The Skeleton Garden is part of a series of mysteries, but I hadn’t read the other 3 books in the series before reading this one. It can be read as a stand alone book, but if you’re interested in trying out this author, I wouldn’t recommend starting with this book. This mystery was very slow moving. It was also pretty obvious to me what had happened way before the end “reveal.” I felt like I was waiting and waiting for something to happen and nothing happened until the end of the book.
There are other problems with this book. First, it could have been maybe 1/2 the length that it was. There was so much extra junk in the book that really didn’t add anything to the story. There isn’t even any mention of a body until around chapter 9 or 10 … and then it’s another 10 chapters or so before there’s some action. You could probably skip the first 15 chapters of this book and be just fine with understanding the plot line. The characters are boring. I found myself not liking Pru, the main character. Her brother, Simon, was supposed to be old, but he acted like a 12-year-old spoiled brat throughout the book until the end. I was hard pressed to find a character that I liked.
The characters were all pretty flat. They all acted basically the same. There are conflicts between the characters, but none of them had strong, distinguishing characteristics or personalities that made them stand out. The younger characters (Oliver and his sort-of girlfriend) didn’t talk like younger people. They way they were portrayed was what you would expect from an older person trying to pretend to be a younger person. They way they talked and acted were either ridiculously adult-like or stereotypically ridiculous. For instance, Oliver’s big claim to fame were his geeky abilities – hacking computers and being interested in some science fiction books. He’s young – he must be into computers and hacking! There was one line in the book where his girlfriend said something that made me roll my eyes – I can’t find the exact location now, but it was at the part where they’re talking about how her grandmother, Kitty, might have mistakenly thought that a duck or goose was a person. It wasn’t realistic at all. That’s probably my main complaint about this book. The characters just weren’t believable. Pru goes from being annoyed with Oliver because he keeps messing things up for her to wanting him around. There isn’t much of a transition in between. She suddenly decides that she likes him, even though she has to spend all of her time fixing everything that he does. Oliver, too, at first hates everything and then suddenly doesn’t want to leave. The problem is that not only did I find the characters flat and unbelievable and unlikeable, I didn’t dislike any of the characters much either. I simply didn’t care about any of them.
I can’t recommend this book.
I received a free e-copy of this book through NetGalley as part of #RHMysteryPack from Chatterbox by HouseParty.