Monday, August 20, 2012

Discussion Guide - The Bones Dance Foxtrot

Author Donan Berg's The Bones Dance Foxtrot, Second Skeleton Series Mystery, will be the featured book at CASI Book Club, Davenport, IA, in September. The following book club discussion topics have been prepared especially for them.

Book Club Discussion Questions

The Bones Dance Foxtrot by Donan Berg

  1. How does protagonist Jake respond to the death of Athena? Is his response to his wife’s death realistic? If not, why? Is there any “normal” reaction to a spouse’s death?
  2. For the characters, Emily, Patricia, Kate and Chief Coltraine, what is disclosed in their individual past life’s history that influences their actions? Do persons in real life always act consistent? What about Robert?
  3. Jake’s occupation is as an over-the-road truck driver. Would he act different if he were employed as a person who “drove” a desk eight hours a day?
  4. Prophet Jeremiah’s biblical words are quoted frequently. What do they foreshadow? If someone said it was an author’s trick to advance the story’s plot or to generate artificial suspense, would you agree or disagree? Is there a logical connection between a truck driver’s life and the fact that motels place Gideon Bibles in nightstands?
  5. Within the novel, the author expends many words, including in-person point-of-view, to detail actions from a police perspective. Is that helpful, engaging or distracting?
  6. Many of the characters, including Jake, participate in Emily’s local community theater. Does Patricia’s actor role foreshadow her personality or is her reality the direct opposite of the role she plays? How does Patricia’s role impact Jake, if at all?
  7. Does Kate’s desire, as a widow, not to remarry square with her outward interactions with Jake? Also, is her diner veteran’s wall a true memorial or is it a business strategy?
  8. Is Chief Coltraine’s gut reaction about Jake based on his experience or is it illogical for a veteran police supervisor, in a new job, to go against other department members?
  9. Emily extends a hand of friendship to Jake. What motivates her? Is Jake a father figure? Is Emily just friendly to anyone who joins the acting troupe?
  10. What does Emily’s hiring of Clem say about her? Does Clem impact Jake?
  11. What about Jake’s quirk concerning measurements? Do you know any such person?
  12. Is there humor in the story? What about Jake picking up the stuffed chickadee in his search for the stolen gold? Any other examples?
  13. How important is Oscar in solving the mystery? Has the author, considering his previous novel, A Body To Bones, in which a young boy named Oscar found a skeleton, purposefully selected the name of Oscar to point to a significant discovery?
  14. What role do the dances play in the story? What about the clothes worn by the dancers? What about Jake’s relationship with whom he dances? Does his treatment of his dance partners reveal anything about Jake’s personality?
  15. The bank robbery is a past event happening before Jake arrives in Paradise. What ramifications impact on Jake?
  16. Jake is a veteran. He talks about his military service with self-deprecation. Is there something else about his military service that has remained hidden? Could it be he didn’t even realize how service to his country could impact his actions?
  17. Jake is presented with a crisis. What motivates him to react the way he does? Is it a past or recent experience or a person? Does Jake’s reaction indicate he’s more concerned about one person’s well-being or that Jake would act as he does for anyone in peril?
     Author Donan Berg's Baby Bones, Third Skeleton Series Mystery, now available in trade paperback at and . Earlier releases included an Ebook and Mp3 (audio) book.

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