A Skeleton in Bone Creek

A Nash Running Bear Mystery Book 1

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
287 Pages
Reviewed on 09/02/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Baer Charlton, a best-selling author, is a Social-Anthropologist. His many interests have led him around the world in search of the unique.
As an internationally recognized Photojournalist, he tracked mountain gorillas, been a podium for a Barbary Ape, communicated in sign language with an Orangutan named Boolon, kissed a kangaroo, and had many wild experiences in between. Or he was just monkeying around.
His love for sailing has led him to file assignments from various countries, as well as from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean aboard a five-mast sailing ship. Baer has spoken on five continents, plus lecturing at sea.
Within every person, there is a story. But inside that story, even a more memorable story. Those are the stories he likes to tell.
There is no more complex and incredible story than those coming from the human experience. Mr. Charlton’s stories are all driven by the characters you come to think of as friends.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Melanie Kennedy for Readers' Favorite

A Skeleton in Bone Creek: A Nash Running Bear Mystery by Baer Charlton is book one in the series and introduces us to the fearless and quick-thinking Nash Running Bear. FBI Special Agent Nash is returning home to Harkin County to investigate the skeletal remains found in the aptly named Bone Creek. Coming home to a small town has its usual drawbacks, but with tensions high between the local law enforcement and Nash’s FBI authority, it doesn’t make her job any easier. Luckily for Nash, she’s got the fondly nicknamed Uncle and his super-dog Powder on her side. As the investigation in the creek unfolds, Nash has her demons to fight but for now, these have to take a sideline as more skeletons are dredged up and the murky water reveals some secrets of its own.

A Skeleton in Bone Creek is a fast-paced mystery exploring the seedier side of small-town America. Nash Running Bear is an indigenous Native American who must confront her past and the prejudices her people face as she returns to the small town of Harkin. Her sharp wit, witty one-liners, and verbal sparring with Uncle and anyone willing to engage in the battle of words made me think of the funny conversations between the famous Gilmore Girls, albeit with a dash more morbidity. I loved the story from an indigenous point of view as I don’t think they are represented enough in literature. Baer Charlton has written a thrilling mystery filled with skeletons, politics, and a healthy scoop of black humor that kept me on my toes and entertained throughout.

Carmen Tenorio

A Skeleton in Bone Creek is a murder mystery by Baer Charlton and is the first book in the A Nash Running Bear Mystery series. It is 23 years since FBI Special Agent Nash Running Bear, a descendant of the First Nations People, has returned to her hometown in Harkin County. She is sent there to investigate the skeleton found near the highly alkaline groundwater of Bone Creek, which runs in and out of a reservation. She's less than enthusiastic, however, as she knows she faces the parochial culture, old-fashioned bigotry, racism, and contempt for visitors that she'd left behind decades back. But, as a professional, and a former local who has occasional mystical visions, she is the right person for the job. As Nash becomes more deeply involved with the case, there may be more to Bone Creek than is being revealed. As the skeleton count begins to pile up, tests reveal that the waters of Bone Creek are polluted and toxic. Something vile is going on and Nash is hell-bent on stopping it.

While still acknowledging and respecting the age-old practices and way of life of cultural tribes, the author is abreast of what's going on in the 21st century too. Baer Charlton includes details such as state-of-the-art technologies in forensic science, the acceptance of same-sex marriage, the need for emotional and professional support animals, the legalization of pot, and even the use of heart emojis in social media chats as a new form of shorthand messaging, to mention a few. The character development is strong and the main and supporting players in A Skeleton in Bone Creek are multidimensional, well-rounded, memorable, relatable, and appealing. His captivating manner in describing scenes and elements makes it easy to imagine being a part of events. With a moderate pace, Charlton builds the story in stages and mixes suspense and action scenes that can be fast and dramatic. There is never a dull moment in this well-written and organized story which will sustain your interest with its unexpected plot twist and surprises. I recommend it for crime, mystery, and thriller aficionados, as well as readers who like challenging social norms while keeping history relevant.

Alma Boucher

A Skeleton in Bone Creek is a mystery written by Baer Charlton. A hunter finds a skeleton in Bone Creek, Harkin County. The Special Operations division at the FBI is called in to help and Special Agent Nash Running Bear returns to her hometown to investigate. Everyone suspects it is a missing Air Force guy. Nash will be staying with her sister and uncle. He gives Nash a dog called Powder that can sniff out the skeletons in the creek. Soon Nash and her uncle discover more skeletons with the help of Powder. The water where the skeletons are discovered looks suspicious and Nash collects samples to send to the lab. The results indicate that there is more going on than meets the eye and the mystery deepens.

Baer Charlton has planned and executed a unique and complex plot brilliantly. A Skeleton in Bone Creek had my attention from the start until the end. The storyline is fast-paced and never feels rushed. All the action kept me on the edge of my seat and I was glued to the pages, unable to turn them fast enough. The twists and turns kept me guessing and I could not predict what would happen next. The characters are well-developed and skillfully handled and made the story come to life as they were also authentic and relatable. The story is excellent, unpredictable, and well written, and always with a surprise waiting around the corner. I cannot wait to see what Charlton has in store for the next book.

Liz Konkel

A Skeleton in Bone Creek by Baer Charlton is the first book in the Nash Running Bear Mystery series. Nash is a special agent for the FBI who receives an unexpected assignment that takes her back to a place she once called home. A skeleton is discovered in Bone Creek and she’s the only agent that knows how to find the location. She isn’t sure that returning is the best idea, but she may be the only person to handle the job. It would seem that more than the investigation is luring her back as she’s plagued by visions that may hold the answers she’s looking for and could summon things from her past that she’s not ready to face. Returning proves to be easier said than done as old ideas regarding outsiders and the appearance of someone that used to be close to Nash add more complications than she expected.

Confronting the past is a focal theme as Nash returns to Harkin County, reunites with her former fling, and faces old ideals. The setting is significant in the lives of these characters and how the mystery unfolds. The plot takes place at a time in Nash’s life when she’s established as an agent and settled with her wife Mina, so going back forces her to confront her past. She has immediate misgivings about returning which are mixed emotions that Baer Charlton threads throughout as an internal conflict while she’s investigating. Nash is a solid character torn between her duty, her past, and her present with Mina, elements that help to ground the plot. A definite commentary is featured throughout regarding outsiders and race which helps to make Bone Creek feel like a character in its own right.

The premise revolves around the discovery of a skeleton which drives the mystery while also catalyzing Nash's return. Charlton carefully incorporates different layers within the mystery with a balance of commentary, investigation, and supernatural. Nash's visions connect her to the town and bring up feelings regarding her mother who experienced similar sights. Baer Charlton’s writing features some wonderful imagery such as trees reaching out like skeletons that cast a shadow over the town. A Skeleton in Bone Creek incorporates a theme of confronting skeletons in the past through a mystery that features a strong-willed agent, an ominous location, and a touch of the supernatural.

Essien Asian

Feeling helpless as she watched her partner slowly succumb to the side effects of cancer treatment, Special Agent Natasha Running Bear sought an outlet on which to focus her skills and found the perfect opportunity when an unknown skeleton turned up in Bone Creek, Harkin County. Nash returns to the familiar surroundings of The Free State of Jefferson where old rivals and uncomfortable memories rear their heads once again. Despite this, she is determined to get to the bottom of a case that becomes more complicated as the days pass. It seems as if she may be getting help from the most unlikely of sources but one thing is certain and that is time is not on her side in A Skeleton In Bone Creek: A Nash Running Bear Mystery Book 1 by Baer Charlton.

Raunchy conversations and gallows humor occupy a prominent position in Baer Charlton's latest offering in the mystery genre. The conversation between the characters is fluid and laced with the kind of sardonic humor that lets you know there was some history between them and it is completely up to you to get to the bottom of it. The scientific aspects of the novel are quite revealing and easy to follow for just about anyone. The storyline drips with intrigue as it winds its way to what I would consider an unusual conclusion. Following Nash as she earned Powder's respect through her unusual tracking methods brought a smile to my face. A Skeleton in Bone Creek did not turn out to be the physical, action-packed drama I anticipated but what it lacked in action it made up for in mystery and suspense. A beautifully balanced novel.