Private detective Frank Hollander and his wife Mary are on vacation, sailing around the Greek Isles. When they come to the Isle of Patmos, the place where the Apostle John was exiled and had his visions as recorded in the Book of Revelation, they meet a strange old man and his grandson on the beach. Later, Frank sees the old man in a dark alley way, just as he’s hit and loses consciousness. When Frank awakes, he realizes he’s had a vision – of something dark and evil back in his home state of Illinois.
He enlists Bob Morley, his partner in detection (who also works at Home Depot) to travel from the Chicago area to an area not far from St Louis to help him find what was in the vision. But first they’re employed by a county prosecutor to find out what happened to his 13-year-old brother some 25 years before, who simply disappeared after sledding with other children.
While that investigation is underway and meeting the same dead ends that the police had met in the original investigation, they travel to southern Illinois to see what they learn about Frank’s vision. And they discover gruesome evidence of a serial killer – more than 60 bodies of teenagers and children. One of the bodies will turn out to be the prosecutor’s missing brother. And there may be more than one killer involved.
While one might think they would have a hard time explaining what they found o the police and FBI – you really had a vision in the Aegean Sea? – Frank and Bob have already had experience solving cold case crimes and are known to both police and the FBI. The two and especially Frank (Bob has that job) continue to investigate, and gradually learn the killings go back decades, and have their origin in the World War II Battle of the Bulge.
Dry Bones by author Jay Tepe, the third novel in the Frank Hollander series, tells the story of what Frank and Bob find. It’s a combination of mystery, horror, the supernatural, and spiritual warfare, told from a largely Christian perspective. Visions and dreams play a significant role in the story.
Tepe is the author of two other Frank Hollander mysteries – Your Sin Will Find You Out and Reap the Whirlwind; two children’s stories in the Chronicle of Alastair Pickelwit series; and two standalone novels, Having Drinks at the Gates of Hell and Akbar Jones.
Dry Bones is an interesting, well-constructed mystery, if a bit heavy at times on the spiritual emphasis.