Putnam, April 2002, 24.95,320 pp.
John Deal is trying to return his deceased father's Florida building firm, DealCo Construction to its former glory. It's a matter of pride plus he needs the money to support his estranged wife and pay his daughter's tuition fees. He travels to Key West with his friend and co-worker Russell Straight to see if they can come to terms with local developer flamboyant Franklin Stone who wants Dealco to build his latest project.
Even before the two men meet, a local hustler named Dequarious tries to tell Deal something in a local restaurant. Before he can, Dequarious is thrown out. The next time the builder sees the hustler, John tries to stop a local police officer from killing Dequarious. He succeeds but shortly thereafter, Dequarious is found by Deal shot to death in his hotel room, a wine label in his hand. John Deal is determined to find out who is behind the killing or die trying.
Les Standiford has written a complex, multi-layered crime novel that will pique and maintain reader interest from first page to last. The author is a master of characterization, populating his novel with people readers will like even though the audience knows that these individuals can operate on the wrong side of the law. BONE KEY is a mystery that is impossible to figure out until the author is ready to reveal the answers.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner