Buried, by Kendra Elliot

>> Saturday, September 06, 2014

TITLE: Buried
AUTHOR: Kendra Elliot

PAGES: 362

SETTING: Contemporary
TYPE: Romantic Suspense
SERIES: Part of the Bone Secrets series.

Eighteen years ago, Chris Jacobs walked out of the forest, the lone survivor of a school bus load of children who’d vanished two years before. His memory was gone, his body beaten and emaciated.

Today, the sad remains of the missing children have been discovered along with evidence that they were held captive for years. But investigative reporter Michael Brody’s brother is still missing. He sets out to question Chris, hoping his memory has returned.

Constant fear of being found by his kidnapper has driven Chris into hiding. The only lead Michael has is Chris’s sister, Jamie. As they race to find Chris, Michael and Jamie somehow find each other among the decades of wreckage. But locating Chris may not be so easy. Now grown, his scars go far deeper than skin.

In Buried, the next thrilling Bone Secrets novel from bestselling author Kendra Elliot, a damaged hero digs deep into his terrifying past…and unearths a chance at love for the future.

I was drawn to this one purely by the really intriguing setup. Twenty years ago, a school bus carrying students from an expensive private academy disappeared into thin air. Not a trace was ever found. As the book starts, it's 2 years after that, and a starving, weakened young boy named Chris Jacobs walks out of the woods. He's one of the kids who was on that bus.

We then move on to the present day, 18 years later. We find out that Chris was never able to provide any information, beyond the fact that he showed signs of torture. He had a head injury and even spent a few months in a coma, and after that he always claimed he could not remember a thing.

The police have given up on finding anything, until the chance discovery of human remains in a barn deep in the woods. The skeletons are identified as the teacher who was on the school bus and all but one of the missing children.

Michael Brody, a journalist, is the older brother of the one missing child whose body was not found. He's determined to find out what happened to his brother, and for that he needs to talk to Chris Jacobs and somehow make him remember. But Chris is a very reclusive man who's living completely off the grid, and Michael's only hope of finding him is through his younger sister, Jamie.

I gave up on this after listening to about 2 hours of the total 10. It just wasn't very good. The writing was clunky and pedestrian (I got bored of having every single POV character gushing about how other characters were oh-so-hot and oh-so-sexy), and the characters' reactions were too often on the baffling side. They kept thinking and doing and saying things that came off as completely inappropriate for the circumstances. Like, Michael comes over to Jamie to discuss the discovery of the kids' bodies, and Jamie gets hung up on how his eyelashes are so dense and black and what a waste it is for a man to have such great eyelashes and she remembers every tube of mascara she's ever had to buy and... what the hell? These characters just didn't behave like real people.

Also, I didn't trust that the decisions by some characters to withhold crucial information really made sense, other than to make the plot work in particular ways. Chris is the most obvious one. With so many other kids missing and his very existence proof that more could be alive, I didn't quite buy that he would have been basically left alone after a little while. We are told early on that he does remember more than he says and that the killer threatened to get at his family, but surely that's the first thing his psychiatrists would consider when first talking to him? I didn't buy that he wouldn't have been pushed a lot harder than he seems to have been, especially with the other missing children being from such wealthy, powerful families.

I was also getting a bit queasy about the descriptions of what had happened to the kids. There wasn't anything too graphic in the sections I read, but there was certainly the suggestion and some very firm hints. I wasn't sure I wanted to get more.

It also didn't help that the narrator, Luke Daniels, was frankly awful. He didn't narrate, he intoned. And he kept going off-text with what he put in the chracters' tones. Michael constantly sounded like a total arsehole (especially when interacting with Jamie), and though some of his actual actions did cross the line, Daniels was adding things that weren't really there in the text. Also, the way he voiced the female characters was atrocious. They all sounded breathy and childlike and either whiny or close to tears.



Barb in Maryland 6 September 2014 at 18:22  

Sorry this one was such a dud. The blurb sure did sound interesting.

FYI, 1995 was a banner year for hi-jacked school bus stories. I remember both of these as excellent, though neither is a romance.
Jeffery Deaver --A Maiden's Grave
Mary Willis Walker--Under the Beetle's Cellar.

Rosario 7 September 2014 at 07:05  

Thanks, Barb, those sound really interesting. I'm sort of going of romantic suspense; so few authors are able to get the balance right. Straight suspense/mystery or mystery series with a bit of a romance storyline are working much better for me these days.

Darlynne,  7 September 2014 at 19:56  

Add my voice to Barb's for UNDER THE BEETLE'S CELLAR. In fact, that's what I thought of as I read your review of BURIED. Not a romance, but great characters.

Rosario 8 September 2014 at 06:46  

Excellent, looks like my library has it!

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