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Valley of Bones

(Jimmy Paz #2)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,188 ratings  ·  112 reviews
The setting is Miami. Rookie cop Tito Morales arrives at the Trianon hotel to investigate a routine disturbance call and, to his shock and horror, watches as a wealthy oil man plunges ten stories and impales himself on a nearby fence. Soon Morales is joined by detective Jimmy Paz, famous throughout the city for solving -- or at least providing a plausible solution to -- th ...more
Audio CD, Abridged, 6 pages
Published January 4th 2005 by HarperAudio (first published January 1st 2005)
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L. Legault No, it isn't. I don't think there is one that remotely resembles it, which is a pity.

Gruber has a very inventive imagination. …more
No, it isn't. I don't think there is one that remotely resembles it, which is a pity.

Gruber has a very inventive imagination. (less)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,188 ratings  ·  112 reviews

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Will Byrnes
This is another very interesting suspense novel, a worthy follow up to the excellent Tropic of Night. Jimmy Paz remains the central character, a Cuban-American Miami detective with connections to the Santaria community. An Arab is smacked on the head and thrown from a hotel room to his death. A young woman is found in the room in a state of shock. The story-telling is structured like a braid with the threads intertwining. Chapters alternate between the diary of the mad woman, the investigation b ...more
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is the second thriller involving Florida detective Jimmy Paz. A very good follow up to Gruber's amazing TROPIC OF NIGHT.
Jim Morris
I'm not going to summarize this book, but I am going to give it my highest recommendation. It is a great and engrossing read with some of the most powerful characterizations I have ever encountered. Sister Emmylou Dideroff is my new hero, one of the toughest characters in fiction. Any book that features an order of nuns nicknamed The Bloods, who have their own jump school will win my heart, and as far as I know this is the only one that has that. Take my word for it; this is a fabulous read. Do ...more
Gruber continues to delight me with his intelligence, depth of thought, and interesting characters. His thrillers jump out of their genre to stand as literary works of art. I've looked up several words (new to me, or forgotten) in each of his 3 books I've read so far. Not many authors build my vocabulary this way, and I appreciate it. Not to mention he keeps me turning the pages past the time I should be asleep.
If you're reading this review of the Jimmy Paz series than you've read them all. In my opinion this series is remarkable for its intelligence, its strong plot and, it's philosphical world view and psychological depth of characters. Mixing murder with ethnography and sorcery, Gruber brings us a fascinating tale of Jimmy Paz, a cuban-american detective who is about to have his world and beliefs shaken to the core.

We all have brains, we all possess varying degrees of intelligence, and we all are ph
Almir Olovcic
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that after first book about detective Jimmy Paz, Tropic of Night, Michael lost some of his grip and that is why I gave this one 4 star. Although it has some stunning parts and the basic idea is great, writer did not use full potential and developed story as I hoped at the beginning. For me it is a combination of love story, spy novel and The Librarian, with lots of references on philosophical and religious books written in the last few centuries. Any way, if you liked first novel, you wi ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, mystery
This is a book that will change you. Wonderful ideas - philosophical, ethnographical, spiritual, anthropological - will percolate in your consciousness for weeks. You will find yourself dreaming about becoming a fearless warrior, caring for the wounded of the world with grace and fearlessness. You will stop what you're doing to google the facts, to research what is real and what has been invented by this incredibly talented author. Above all you will aspire to live up to the example set by Siste ...more
Julie Davis
Scott Danielson and I discuss Valley of Bones in Episode 106 of A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast. (While fighting over Twinkies.)


I first read about it in the July 2005 Crisis magazine. They rarely reviewed fiction and this is a gritty mystery, so my interest was piqued. When the reviewer said it was a really Catholic book, but without the usual trappings found in a mystery I really perked up my ears.

In Miami, a man is hit on the head and thrown from a hotel balcony. When the ho
Rosina Lippi
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I reviewed Gruber’s Tropic of Night; Valley of Bones is a sequel of sorts. This one also has Iago (Jimmy) Paz as a detective working a murder, and the setting again is a very vibrant, very vivid Miami. Noisy, colorful, crowded, dreadfully poor and rundown on the one hand and polished like a gemstone on the other.

These are crime novels. A guy gets thrown off a hotel balcony, a woman is found in his room, her fingerprints on the object used to clonk the guy over the head. Her name is Emmylou Dider
Books like this are why it's called "genre writing." _Valley of Bones_ falls (not to say sinks) into the category of "beach reading" (provided it's a really nice beach and you're in an especially distracted mood) or what it's perhaps more accurate to call "potato chip reading": the pages go down like potato chips, but no individual chip requires your attention. There's only one reason to write like this: money. Before anyone gets his knickers in a wad, let's be clear: I'm very happy if writers m ...more
One of my favorites, a thriller, a mystery, a police procedural, a wonderful introduction to the culture and place of South Florida, plus a primer on the long running conflict in Sudan. Jimmy Paz is the protagonist in a series of three books by Gurber, but the other characters in each are super as well, just terrific. I have this book in hardbound, and in a Kindle version, and the Kindle version has a fascinating addendum that is the back story to sources for Michael Gruber's experiences that al ...more
Jun 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's the suspect who is most fascinating in this Jimmy Paz case. She's a hard, manipulative woman with an enigmatic and otherworldly quality about her that seems to unexpectedly infect those who come in contact with her, including Paz. She requests hardbound notebooks in which to write her lengthy and absorbing confession, which is integrated into the novel as the overall plot unfolds. As a result, the book entails three discrete interwoven sub-chronicles that gradually coalesce into an anomalou ...more
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really out there writer. I enjoy his books a lot -- recently I've read The Good Son, and before that another Jimmy Paz novel. Strange, strange combination of guns n' conspiracy, literary/historical smarts, cultural stuff (Cuban Miami), great characters (love Jimmy, Cletis, and Jimmy's mom), and...religious mysticism, with real devils, zombies, and spirit possession. Wacky, but fun and never boring. I also appreciated a writer who steadfastly refuses to split the infinitive.
Randy Attwood
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another fantastic Gruber read. His approach to fiction resonates with me. It's like I've found a kindred soul.
David Benefry
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Valley of Bones” by Michael Gruber – A Communion for Murderers

Michael Gruber Resumes the Story

The book opens on a crime which itself wasn't exactly remarkable for the most part. A rookie cop, Tito Morales, responds to a regular disturbance call, thinking nothing of it. After he witnesses the businessman plunging to his death, he goes on to examine his room and is joined by detective Paz just in time. Inside, they find a rather peculiar woman who seems to be stuck in some sort of delirious tranc
Kristen U
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a interesting book that I happened upon while in a open sew session. I really enjoyed the portion that discussed Saints and the amazing order of nuns. There were lots of characters and I enjoyed getting to know their back stories. They were all interesting some more complicated then others. Some of their stories were just tragic.

Yes, I would recommend a friend but I would warn that it is a little lengthy but if you stick with it the author wraps everything up nicely by the end. My next d
Judith Shadford
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
review writing limited for a time due to uncooperative fingers. But this was an amazing novel. Gruber is able to construct multiple plotlines and seamlessly weave them together that the interruption isn't a signal to switch to the next section, but to read consecutively, accepting his construct. And Jimmy Paz maintains his identity without undue repetitions from #1, taking the world of spirit--voodoo, santeria, a Catholic nun against all odds--and without easy answers or hardly any, opens doors ...more
Tony Kocurko
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great ride of a novel. Nicely, at the end of the day, everything that happened and that some characters attributed to the supernatural divine **could** be explained by natural causes. Nice.

By the way, I stumbled on this book via a visit to and its suggestion of Michael Gruber based on my three favourite authors _ John le Carre, Joseph Conrad and Mary Doria Russell. Go figger, eh?
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another enjoyable read from Michael Gruber. Still playing with my head with his psychological convolutions. I felt this was not as tight as some of his other works. The sisterhood of blood of Christ was an interesting construct, but the Sudanese saga bogged down the story.
I will continue to read Grubera work
Deb W
Jun 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: left-unfinished
Peverted and snarky. I've not read this author before, and after listening for the last two hours I won't be looking for him again. This author seems so taken with himself that this reader visualizes him smirking as he writes. He's mistaken. He's not that good.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just as good as book one of this series. Seriously.
Tom Hailand
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good stuff, thanks.

Thank God for atheists! I mean, Jesus Christos what a lovely story FULL of all kind of interesting thought provoking thoughts.
Donna Hulsey
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first time with this author. I really liked this book set in Miami, involving murder, oil conspiracies, survivalists, religious mania and child abuse, sex.
This is a series I really like! The second of the Jimmy Paz series (is it really a trilogy, or just a three-book (to date) series? I don't know yet) is considerably lighter in tone than the previous "Tropic of Night" but in its own way just as good. The book begins with what appears to be a clear case of murder with the killer at the scene. But the woman accused, a strange religiously zealous woman named Emmylou Dideroff, is a woman with a complicated past and it becomes clear very soon that she ...more
Linda  Branham Greenwell
Not sure exactly what kind of book. Yes, a mystery, but also visions, saints, demons and voodoo... and the politics of oil

The mystery begins with officer Morales responding to a disturbance call from a hotel. where he becomes a witness to a possible suicide. He investigates the victims room and there he finds Emmylou Dideroff huddled in a corner of the room muttering prayers.

Detective Jimmy Paz enters the crime scene and figures Emmylou is the killer and thinks she might be going for a crazy pl
Felicity Terry
The second in a series of books, I have to say that, apart from the occasional reference to the first book, this read perfectly well as a standalone novel.

Alternating between the story of the crime of which Emmylou Dideroff is accused (IE the killing of Sudanese oil baron Jabir Akran al-Muwalid) , her written notebook 'confessions' and a history of the fictional order known as the Nursing Sister's of the Blood of Christ, it is my opinion that it is only the story of Emmylou's crime that is is an
Jonah Gibson
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I've read Tropic of Night, Gruber's first novel featuring Miami Detective Jimmy Paz, and also The Book of Air and Shadows, which is quite different. I expected to be transported by Valley of Bones, and I was not disappointed. Gruber weaves multiple narrative threads into a taught braided arc chock full of wonderful notions and interesting characters. Here he gives us the continuing saga of Jimmy Paz, Cuban American autodidact smart enough to hold his own with his new PhD squee ...more
May 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
July 2013
My annual Gruber festival is usually in February, but this year I read them in a different order, in different months. My opinion doesn't change - still good. I like very much the idea that there is value in everything, every experience - even the painful ones because, perhaps, the most change occurs with pain. I paid more attention to the politics this time - distressing because its so very likely to be true.

May 2009
Another re-read, another book purchase. Not as good as Tropic, but go
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED "Tropic of Night," the first Jimmy Paz novel. I stayed up all night reading it. So I came to "Valley of Bones" with high expectations, excited to read more about Paz and Gruber's artfully-depicted Miami. But "Valley of Bones" was a big disappointment to me.

First of all, it was something of a let down. The stakes in "Tropic of Night" were so high! And even though much of it was back-story, there was such immediacy in the book's events that you really felt like you were on a rollercoaster.
Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this interesting police thriller set in Miami - the immigrant areas, not the celebrity enclaves. A believable unbelievable plot using Gruber's now familiar style of three stories simultaneously. I was not so keen on the voodoo aspects of the back story, but I guess it is authentic for some sections of the Cuban migrant population. It was the second in a series (currently three) featuring the character Jimmy Paz. I prefer to read books in the sequence they were written, but have not bee ...more
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Michael Gruber is an author living in Seattle, Washington. He attended Columbia University and received his Ph.D. in biology from the University of Miami. He worked as a cook, a marine biologist, a speech writer, a policy advisor for the Jimmy Carter White House, and a bureaucrat for the EPA before becoming a novelist.

He is generally acknowledged to be the ghostwriter of the popular Robert K. Tane

Other books in the series

Jimmy Paz (3 books)
  • Tropic of Night (Jimmy Paz, #1)
  • Night of the Jaguar (Jimmy Paz, #3)

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