Excerpt from Valley of Bones by Michael Gruber, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Valley of Bones

A Novel

by Michael Gruber

Valley of Bones by Michael Gruber X
Valley of Bones by Michael Gruber
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2005, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2006, 432 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


It didn’t sound like prayer, not that Paz was particularly familiar with the sound. She seemed to be talking to someone conversationally, although he could not make out the words. It was much like the one-sided conversations one heard lately on the streets from the people with cell phones. Paz looked carefully: no cell phone. The woman was tall and thin and had the bony good looks of a country-and-western star, a little faded. A C & W singer who’d never really made it, or one that had made it and then got ruined by drink and/or shiftless men, living small in a Hialeah motel. A hard face, he might have said, the kind you saw in the tank when the cops had rounded up a bunch of whores, except that there was something transcendent in the expression on her face that didn’t go with the picture. She was dressed in a faded blue T-shirt, very loose and a little soiled, a calf length brown cotton skirt, and tire-tread sandals. Dusty feet. Her hair was crow black and cut into a boy’s cap from which small lobeless ears emerged, close to the head. No earrings. Her eyes, set deeply within a hedge of thick dark lashes, were (surprisingly, given her hair and complexion) the color of washed blue jeans, against which the pupils looked unusually small, like BBs. Drugged, maybe? That might explain that expression too. She wore neither makeup nor nail polish, and her skin was sallow in the way that indicates a deep tan faded. Against her neck, just above the fabric of her shirt, he could make out a thin leather cord, perhaps attached to some ornament she wore under the T-shirt.

"Excuse me," said Paz. To his surprise, the woman rolled her eyes back into her head so that only the whites showed and toppled gently over onto her side. Paz immediately knelt beside her and put his hand to her neck. Her skin was moist and felt unusually hot, but the pulse beating beneath it was strong and regular. A scent came off her, sweat and something gas-station-ish, like oil or gas, and a faint floral note. Paz had handled many floral arrangements in his time and recognized the odor: lilies.

The woman’s eyelids fluttered, her eyes opened, she jerked and looked surprised when she saw Paz staring down at her.

"What happened?" she asked. "Who’re you?" A rural-sounding voice. Hur yew.

"You were kneeling and then you kind of keeled over," Paz said. "I’m Detective Paz, Miami PD. Who are you?"

"Emmylou Dideroff. Is he here?" She sat up and looked around the room.

"He would be Mr. al-Muwalid, yes?"

"Uh-huh." She rose somewhat shakily to her feet, and Paz saw that she was tall indeed, somewhat taller than his own five ten.

"You ought to sit down," he said, "you look a little shaky." She did, on one of the silly uncomfortable-looking French chairs. "You’re from the police?" she asked…

From Valley of Bones by Michael Gruber. Copyright Michael Gruber 2005. Published by HarperCollins. Used by permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Perfectionists
    The Perfectionists
    by Simon Winchester
    We seek precision in our lives every day. We want to drive from home to work and work to home safely...
  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford
    Love and Other Consolation Prizes was read and reviewed by 22 BookBrowse members for First ...
  • Book Jacket: The Judge Hunter
    The Judge Hunter
    by Christopher Buckley
    In London 1664, Balthasar de St. Michel or "Balty" has no discernable skills besides pestering his ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Tabor
    by Cherise Wolas

    Wolas's gorgeously rendered sophomore novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Clock Dance
    by Anne Tyler

    A delightful novel of one woman's transformative journey, from the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.