Michelle R. 's Reviews > Bone Yard

Bone Yard by Donna Ball
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's review
Jun 24, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: rar, short-story-or-novella, mystery
Read in May, 2011

(Originally published at Red Adept Reviews.)

Overall: 4 1/4 Stars

Plot/Storyline: 4 Stars

The story is firmly in the category of mystery cozy, meaning there’s a murder, but no overt violence and it’s meant to be a more of a simple who-dunnit/light read. I love dogs and so I occasionally like the subcategory of cozy featuring them – there might be more than you think.

Because I’m such a dog freak, my favorite part involved a subplot with Raine’s collie. For the rest of you, the non canine obsessed, the mystery was interesting enough and satisfying enough to keep me comfortably entertained. Nothing here will tax a reader’s brain and sometimes that’s the perfect read.

The resolution to the mystery was pretty straightforward and I imagine most readers will figure out at least a piece of it. The shorter the work, the less chance for false leads and red herrings, and that’s to be expected.

As mentioned in the description, this ties in with a book series by the author. I haven’t read the other books and still felt like I could follow along and like this stood alone. I think a reader could enjoy it as a quick one time read or the beginning of a new series to explore. My understanding is that other books in the series focus more on search and rescue. I think the writer had just the right amount of “sell” for her other books.

Characters: 4 1/4 stars

I liked Raine well enough, but Raine liked dogs, so that’s a no-brainer. Like Raine, I live in a small town and love dogs. I don’t think I’d be quite as calm of one of mine trotted up with a leg bone. Raine’s first interest and concern seemed to be how much this would hold up getting her kennel built, which I think would be on someone’s mind, but I’m not sure it would be the most pressing thought for a couple days. I laughed because the author actually had the character make a comment about 25% in about not really being as cavalier about it as she seems, which seems like a nice bit of awareness on the part of Raine and Raine’s Maker!

Presuming we can include dogs as characters – aren’t they all? – they were terrific. This isn’t the first mystery I’ve read with a dog trainer, and I find it funny how the heroine needs to seem good at what she does, but the plot often needs the dogs to break training.

Writing Style: 4 1/2 Stars

I keep on coming back to a word I’d already used: comfortable. I’d add to that the word “professional.” The writer did a solid job here and provided me with a good read.

Editing/Formatting: 4 stars

Overall, this was solid. The exception is a recurring spacing issue. Sometimes a space would be missing and sometimes there would be an extra space. The issue was particularly noticeable when periods and commas were in play. It was noticeable enough to be slightly distracting, but I don’t see it as being a deal-breaker for most readers.

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