Thursday Book Reviews

Chest of Bone by Vicki Stiefel


Genre: Murder Mystery, Thriller, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release:  February 14, 2017
Pages: 347 pages
Format: ePub
Where to Buy:  Amazon USAmazon CANBook Depository
Other links: Good ReadsCuriosity Quills Press

13.25 Stars


As magical and mundane worlds entwine, empath and unawakened Mage Clea Reese must team up with the secretive James Larrimer to hunt her mentor’s killer and stop the forces of corruption from obtaining the Chest of Bone, the ultimate source of otherworldly power.

Larrimer is a predator who stalks endangered-animal traders. Or so it appears. And none are prepared for the fusion of Clea’s and Larrimer’s song, a wild resonance which can bind one to the other.

Powerful forces align against them, and only Clea, the singular Key, and Larrimer stand between these malignant entities and their ruthless quest.


I received this eBook from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I wanted to enjoy this book so much. It sounded so interesting from the synopsis. But it was really tough to get into.
The writing style, alone, makes it difficult. It is an unusual style. It kind of broke up the fluidity of the story and it made getting to know the characters much more difficult.
There are other issues as well, like everything in the story is thrown at you. All at once, too.
I did receive it as an ARC, however, there were so many errors in this book. I really hope the finished piece is much more polished.

The novel actually starts out more in the Murdery Mystery and Thriller genre, where we’re introduced to Clea Reese and her significant loss of a mentor. Clea is a tough bird, and works for the FBI as an interrogator. She had some interesting tricks to get criminals to talk. I enjoyed the uniqueness of that.
But that fantasy element was missing for a long time and it didn’t really make a major appearance until the middle of the book when Clea begins to explore her mentor’s death with her partner James Larrimer.

Even without the romance, this novel would have done well. But I understood where the author was going. It was part of Clea finding her magic, connecting to someone like Larrimer.

I did, in the end, find that I did have a favourite character which was Bernadette. She was Clea’s rock. A mixture of the perfect grandmother and no-nonsense ass kicking warrior. I loved when she would bring out her gun and tell everyone it was her duty.

The novel actually touches on several genre’s, which can make it very confusing. It was hard to tell where the author was trying to take this.
Another issue was there was a lot of details that were left out which made a lot of the decisions in the book very disjointed. But there was also a surplus of details that involved a back story that the reader doesn’t ever really learn of. Again, this adds to the lack of flow and disjointed feel of the book.

Which is entirely too bad because it was a great story idea. Despite the issues, I did enjoy it. I enjoy the odd murder mystery and the fantasy element added a new depth to the story. It just would have done better with some polishing and more flow to the story.


My new paranormal romantic suspense series, The Afterworld Chronicles, launches with Chest of Bone, (February 2017 Curiosity Quills Press). My mystery/thrillers—Body Parts, The Dead Stone, The Bone Man, and The Grief Shop, a Daphne du Maurier winner—feature homicide counselor Tally Whyte and are soon to be ebooks. I co-wrote (with Lisa Souza) 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters. My late husband, William G. Tapply, and I ran The Writers Studio workshops.

I grew up in professional theater—the Ivoryton Playhouse—and planned to become an actress. Instead, I’ve slung hamburgers, managed a scuba shop, and am a professor. I’m a mom to two humans and a furry pack. My passion for scuba diving, fly fishing and knitting pop up in my novels. As do vinho verde and bourbon (not together!) and Maine lobster and chocolate (also not together!). I sing musical comedy scores in the shower, unfortunately not an Equity venue, write daily and teach fiction and modern media writing at Clark University. I’m currently pounding the keys on the series’ second novel, Chest of Stone.


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