Book Review: The Secrets of Bones
What could go wrong?
It’s career day in Cleveland, Ohio, at St. Catherine’s All-Girls School, and Jazz Ramsey – the school’s administrative assistant and professional corpse dog trainer – was volunteered by her boss to demonstrate how corpse dogs work. Jazz borrows Gus, a friend’s trained dog, and then hides the bait (a human tooth and metacarpal bone) on the unused fourth floor of the school.
After the girls walk up the stairs to the room, she gives Gus the order to find them. Confused when Gus points out an area she knows she hasn’t baited, Jazz nervously investigates what she might find.
“Not a squirrel. Not a raccoon. Not a dead rat. Gus knew better than to sign an animal. Gus had been trained to recognize only a smell. Human death. “
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In a room behind the door, Gus sits determinedly in front of a skeleton dressed in clothes that Jazz recognizes as belonging to a former teacher. As a controversial woman, the teacher had not been missed much when she unexpectedly quit her job and left town three years earlier.
Corpse dogs – formerly known as Human Rest Detection (HRD) dogs – have a special niche: They help find the dead (sometimes the long dead), adding to a family’s peace of mind or the law’s pursuit of justice. Logan has interesting details about HRD training and working methods as part of the story.
In their first book in the series, The Scent of Murder, Jazz and Their Dog find the body of a former St. Catherine student. Here, in her second, the victim also has a connection to school. Like Cabot Cove, Maine, the fictional setting of the longtime television series Murder, She Wrote, St. Catherine appears to be on the way to a nexus of nefarious deeds! Since they are fictional and we don’t need to feel guilty for finding things interesting, that’s a good thing for the reader.