My review of Aaron Elkins’ novel Dead Men’s Hearts


An ancient skeleton tossed in a garbage dump is the first conundrum to rattle Gideon Oliver when he arrives in Egypt. There to appear in a documentary film, he expects an undemanding week of movie star treatment and a luxurious cruise up the Nile with his wife, Julie. But when Gideon discovers a tantalizing secret in the discarded bones—and violence claims a famous Egyptologist’s life—he is thrust into a spotlight of a different kind. Plying his calipers as the world’s foremost forensic anthropologist, Gideon’s investigation of the goings‑on leads him through the back alleys and bazaars of Cairo and deep into the millennia‑old tombs of the Valley of the Kings.

As the puzzle is painstakingly pieced together, Gideon will find that the identifying traits of a cunning killer are the same now as they were in the time of the pyramids: greed without guilt, lies without conscience . . . and murder without remorse.

Dead Men’s Hearts is the 8th book in the Gideon Oliver Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.

3.5 Stars

Not one of my favorite in the Gideon Oliver series. There was just something missing from this story for me. I was never drawn into it the way the others have grabbed me.

I like Gideon and Julie. Phil was OK, but honestly almost all of the rest blurred together. They seemed like interchangeable throw away characters. This was another story sans John Lau. John makes for a better story most of the time. He needed to be involved somehow.

Also, the ending fight seemed hurried and rather unbelievable. I loved the setting of the novel, but it wasn’t used much in the story either. The Nile River is one of the oldest cradles of civilization. These are some of the oldest human temples around, but they weren’t utilized in the story as well as I hoped. Very little of the story took place there, and virtually none of the important stuff in the storyline. I was disappointed with this one. I expect better from a Gideon Oliver story.

The eBook was formatted well with no obvious spelling or grammar mistakes.