Dry Bones is the third novel and the conclusion of Peter Quinn’s trilogy featuring Fintan Dunne, a detective, OSS agent and WWII soldier. From the opening few paragraphs, the author situates us clearly and effectively in post-WWII Europe. We get an immediate sense of Dunne as a tough, smart, street-wise man who is weary of “the ‘dark arts’ of psychological warfare, clandestine operations, and counterintelligence.”
The plot moves from an unexpected plane landing in 1946 Nuremberg to a rescue mission in Slovakia, which was set in motion in the early weeks of 1945. From the very beginning, the mission suffers twists and turns as it is threatened by desperate Nazis attempting to inflict whatever remaining damage they can and the advancing Russian army, which is determined to lay claim to as much territory as possible before the war ends.
But WWII isn’t the end of war; instead, Dunne and others are thrust into “a guerre froide that prevents further expansion of the Soviet empire and awaits its collapse from the weight of its own contradictions.” Even in 1958 New York, Dunne cannot escape the consequences of the secret he and fellow OSS agent Dick Van Hull uncovered during their mission to Slovakia. To make matters worse, former friends have become foes, former Nazis have been welcomed into the West, and enemies who died might not be dead after all.
The strengths of Peter Quinn’s writing are his superb voice, complicated characters, complex plot, scenes full of tension, and a terrific blend of fact and fiction. Unfortunately, I occasionally got lost amongst the plot twists and lengthy flashbacks, although this may have been due to reading the third episode of the trilogy without reading the other two.