Author: Beverly ConnorSeries: Diane Fallon, #1
Released: September 4th 2004
Length: 388 pages
With spot-on details, a smart new voice, and ingenious plot twists, Beverly Connor has been compared to the hottest crime writers on the scene. Now, she ratchets up the suspense with a brand new series featuring one of today's most cunning and complex sleuths: forensic anthropologist Diane Fallon. Her new job as director of the RiverTrail Museum of Natural History in Georgia takes Diane out of the game-until a former love and a murdered family bring her back in.
I picked up One Grave Too Many after reading a recommendation by Ilona Andrews, knowing I would surely enjoy something she liked enough to recommend. She doesn’t do it often, but when she does, the books are always worth checking out. The Diane Fallon Forensic Investigations series has nine installments, published between 2004 and 2010. One Grave Too Many is the first one.
We meet Diane Fallon after a very traumatic period in her life. Past evens are revealed slowly, but we learn right away of her determination to quit forensic work and dedicate herself to being the director of a museum. Diane can’t handle any more mass graves and her new career is guaranteed to keep her away from dead people. Naturally, things don’t turn out the way she planned. Soon she is involved in an investigation that reminds her of her past traumas and opens wounds that could easily break her.
Diane fights battles on many fronts. Being new to leading a museum and a perfectionist to boot, she has plenty of problems to deal with daily. Connor offers great insight into the inner workings of a natural history museum and successfully inserts plenty of detail without suffocating the plot. Forensic details are also aplenty, giving the impression of a thoroughly researched book, which is always appreciated. With a whole family murdered in cold blood, the reader gets victims that are easy to care about and a reason to get invested into Diane’s investigation.
Diane’s character, however, is insufficiently developed. There are a few hints that could later lead to deeper characterization, but mostly we are given the picture of a solitary perfectionist with past traumas we can’t quite feel. Any description of her appearance is omitted – likely purposely – which makes it a lot harder to see her in our minds. Her relationships, such as they are, could also be described as underdeveloped, but with some hope for future installments.
Overall, this is a worthy read that follows the path of writers like Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs, but doesn’t quite reach their heights. If you’re looking for a decent forensic mystery, this might just be it, as long as you don’t expect too much of its characters.