Book Review: River Bones by Mary Deal

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Author Mary Deal is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. River Bones is the third book I’ve read of hers, and it proves why she’s such a reachable and readable writer. As the first book in her Sara Mason series, River Bones is a fantastic debut offering strong characters, dastardly plots, beautiful scenery, and tangible imagery.


Somewhere between a thriller and a classic murder mystery, it offers all the suspenseful and horrible actions of a twisted serial killer without a focus on detailed gore. There’s a fine balance in her words conjuring up just enough gruesome thoughts without actually reading about all the blood and torture. Don’t get me wrong… I love a good horror thriller, but if you’re looking for something in between, this is a great option.

Sara’s come home for the first time in about 25 years. Her family was killed in an awful car accident / drowning when she was a young girl. Raised by a distant relative or sorts, she stuck around long enough to grow up but then left the country. She’s called back for a few reasons and buys a large Victorian supposedly haunted. She meets a previous owner, connects with former classmates and begins to re-build a life. Then she starts finding the bodies. Each one is buried with a pet. What’s the significance? A serial killer’s past life seems to come spiraling back to town, but they’re all old murders. Until a new one occurs. Why? What has Sara unearthed and why is she his/her next victim?

What I like most about Deal’s work is how easy-to-read yet complex her novels are. The language and writing style is perfect, not simple but not overly flowery or excessive. She describes the scenes and characters with out to give you a good image, then moves on. Sometimes you learn about the town or the person’s past even though it’s not part of the actual mystery, but it adds to the creation of ambiance and setting without misguiding or boring you. It’s always a wonderful balance of drama and good story, dialog and narration, history and thought.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this novel was the character struck by lightning. He died for a minute but came back to life years ago. Something’s just still a little off with him. Enough to be the killer or a shining knight? I definitely recommend picking up any of the books I’ve read Deal has written, but I’ll be tackling a few more in the next couple of months, too. She’s been a great find and I look forward to hearing all about her next novel.


About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.


17 thoughts on “Book Review: River Bones by Mary Deal

    shalini said:
    September 4, 2018 at 9:30 PM

    Man, you are rocking the reviews and knocking them out of the park!!!
    Hahaha did you see what I did here??!!
    Yp you can say I am awesome, go ahead I am waiting

    Liked by 1 person

    lauriewoodwardauthor said:
    September 4, 2018 at 9:57 PM

    Great review. I loved how you categorized her novel as somewhere between…

    Liked by 1 person

    tylerus said:
    September 5, 2018 at 7:36 AM

    You certainly have me intrigued! Onto the list it goes!

    Liked by 1 person

    Beware Of The Reader said:
    September 5, 2018 at 3:02 PM

    Well yes I would not buy it either: being struck by lightning, dying just to resuscitate years ago….Anyway great review and you really are on a “Halloween/thrill/spooky” read trend jay 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    carhicks said:
    September 5, 2018 at 3:06 PM

    I am not familiar with Mary Deal, but your review has made me want to check out her books. This one sounds like one I would like. I do like a book that gives me good descriptions, but does not get bogged down with flowery language.

    Liked by 1 person

    Darque Dreamer Reads said:
    September 7, 2018 at 5:48 PM

    I may have to look this one up! Nice review! That cover is creepy! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Rae Longest said:
    September 7, 2018 at 6:40 PM

    This sure is an interesting author. THANKS!

    Liked by 1 person

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