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September 20, 2009 / C.T. Henry

REVIEW: Uneasy Relations by Aaron Elkins

uneasy relations

This is the first cozy I’ve read in a long time.  In the mood for an intellectual mystery, I remembered how much I loved Aaron Elkins’ OLD BONES and ICY CLUTCHES.  Gideon Oliver is a modern day Sherlock Holmes, dressed up to be a prestigious physical anthropologist.  Many refer to him as the “Skeleton Detective,” since almost every book he goes to some exotic place, usually for a conference, and solves a mystery.

Uneasy Relations has an interesting premise.  The bones of a Homo Sapien woman have been unearthed clutching a Neanderthal baby boy.  Sending shock waves through the world of archaeology, this discovery has implications for human-neanderthal relations.  No one has ever produced evidence that the two ever commingled.  As Gideon travels to Gibraltar to give a talk on the now famous “Gibraltar Woman” and “Gibraltar Boy,” two attempts are made on his life.  Someone doesn’t want him to speak.

While the premise is very promising, in the end, the book isn’t satisfying.  I used to like Gideon Oliver because of his quick wit and comedic personality.  In this adventure, he’s just dry.  There’s nothing really likable about him.  I’m a reader who really enjoys characters over plot, and while you could say that this simple plot was executed brilliantly, it’s the characters that make me come back for more.

DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME (Translation: Not recommended)

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