(Image from Barnes & Noble)
(Note: Although this review will not contain spoilers for The Janus Stone, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, The Crossing Places. As always, I recommend reading series in order.)
Fresh from helping police find a kidnapped child—and narrowly escaping with her life—forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway isn't expecting to be thrown into another case quite so soon. But, when a construction crew discovers bones beneath an old mansion they're tearing down, she's called in to help. Because the remains are those of a child with a missing head, Ruth suspects the bones may be of ancient Roman origin. She's wrong. The victim died much more recently, which leads Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson to wonder if he/she could be one of the kids who went missing years ago when the mansion was used as a Catholic orphanage.
Ruth is eager to help Nelson, who's become a little more than a friend, figure out what happened to the child. The fact that she's pregnant doesn't slow her down. Eerie happenings at the construction site, however, give her pause. Is her spooked imagination working overtime? Or is someone trying to warn her away from the investigation? To what lengths might that someone go to stop her from finding the truth?
The Janus Stone, which takes place a few months after The Crossing Places, brings back many of the delightful characters from the first book in Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway series. My favorite is Ruth. I love that her character is ordinary and understated, but never dull. Besides her newest mystery, she's got plenty going on in her life, which makes The Janus Stone an engaging and compelling read. My only complaint with the novel is that it lacks the vivid, atmospheric setting that made the first book so memorable. Because of that, I liked The Crossing Places better. Still, I'm continuing to enjoy this series with its exciting puzzles, enjoyable characters, and twisty plotlines.
(Readalikes: Reminds me of other books in the Ruth Galloway series [The Crossing Places; The House at Sea's End; A Roomful of Bones; A Dying Fall; The Outcast Dead; and The Ghost Fields)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language (a few F-bombs, plus milder invectives), blood/gore, violence, and references to sex
To the FTC, with love: Another library