker side of Paris in the 20s. It explores the Noire artists, such as Dali a Man Ray. It's fascinating for it's insight into that part of the art form, and it's insiight to people recovering from ww1. It's a romp of a read. I would not suggest it to anyone with a weak stomach. It's not gratuitously graphic, but some of it is a bit rough.
"Paris in 1929 steals the story"
The book takes place in Paris 1929, a jazz age populated with American expatriates known as the lost generation. Laurie King does a good job capturing this era and the bohemian atmosphere as she explores the City of Lights. King excels in weaving real people into her mystery novels. Figures such as Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali and other are weaved into the story. P. I. Harris Stuyvesant searches for a 22 year old Boston woman. He has been hired by her family to locate her. King has us weaving our way into the shadowy corners of Paris in our hunt for the girl. King is great with her descriptions to the point it feels like I am in 1929 Paris. The plot keeps me interested by the description are the best part of the story. Jefferson Mays does a good job narrating the story.
"Slow Starting but Well Written and Interesting"
King has a way of pulling the reader into what is considered objectively, very improbable stories. This novel set in Paris in the late summer of 1929 is a slow starter. It's the second in the series which may have contributed to some problems orienting myself but I thought it did pretty well as a stand alone. It's just that there is a large cast of characters and introducing them all took quite a while.
A young woman has disappeared in Paris and her concerned mother and uncle have contacted Harris Stuyvesant, former G-Man and current Private Investigator, to attempt to find her. Harris begins his investigation with the disappeared woman's room then expands out to some of the luminaries (imaginary and real) of the right and left banks of the Seine.
King introduces the reader to the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol of Paris, which specialized in grisly horror shows and to the equally grisly cemeteries and catacombs of Paris as well. Harris acts like a rambunctious American male of the period. At times he sounds like some of the tough male characters from popular fiction of the era. King has softened him up a bit when it comes to race and women though so he's quite relatable for the modern reader.
The narrator, Jefferson May does a tough guy edge to his reading that is quite appealing. He also handles the French language bits with aplomb and assurance. I can't say how accurate he was but I believed he was speaking French.
"A book constructed almost entirely of cliches"
The protagonist, Harris Stuyvesant, seems to have been assembled from mid-twentieth-century detective novels. He speaks, thinks and acts in cliches. I am a fan of Laurie King's Kate Martinelli series, and enjoyed her writing there, but this book feels so uninspired, not created but assembled from older detective fiction. I didn't particularly like or care about Harris, particularly when he was, once again, punching someone's lights out or thinking (in cliches) about punching someone's lights out.
The setting of Paris in 1929 is certainly interesting, and is almost enough to hang the book on, but some of it felt forced (how many famous names can you throw into a book?), and it didn't overcome the triteness and predictability of the book.
Jefferson Mays does a good job with the narration, with decent voices for the women as well as the men.
"Starts Slow, but Freight Trains by the End"
I enjoy Laurie King and was surprised by the subject. The descriptions can get Dickensian and in my opinion the beginning bogs down in a lengthy set up of characters and milieu.
Unexpected twists and characters pop up and liven the narrative, so by the end it's quite enjoyable.
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