Beverly Connor’s Diane Fallon Series

beverly_connerAbout the author:

Born: Oak Ridge, Tennessee, October 5, 1948

Education: B.A., B.S., M.A. Archaeology -University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

Website: http://www.beverlyconnor.net/

Thriller Sub-genre: Forensic Thriller

Publisher: New American Library

Future of the series:  Connor has not given up on the series and from her website, she indicates that another Diane Fallon book is in the works which she as entitled Blood Evidence.

The Simon Review

Beverly Connor is an archaeologist and like many other professionals has decided to dive into the fictional world of forensic thrillers. Her Diane Fallon series begins with Fallon as a reluctant forensic anthropologist that recently took on a directorship with the Museum of Natural History to escape a tragic event that occurred while excavating a mass grave in South America. She eventually gets drawn back into forensics and becomes director of the Rosewood Crime Lab which is also housed in the museum. From other reviews that I’ve seen, many see Diane Fallon as the woman that can do it all, juggling two different jobs, director of a museum and director of a crime lab, managing to escape being killed in every novel and then when she gets time, she likes to go caving; a pastime that Conner shares as well. Overall, Fallon is a typical type ‘A’ personality which is admirable but isn’t really any different than the other forensic thrillers out there with female lead characters. What is interesting, however, is the motley crew that is her forensic team.

Fallon’s second hand man is David Goldstein and like Fallon, he is a former human rights investigator and has seen his fair share of human suffering. He is brilliant but tends to be moody and cantankerous. Neva Hurley started on Fallon’s forensic team as a rookie cop, and was very unhappy with the assignment in the beginning, but Fallon discovers Hurley’s artistic ability and assigns her as a forensic sculptor. Deven Jin, more affectionately known by his last name Jin, worked as a criminalist in New York City before joining Fallon’s crew. He is hyperactive and geeky and loves to tease David Goldstein. He eventually becomes Fallon’s DNA Forensics Director. Izzy Wallace joined the team after his son was killed in a case that Fallon solved. Wallace, a cop, was very antagonist to Fallon in the beginning but became one of her best supporters once he got to know her. Jin’s technical support, Hector and Scott Spearman, are identical twins and are probably geekier than Jin. It is really this group of characters that makes this series worth reading.

The series begins with a slow start but successively improves with each novel. The workings and dealings of a museum make a nice digression from the more criminal aspects of the series. So if you are a Kathy Reichs or a Patricia Cornwell fan, you will certainly like the Diane Fallon series. I would suggest reading the series from the beginning.

Simon’s pick:

Most Favorite Novel in the Series- One Grave Less– because it is fast paced from the get-go.

Least Favorite Novel in the Series- One Grave Too Many– because Fallon was just starting up her directorship at the museum and there seemed to be a lot of local politics that needs to be wade through which was tiring and the forensics was thin.

What about the science? Conner is a physical anthropologist as well as an experienced caver and her knowledge and experience is very well demonstrated in the series.

The Diane Fallon Technical Word in Review: Stable isotope analysis, is used in forensics to determine origin of locality of tissue from a body, usually bone or hair. Isotopes are variants of an element which differ by the number of neutrons that an atom contains, such as carbon 14 versus carbon 13, same element but a different number of neutrons. Isotopes occur naturally in nature but are not uniformly distributed throughout the world. When a person eats and drinks food and water from a certain locality, the stable isotopes will be incorporated in their bone and hair. When an analysis is done to look at the varying ratios of the isotopes that are in the tissue, it can be compared to a geological database that can give a fairly accurate location of the origin of the tissue.

To do the analysis, a mass spectrometer is used. A sample will be added to the instrument which will be ionized and the particles are hurled through a magnetic field. The mass of the element will affect how the particle is fragmented and deflected through the magnetic field. At the end of the field a detector picks up the signature of the particles and pattern is formed. The particular pattern will determine what type of isotope is present as well as its abundance.


‘The phrase stable isotope analysis must have leaped out of their conversation and over to the crew, for suddenly they stopped talking and came over to Diane, carrying their sandwiches and drinking water.

“You had an SIA done on some material?” asked one of the doctoral students.

“On the original bone that started all this.” Diane looked at the fax transmitted by her friend, Ran. It wasn’t a particularly good copy, but she assumed he sent to original in the mail. The first page has a list of numbers in a table. The other pages were Ranjan’s conclusions, written in his usual pedantic manner.

You’re in luck. Your fellow was a vegetarian-note the values in the table. However, I don’t think your person was a vegan, nor did he, I think, consume an abundance of legumes. Interesting. The delta numbers and the levels of the trace element strontium suggest that he ate fish and shellfish. I am most excited about this. Another interesting possibility to think about: You said the fellow was young, perhaps an older teenager. This would mean he had these eating habits from childhood. Is vegetarianism in childhood common? You must identify the fellow so we can test what the values seem to indicate. Also, I would say death took place five years ago.- One Grave Too Many

Books in the Series by Order:

Vote for your favorite Forensic Thriller on the Forensic Fiction List on Goodreads Listopia.

Goodreads Forensic Fiction Best List

Most Favorite in the series: One Grave Less with a score of 4.27

Least Favorite in the series: One Grave Too Many with a score of 3.95

Based on overall ratings from Goodreads, Barnes and Nobles, Library Thing and Amazon (US & UK)

#1-One Grave Too Many#1-One Grave Too Many- 2003

First Line:

“His head isn’t on straight.”


Characters

Diane Fallon: A physical anthropologist who specializes in forensics. Before the series begins, Fallon had work on identifying the dead in mass graves in South America. With the loss of her daughter she returns to her home ground of Georgia to take on the directorship at a Museum of Natural History but eventually gets dragged back into forensic anthropology.

Frank Duncan: Detective for the Metro-Atlanta Fraud and Computer Forensics Unit and Diane Fallon’s lover.


The Setting

Georgia


Leaving a troubled past behind her, Diane is starting over as Director of the RiverTrail Museum of Natural History in Georgia-until former love Detective Frank Duncan tracks her down. He needs her unique experience as a forensic anthropologist to examine a bone found in the woods. Diane can’t resist Frank’s request-on both a professional and personal level. Because the secrets of bones are in her blood-and their whispers offer a dead family’s only chance at justice….


“What happened in South America? Diane stopped and looked into Frank’s blue-green eyes. Just one mass grave too many.”


Looking for reviews for One Grave Too Many? Check out:

Reviewing the Evidence

Kittling Books

Glad to be a Girl

Caught In My Book


Amazon Rating-US: 4.05 out of 5 stars based on 46 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.40 out of 5 stars based on 15 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 3.94 out of 5 stars based on 1,407 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.11 out of 5 stars based on 37 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.86 out of 5 stars based on 59 ratings

Total Score 3.95  (updated 5/23/16)

x-ray

Dead Guilty#2-Dead Guilty- 2004

First Line:

“If I’d known she was so afraid of snakes, I wouldn’t have hired her,” Diane Fallon muttered as she parked her car behind a patrol car on the hard shoulder of the small two-lane dirt road.


Characters

Diane Fallon and Frank Duncan

David Goldstein: A former human rights investigator and the Crime Lab’s assistant director.

Dr. Lynn Webber: The coroner

Deven Jin: A criminalist from New York that works for the Crime Lab and later becomes the director for the DNA forensic laboratory

Neva Hurley: Was sent by the Rosewood Police Department to work for the Crime Lab. Very reluctant at first but later became a permanent addition to the Crime Lab and became Fallon’s forensic sculptor.

Izzy Wallace: A cop and friend of Frank Duncan. Does not like Fallon in the beginning of the series but after a tragic accident to a close family member, he becomes an advocate for Fallon and a member of the Crime Lab.


The Setting

Georgia


In this latest investigation, forensic anthropologist Diane Fallon must lead a chilling excavation of a crime with harrowing implications: the murder of three people, hanged execution-style in an isolated patch of Georgia woods.


“Diane looked at the message. Sometimes the dead are guilty. That was all, no signature, no explanation.”


Looking for reviews for Dead Guilty? Check out:

Glad to be a Girl

Caught In My Book


Amazon Rating-US: 4.26 out of 5 stars based on 34 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.78 out of 5 stars based on 8 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 1,109 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.34 out of 5 stars based on 17 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.83 out of 5 stars based on 48 ratings

Total Score 4.01    (updated 5/23/16)

 

gun

Dead Secret#3-Dead Secret- 2005

Listed #110 out of 118 on Goodreads Forensic Fiction Book List

First Line:

Diane squirmed on her belly through the crack in the rock, dragging her backpack behind her on a tether.


Characters

Diane Fallon, Frank Duncan, David Goldstein, Dr. Lynn Webber, Deven Jin, Neva Hurley, and Izzy Wallace


The Setting

Georgia


In the depths of an unmapped cave, forensic anthropologist Diane Fallon makes an astonishing discovery: the decades-old skeleton of a caving victim. Soon, the remains of two more bodies are found—one in an old car submerged in the waters of an abandoned quarry, another buried in the Georgia woods. At first, with nothing to link the dissimilar victims except desiccated bones, Diane can’t fathom the connection. But someone in her shadow does. It’s the key to a mystery that reaches back seventy years in a heritage of love, greed, and murder—and an unearthed family secret that still holds the power to kill.


Looking for reviews for Dead Secret? Check out:

Glad to be a Girl

Caught In My Book


Amazon Rating-US: 4.25 out of 5 stars based on 35 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.33 out of 5 stars based on 6 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.06 out of 5 stars based on 859 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.40 out of 5 stars based on 20 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 3.70 out of 5 stars based on 42 ratings

Total Score 4.06   (updated 5/23/16)

 

 

skeleton

Dead Past#4-Dead Past- 2007

Listed #109 out of 118 on Goodreads Forensic Fiction Book List

First Line:

Diane Fallon jerked to consciousness.


Characters

Diane Fallon, Frank Duncan, David Goldstein, Dr. Lynn Webber, Deven Jin, Neva Hurley, and Izzy Wallace


The Setting

Georgia


As a child, Juliet Price witnessed the bloody slaying of an entire family. Then the killer chased her down, brutalized her, and left her for dead. The police were never able to find the man responsible. For years, Juliet’s traumatized mind hid the events from her. Then she sees a television show featuring the unsolved cold case, and the horrors come to her in her nightmares. She shares her fears with Diane Fallon, who realizes that Juliet’s shattered visions recall not one, but two intertwined crimes-crimes that Diane intends to uncover.


Looking for reviews for Dead Past?  Check out:

Glad to be a Girl

Reviewing the Evidence

Caught In My Book


Amazon Rating-US: 4.53 out of 5 stars based on 34 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.67 out of 5 stars based on 3 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.09 out of 5 stars based on 859 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.29 out of 5 stars based on 17 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 4.05 out of 5 stars based on 37 ratings

Total Score 4.11   (updated 5/23/16)

Sequencing gel

Dead Hunt#5-Dead Hunt- 2008

First Line:

It wasn’t the sound of the steel doors clanging shut behind her that bothered Diane Fallon about the prison, or the flashing red lights, or the blare of high pitched horns that screamed their warnings when the doors were unlocked.


Characters

Diane Fallon, Frank Duncan, David Goldstein, Dr. Lynn Webber, Deven Jin, Neva Hurley, and Izzy Wallace


The Setting

Georgia


Clymene O’Riley is in prison for killing her husband-though Diane Fallon is sure she killed another, and suspects she may have left a veritable graveyard of dead men in her wake. Either way, Diane was happy to help put her behind bars. So when Clymene informs her that one of the prison guards may be in danger from a serial killer, Diane is suspicious. And when Clymene escapes from jail, Diane becomes the prime suspect in a bloody murder that puts her in the path of an angry killer who wants her dead…


Looking for reviews for Dead Hunt? Check out:

Gumshoe Review

Glad to be a Girl


Amazon Rating-US: 4.44 out of 5 stars based on 25 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.67 out of 5 stars based on 3 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.14 out of 5 stars based on 703 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.90 out of 5 stars based on 10 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 4.03 out of 5 stars based on 30 ratings

Total Score 4.16   (updated 5/23/16)

 

poison

 

scattered-graves2#6-Scattered Graves- 2009

First Line:

Diane Fallon studied the Neanderthal child staring at her from his perch.


Characters

Diane Fallon, Frank Duncan, David Goldstein, Dr. Lynn Webber, Deven Jin, Neva Hurley, and Izzy Wallace


The Setting

Georgia


Local politics get nasty when a new mayor is elected and Diane Fallon is replaced with an incompetent crony as head of the crime lab. But just as she’s adjusting to life without murder, the newly appointed chief of police and the mayor are shot dead. Back on the job, Diane sees, but can’t quite believe, the evidence damning the former chief of detectives as the shooter. Someone with plenty to gain intends to get away with more than murder, and as the investigation reveals an ever-widening web of corruption and treachery, Diane realizes that no one is safe – least of all her.


Looking for reviews for Scattered Graves? Check out:

Reviewing the Evidence

Gumshoe Review


Amazon Rating-US: 4.20 out of 5 stars based on 25 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.29 out of 5 stars based on 7 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.19 out of 5 stars based on 664 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.08 out of 5 stars based on 13 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 4.23 out of 5 stars based on 30 ratings

Total Score 4.19   (updated 5/23/16)

 

insect

 

 

Dust to Dust#7-Dust to Dust- 2009

Listed #115 out of 130 on Goodreads Forensic Fiction Book List

First Line:

Marcella Payden straightened the silverware beside the two cobalt blue dinner plates, then lit the fat cinnamon-scented candle in the middle of her small oak dining table.


Characters

Diane Fallon, Frank Duncan, David Goldstein, Dr. Lynn Webber, Deven Jin, Neva Hurley, and Izzy Wallace


The Setting

Georgia


FBI-agent-turned-private investigator Ross Kinsley comes to Diane for help after a client’s family suffers a double tragedy. Nine years ago, the client’s son went to prison for rape and murder. Now his daughter is dead under suspicious circumstances, and her father believes she was killed uncovering evidence of her brother’s innocence.

Against her better judgment, Diane agrees to help her old FBI friend. Now, she is about to discover that crime can have deep roots and some bones, like secrets, are deadly to uncover—especially when there are skeletons in the close.


Looking for reviews for Dust to Dust? Check out:

Gumshoe Review


Amazon Rating-US: 4.68 out of 5 stars based on 28 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 5 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.15 out of 5 stars based on 653 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.30 out of 5 stars based on 21 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 4.11 out of 5 stars based on 27 ratings

Total Score 4.18   (updated 5/23/16)

 

skull

 

night killer#8-The Night Killer- 2010

Listed #63 out of 118 on Goodreads Forensic Fiction Book List

First Line:

The gray sky grew darker as Diane watched.


Characters

Diane Fallon, Frank Duncan, David Goldstein, Dr. Lynn Webber, Deven Jin, Neva Hurley, and Izzy Wallace


The Setting

Georgia


Diane is driving through a downpour on a windy mountain road after picking up a set of rare Indian artifacts when a tree suddenly slams across the hood of her car, revealing a human skeleton in its hollow trunk.

As she starts to investigate, she’s ambushed by a stranger and forced to run for her life. Stranded in the night with a killer, Diane must uncover a secret hidden away by time and distance-or she may not live to see another morning …


Looking for reviews for The Night Killer? Check out:

Mystery and My Musings


Amazon Rating-US: 4.65 out of 5 stars based on 28 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.40 out of 5 stars based on 5 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.12 out of 5 stars based on 650 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.60 out of 5 stars based on 25 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 4.15 out of 5 stars based on 30 ratings

Total Score 4.16   (updated 5/23/16)

 

 

stab

One Grave Less#9-One Grave Less- 2010

Winner of the 2010 Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Suspense/Thriller Novel

Listed #84 out of 118 on Goodreads Forensic Fiction Book List

Listed #116 out of 165 on Goodreads Best Science Thriller Book List

First Line:

The woman sat on the bare floor of the wooden cage hugging her legs to her chest.


Characters

Diane Fallon, Frank Duncan, David Goldstein, Dr. Lynn Webber, Deven Jin, Neva Hurley, and Izzy Wallace

Lindsay Chamberlain: An archaeologist that is the main character of another series that Connor’s created.


The Setting

Georgia


Forensic anthropologist Diane Fallon has tried to put the past behind her, establishing herself as head of the River Trail Museum of Natural History. Late one night at the museum, Diane hears terrified cries and finds an injured man-a former coworker from her time as a human rights activist in South America.

Left with a body, a bone, and a cryptic message, Diane has to dig back into her past with World Account International, before the next human rights abused are hers…


Looking for reviews for One Grave Less? Check out:

Mysteries and My Musings

Gumshoe Review

Thoughts in Progress


Amazon Rating-US: 4.68 out of 5 stars based on 35 ratings

Amazon Rating-UK: 4.77 out of 5 stars based on 13 ratings

GoodReads Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars based on 605 ratings

Barnes & Nobel Rating: 4.10 out of 5 stars based on 23 ratings

Library Thing Rating: 4.10 out of 5 stars based on 25 ratings

Total Score 4.27  (updated 1/20/17)

fingerprint

 

#10-Blood Evidence – In Progress

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s