Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gideon Oliver is back!

There are certain authors that, when I see their latest book, have me dropping whatever else I may happen to be reading at the time so I can happily delve into their book as quickly as possible. Aaron Elkins is one of these authors and has been for years. His protagonist, Gideon Oliver, is a forensic anthropologist who travels to interesting and exotic places around the world for various reasons, but - surprise - there are usually some old (or new) bones that turn up and, through Gideon's expertise and insight, offer important clues to solving a mystery or murder.

In this, the fifteenth book in the series, Gideon travels to Gibraltar with his wife Julie, in order to attend the annual conference of the International Paleoanthropological Society. Prior to the conference, he is interviewed by a newspaper reporter, and Gideon's joking response to a question is - purposefully or mistakenly - taken seriously. The lecture he intends to give, which in reality is interesting but fairly uneventful, is depicted in the newspaper article as a shocking revelation that will stun the entire paleoanthropological community with its earth-shattering ramifications. Gideon is admittedly embarrassed by the whole thing, but he trusts his colleagues will have the insight to understand the exaggeration for what it is.

And so it appears - until, several near brushes with death later, it becomes apparent that someone at the conference has taken the article all too seriously, and fears whatever it is Gideon might be about to reveal. A little digging (sorry, couldn't resist that pun) into the facts surrounding the world famous archaeological find of the Gibraltar Woman and Gibraltar Boy skeletons reveals there may, in fact, be more to the situation than meets the eye...

While the previous book in this series, Little Tiny Teeth, combined elements of suspense and adventure with the mystery, this one is a classic cozy, with a clear list of suspects to choose from. It is tight and well paced, with interesting characters and motivations, and I enjoyed the fascinating setting as well. I was pleased that Julie came along for the ride on this one - her relationship with Gideon is delightful, as always, and their dialog with each other never fails to make me laugh. Uneasy Relations is an excellent addition to the growing list of "skeleton detective" mysteries, and I highly recommend both it and the entire series. And for art history fans, be sure to check out Elkins' Chris Norgren mysteries, too. There are only three so far (with hopefully more to come, one day), and the first one is called A Deceptive Clarity.

Books in the Gideon Oliver series:
  1. Fellowship of Fear
  2. The Dark Place
  3. Murder in the Queen's Armies
  4. Old Bones
  5. Curses
  6. Icy Clutches
  7. Make No Bones
  8. Dead Men's Hearts
  9. Twenty Blue Devils
  10. Skeleton Dance
  11. Good Blood
  12. Where There's a Will
  13. Unnatural Selection
  14. Little Tiny Teeth
  15. Uneasy Relations
Uneasy Relations (#15 in the Gideon Oliver series) by Aaron Elkins (Berkley Prime Crime, 2008)


  1. How is it that I've never even heard of this series?? Sounds fantastic...but I'm not sure I want to take on such a large series. What if I love it?? Then I'll just have to read them all!!

    You are killing me here!

  2. I almost got the first book of this series out of the library last time I was there. But couldn't remember where (or if?)I'd heard about it so I put back.

    Now, I remember it was your review of the last book! I must get my lists better organized. Next time I won't put it back!

  3. Stephanie - well, think of it as an investment in not having to sit around drumming your fingers on the table, waiting for the next book of the series to finally come out. At least for a while. LOL!

    Nicola - that's funny! I often have that feeling, too. So many books, so many reviews, etc. I'm sure you'll enjoy it when you get to it!


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