“Bone Dust,” Rick Maier’s short first novel is a page-turner written in a breezy style.
The secret to “Bone Dust is Maier’s skill in incrementally weaving the local history and culture of Macon, Georgia (his adopted home town) to an outbreak of influenza in the Philippines. As a subtext, this particular strain of influenza could have been perpetrated by Al Qaeda or by an independent cell of terrorists. Or perhaps, this strain of influenza emerged because people in the Philippines keep and live in close proximity to chickens and on occasion, avian strains of flu emerge and cross to humans.
Whatever the cause, the lives of the citizens of Macon and the key characters in “Bone Dust” are disrupted and they must now deal with the consequences.
“Bone Dust” sustains interest throughout. The lives of the principal characters are enriched with local color and detail. Only an overly sentimental ending that Maier thoughtfully keeps brief detracts from this otherwise compelling narrative.