Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bosnia's Million Bones






Jennings, Christian. Bosnia's Million Bones: Solving the World's Greatest Forensic Puzzle. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Journalist Christian Jennings has documented the Yugoslav War from 1991-1995 and the acts of genocide committed by Serbian leaders and their troops toward the conclusion of that war. They attempted to hide the bodies in mass graves, often burying individuals in more than one. A group of forensic scientists came up with a method using DNA testing to identify the bodies and get them back to their families for proper burial. They had a high degree of success which has since been used in disasters and other mass grave situations throughout the world, especially by the International Commission on Missing Persons which was established, in part, as a result of this Bosnian genocide. It's a very interesting story of how DNA is being used for identification on a wide-scale basis. This review is based on an advance reader's edition provided by the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program with the expectation that a review would be written.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Daughter of the God-King


Cleeland, Anne. Daughter of the God-King. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks Landmark, 2013.

Hattie Blackhouse has never been close to her parents. She receives word that they have disappeared from their excavation in Egypt. She needs to travel there to make estate arrangements and to try to locate her parents or their bodies. She is uncertain whom she can trust.  The timing of the novel is shortly after Napoleon has been exiled to Elba, and the novel's plot involves the governments of France, Britain, Egypt, and a few other countries. I believe that the author is trying to mimic prose of the regency era although she is not very successful in her efforts. It just kind of reads like a cheap imitation of it and does not flow well. The plot of the novel seems similar to something I read probably 30 years ago or more, although I can't put my finger on the novel or the author. It's not a bad read, but it's not a particularly good one either. This review is based on an advance galley received by the publisher through NetGalley for review purposes.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Winter Chill



Fluke, Joanne. Winter Chill. New York: Kensington, 2013.

Readers of Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swenson mysteries have come to expect a cozy atmosphere with lots of baked goodies sprinkled throughout the narrative. This work is completely different. The atmosphere is dark. Readers feel a combination of sympathy and outrage at the two main characters, the parents of a girl killed in a snowmobile accident. The father was actually paralyzed in that same accident. The mother has somewhat lost touch with reality, finding notes left for her by her deceased daughter. It's not long until there are more accidents in the small community. Are they accidents, or is there a serial killer on the loose? Readers who enjoy psychological suspense will love this book.  Although I won't give it away, the ending of this book was fitting. It reminded me of other works I'd read in the past, and I couldn't quite put my finger on it until I saw another review that likened the ending to an Alfred Hitchcock ending. That described it perfectly. Technically I received this book from NetGalley, but somehow the book was archived by the publisher between the time I hit the send to Kindle button and the next time I was connected to wifi and could receive it. I ended up waiting  until my library got a copy, and I used their copy.