by Aaron Elkins
Hardcover, 304 pg.
Berkley Hardcover, 2007
Read: June 25 – 26, 2014
Any further thoughts were interrupted by an excited clamor from the crew members on their break down below at the riverfront. They were jabbering in pidgin Spanish, pointing down into the water, and calling, apparently to Gideon. He was able to understand a few words: “Oiga, esqueletero! Aqui le tengo unos huesos!” Hey, skeleton man, I have some bones for you!
He jumped up. “They’ve found some bones.”
“More bones?” John said, getting up too. “What is it about you, Doc? Do you bring this on yourself?”
It’s a question that all of us who’ve read a few of these books have asked from time to time. Not that we really care — the important thing is that the bones are found, that Gideon Oliver gets to do his thing, and we get to watch him in wonder with John Lau (or whoever is handy).
Which makes Little Tiny Teeth a little strange.
I try to stay away from spoilers here, but I have to get a touch spoiler-y here, but it’s nothing major, nothing that should impact someone’s appreciation of the book.
I’ve been reading these books for a long time — can’t tell you for sure how long, but the year started with the numbers one, eight and nine — and I’m reasonably certain that it’s never taken this long for a body to show up. It was just shy of page 190 when we had our first homicide. Another thirty pages until we got our first bone for the Skeleton Detective to do anything with. I’m not complaining, it’s good to see someone like Elkins experiment with his formula. But man, it was strange reading — I kept wondering, where’s the body? Where are all the bones? But, as always — they came.
But before that, we meet a handful of very interesting characters, all of whom have a good start on a motive for killing someone. We’ve got the frustrated doctoral candidate who can’t get the last signature on his dissertation; the professor who’s watching her career disappear; the father of the girl who had to fend off advances from her professor; the ghost writer who was denied credit; the man pressured into smuggling drugs; and — well, there are others.
Take these people, put them on a boat down the Amazon River with Gideon Oliver and John Lau? You know you’re going to get at least one body. Elkins didn’t disappoint — a nice puzzle, some interesting characters, a lot of interesting facts about a part of the world that’s teeming with them. Which makes for a pleasant, if not outstanding read.
It would’ve been nice if we’d had a sentence or two tying up the storylines of the four supporting characters that were pretty much abandoned. Nothing much, just something like “It looks like things will end up working out for ____” or “____’s immediate future looks a little brighter without . . . ” Things felt a little rushed at the end, I guess is what I’m trying to say.
Still, a nice, relaxing time with Gideon and John (even if they weren’t that relaxed). Which is all I ask Elkins to provide. Good enough.