Old Bones: A Nora Kelly Novel
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First published: August 20, 2019
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Nora Kelly, a young curator at the Santa Fe Institute of Archaeology, is approached by historian Clive Benton with a once-in-a-lifetime proposal: to lead a team in search of the so-called “Lost Camp” of the tragic Donner Party. This was a group of pioneers who earned a terrible place in American history when they became snow-bound in the California mountains in 1847, their fate unknown until the first skeletonized survivors stumbled out of the wilderness, raving about starvation, murder--and cannibalism.

Benton tells Kelly he has stumbled upon an amazing find: the long-sought diary of one of the victims, which has an enigmatic description of the Lost Camp. Nora agrees to lead an expedition to locate and excavate it--to reveal its long-buried secrets.

Once in the mountains, however, they learn that discovering the camp is only the first step in a mounting journey of fear. For as they uncover old bones, they expose the real truth of what happened, one that is far more shocking and bizarre than mere cannibalism. And when those ancient horrors lead to present-day violence on a grand scale, rookie FBI agent Corrie Swanson is assigned the case…only to find that her first investigation might very well be her last.




Preston & Child is one of those “names” on a book that make you want to set everything else aside in order to read what amazing words they’ve written. With this, the reader gets even more, because we’re talking about the first in a brand new series (the Nora Kelley series), that expertly weaves the legend and history of the Donner Party with a superb present-day tale of suspense…

From the best writing team out there, you do not want to miss this book. 

--Amy Lignor, Suspense Magazine


Special Agent Pendergast, star of Preston and Child's best-known series, makes an appearance, as significant as it is brief, after mortal danger is averted. But this outing belongs to two dedicated women, whose future adventures will be happily anticipated.



Young archaeologist Nora Kelly joins a perilous search for the Lost Camp of the Donner Party in this latest collaboration by Preston and Child. In 1846, westbound travelers became snowbound in the Sierra Nevada, and in "one of the greatest calamities of the westward migration," some resorted to cannibalism in a desperate attempt to survive… Like other Preston and Child adventures, this is a smart, satisfying read.

--Kirkus Reviews


“Archeologist Nora Kelly takes center stage in this intriguing series launch… Preston and Child have recaptured some of their old magic.

--Publishers Weekly


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