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Valley of Bones (Jimmy Paz #2)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,051 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Critically acclaimed, bestselling author Michael Gruber's second novel to feature police detective Jimmy Paz is a chilling and remarkable work of intelligence and imagination. After a wealthy oilman plunges ten stories to his death from the balcony of a Miami hotel, Paz and the young cop who witnessed the fall discover a woman on her knees praying in the dead man's room. A ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2005)
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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
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
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
Julie Davis
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
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
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.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Autor ma nesklamal, naopak, kniha sa mi pacila viac, ako prva cast, Obratnik noci. Dej zacina hned zhurta, z hotela vyleti chlapik pred ocami policajta. V izbe najde zenu, ktora je v tranze. Je jasne, ze muza zabila ona /vsetky dokazy tomu nasvedcuju/, ale ako to byva, nic nie je take, ako sa zda na prvy pohlad.
Do detektiva Paza som za zalubila :slight_smile:. Konecne detektiv, ktory nie je alkoholik, nema dilemu v jeho sexualite a vie varit!!! :slight_smile: Je rodinne zalozeny, cti si svoju ma
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.
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, audiobooks, florida
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
Tracy 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
Liz Marshall
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible writing, each voice has its own unique flavor – hard to adequately describe the brilliance of this writing.

Detective Jimmy Paz, Cuban-American, catches the case of a Sudanese businessman who went out of a hotel window. He was murdered, but was it by the apparently looney-tunes religious nut who was found in his room? The open and shut case is far from clear, and Jimmy and his new partner, Tito Morales, with the help of psychologist Lorna Wise (they fall for each other, she is, of cour
Sep 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This second book by Gruber involving Detective Iago (Jimmy) Paz of the Miami Police Department is every bit as intricate as the first book, Tropic of Night. Gruber obviously enjoys research, especially gathering all sorts of information from a variety of arcane subjects, and weaving them into a narrative.

Where I found the the first book absolutely riveting in its blood-chilling and macabre details, Valley of Bones is considerably "tamer" and not a nail-biter. (Hence the fouir-star ratring rathe
Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Abby by: Sarah
It was such a heavy read. There were too many things going on, too many stories to follow: that of Emily/Emmylou's, Paz's, Wise's, the dead man's, Morales', Oliphant's, etc. There are only too much the mind could handle.

I didn't like the first few parts. The Christianity, coupled with mania and vision, is a huge dilemma, a heavy burden. Although, I have to admit, it did help me understand things. Somehow, there were lessons I found that, although I have encountered before, haven't fully underst
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Low on verisimilitude; high on character development and scope. From the deserts of South Sudan to a marijuana grotto in Appalachia to the condos of Miami a wild ride. Characters are not believable but I like them. Iago Paz, a HS-educated Cubano cop can cook, drop Wallace Stevens quotes, hold his own in Santeria rites and deal with really bad guys. Emmy Lou, brought up as trailer trash but steeped by adulthood in Simone Weil and St John of the Cross, can shoot down a Government of Sudan Antonov ...more
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Second book with Cuban-Miamian police detective and restaurant cook, Jimmy Paz, as the protagonist, this time with a witness and possible murderess named Emmylou Dideroff. A thinking person's mystery-thriller novel where this time religious nurses-without-borders meets international oil meets gunrunning survivalists meets crime fiction. Very gripping in the story's pacing and jumps in time and place using diary entries to give perspective of one of the two main characters and narrative for the s ...more
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I chose this book because it was available in MP3 format, which is compatible with listening on my new iphone. Also, the narrator, Nick Sullivan, is my new favorite male narrator.

The book is long, and the second in a series (I plan to read the first and third one). It's a good story, a little long in some parts, but in general I enjoyed it. The reading is one of the best I've experienced, and I listen to many audiobooks. He does an amazing job with male, female, and all the accents.

I would defin
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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
More about Michael Gruber...

Other Books in the Series

Jimmy Paz (3 books)
  • Tropic of Night (Jimmy Paz, #1)
  • Night of the Jaguar (Jimmy Paz, #3)
“Don’t you see you are a corpse too after what was done to you and the true life is waiting for you to pick it up.” 0 likes
“Amor fati. Love your fate. A friend of mine used to say that. The secret of happiness.” 0 likes
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