cover image Burnt Bones

Burnt Bones

Michael Slade. Signet Book, $6.99 (408pp) ISBN 978-0-451-19969-0

A cross-border investigation brings together Canadian Mountie Robert DeClerq and American detective Jenna Bond. They're searching for a madman calling himself Mephisto who has abducted and tortured two men in his search for an ancient treasure--a silver Druid medallion that is reported to reveal the secrets of Stonehenge. Mephisto lives on a remote island between Seattle and Vancouver with his sexy consort, Donella Grant, and three henchmen, known as the Druids, who rape, torture, kidnap and murder for Mephisto. Impatient with searching for the treasure by himself, Mephisto lures DeClerq and Bond into the hunt by kidnapping Nick Craven, a fellow Mountie and close friend of DeClerq. Slade (Primal Scream) intersperses the contemporary thriller with accounts of Roman gladiators, battles between Picts and Romans in ancient Britain and clan fighting in 17th-century Scotland to trace the history of the medallion. Overly didactic asides often interrupt the flow of the narrative--everything from the story of the Mounted Police to the history of doo-wop music is covered. The graphic descriptions of rape and torture will turn many stomachs, and the plot is more gruesome than scary or suspenseful. (Mar.)