Parrish uses the main character of another series - Louis Kincaid to start off the "action" in A THOUSAND BONES, when his lover Joe Frye, the lone female homicide detective in the Miami-Dade PD confesses to him at the start of the book - prologue - that she's carrying a difficult secret from her past. The reader is then immediately taken back to Joe's early career in the police. Starting out as a Rookie in Leelanau County, Frye fights a sheriff's department who underestimate, almost disregard her as a "token female" - not quite up to the albeit pretty uneventful job in a small, quiet county. Joe has moved to this area to take up this job, dragging her veterinarian boyfriend Brad with her and he's less than impressed with the impost that the job makes on their personal time.
Her job gets much much worse when a few scant human bones are found in the woods. There's just enough bones to identify the body as female and a piece of jewellery - originally thought to be a crucifix necklace, turns out to be a charm bracelet and it provides the first possible clue to the victim's identity. But Joe is the only one who thinks this lead is worth pursuing - her boss is convinced he already knows who the victim was.
A THOUSAND BONES has had a lot of very positive press, and this author (actually a team of two sisters) has a big fan base, particularly for their Kincaid based books. Alas A THOUSAND BONES didn't really work for me. Joe, as a female cop in a world populated with male colleagues who under-estimate or dismiss her was just way to stereotyped for me - if there was a "cause" that a female detective has to deal with it showed up at some point. From open antagonism to disregard for her - it was all there. There was the boyfriend who couldn't stand the competition of the job, there was the spark of attraction - that never could be - for the one colleague that treated her with some respect. There were also some jarring components to the investigation - the bracelet which was originally thought to be a necklace (and a bit of early red-herring chasing), ancient Indian symbols carved into trees missed by everyone until enough leaves fell in Autumn to reveal them - luckily just when Joe was around; through to what was by then an inevitable threat on Joe's own life.
Finally a bit of late revelation in the number of victims found providing a nice piece of heart rendering ending and A THOUSAND BONES wasn't to my taste at all. To be fair, it's undoubtedly a book that could appeal to fans of the author pairing, or to readers who like female characters in peril, dealing with lots of the issues.