Book Review: Cage of Bones by Tania Carver

17165067Title: Cage of Bones
Author: Tania Carver
Genre: Mystery, Crime & Suspense
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Goodreads, Amazon

Into the house. Down the stairs. Through the dripping dark of the cellar. Someone is there. Someone that shouldn’t be there. As a building awaits demolition, a horrifying discovery is made inside the basement: a cage made of human bones with a terrified, feral child lurking within.

Unbeknownst to Detective Inspector Phil Brennan and psychologist Marina Esposito, they have disturbed a killer who has been operating undetected for thirty years. A killer who wants that boy back. But the cage of bones is also a box of secrets secrets linking Brennan to the madman in their midst. With the death toll rising and the city reeling in terror, Brennan and Marina race to expose a predator more soullessly evil than any they’ve ever faced and one who is hiding in plain sight.

I was curious about Cage of Bones the minute I read the synopsis. I wish I could say I wasn’t a tad bit dissapointed by the book, but I am. From the synopsis, it had real potential to be something different. To stand out from the crowd. It fails to do so with your stereotypical, cardboard cut and paste police detective characters, from the uncannily correct profiler to the reluctant psychologist to the tragic hero to the villain. This is the third book in a series, but I only found out about that after reading. You definitely don’t need to read the first two parts to keep up with this one.

The story starts out with two construction workers finding a cage of bones in the basement of an old property they’re looking to sell. Inside the cage is a young boy. So far, the story was great. There was a lot of potential, it was dramatic and catching, but not in an over-the-top way. The level of writing and drama plummeted down quickly from there though.

Phil Brennan, detective, and his team aree called in to investigate. Phil’s partner, Marina, is called to the scene as well. Marina is a psychologist/profiler, and rather concerned about Phil because he starts acting stranger and stranger as the case progresses. For Phil, the cage brings forth more memories than he’s willing to acknowledge.

While the team works the case, it becomes obvious there’s more at stake than they think at first. This isn’t the first child kidnapped, and according to Marina, the boy would’ve been used in a sacrifice. A ritual sacrifice that happens four times a year. The killer’s motive is to make his garden grow, of which they’ve seen evidence in the house.

Like a serial killer case isn’t harsh enough, the case has strong links with a cult that operated in the sixties and terrorized the entire town when the leadership started behaving wrongly. Is the cult still active? If so, where are they hiding their members? Phil and his team must start a race against time – because the Gardener wants his newest sacrifice back within two days, and the cult will stop at nothing to make that happen.

I was a fan of Phil, although his personality was very familiar to me. Tormented hero, anyone? Anyway, I liked him because he didn’t care what others said or did, he went for it anyway. I wasn’t so enamored with Marina though. She was a bit superficial for me, not three-dimensional at all. The other members of the team were ‘meh’. They were just there, but never really grew a personality along the way, except maybe for Glass and Mickey.

The plot itself went in so many different directions that it grew confusing, while it was actually clear all along where it was headed. The moment they brought in old cults, I was ready to bolt. There wasn’t much left of supsense or characterization to keep me going anyway. Stubbornly I held on, because I wanted to know who the killer was. Predictable, again. Everything from chapter two and onwards felt predictable. There were no WTF-moments.

I mildly enjoyed this book, but for a crime mystery/suspense novel, I would’ve expected more plot twists, a less straightforward antagonist and less over-the-top, oh my god a cult is involved jibberish. Why is it all supsense novels and series as of late need to involve cults? Isn’t a serial killer enough? Anyway, predictable but enjoyable if you don’t have anything else on hand.

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