Reviews

  Some critics of crime fiction say it’s too formulaic. Outside the Bones could be offered as proof that it’s full of surprises. Lyn Di Iorio’s first novel is a weirdly compelling, funny, sexy, and deeply strange tale of a Nuyorican practitioner of palo monte, a Caribbean form of magic with African roots. Fina, who narrates the story in a sassy, earthy voice, has been putting spells on people for some time, but it has been mostly for show. She wants to learn how to really communicate with the spirits, so apprentices herself to Victor, a well-known master of magic. Once he initiates Fina into his dark arts, she begins to interact with the spirits of the dead. She wants to use her new powers to discourage two women who have turned the head of Chico, a musician with whom Fina has fallen in love. But as Fina begins to communicate with the spirits, she connects with a woman who vanished from a Puerto Rican beach 16 years ago and has plans of her own. Though this unusual story violates most of the classic rules S. S. Van Dine once set for the detective story, it does offer one thing armchair detectives often seek: a window into another culture. Lyn Di Iorio, a New Yorker born in Puerto Rico and a scholar of Latino literature, has taken the crime story to a strange and mysterious new place. Adventurous readers interested in Afro-Caribbean culture will want to follow her there.”

Mystery Scene, the oldest, largest, and most authoritative guide to the crime fiction genre

ADVANCE PRAISE

“Come meet Fina, the irrepressible, hilarious, tough-talking heroine of Lyn Di Iorio’s delightful first novel, Outside the Bones. Written with humor and verve, no small amount of magic and the sassy supernatural, this no-holds barred story will grab you by the lapels and not let you go.”

Cristina García, author of The Lady Matador’s Hotel and Dreaming in Cuban

 

“Utilizing rhythmic prose and enchanting humor, Lyn Di Iorio has written a brilliant love story full of magical urbanism that is sure to make Outside the Bones a modern day classic.”

Ernesto Quiñonez, author of Bodega Dreams and Chango’s Fire 

 

“Toni Morrison meets Alexander McCall Smith on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in this brilliant tale of ghosting and rescue by Di Iorio’s unlikely heroine.  Driven by raw humor, a wonderful eroticism, and a laser ear, the author listens in on Fina’s world and shares observations as powerful as the noise from the cauldron.”

Catherine E. McKinley, author of Indigo: In Search of the Color that Seduced the World

 

“Fina, the narrator of Outside the Bones is both raw and delicate, a particularly entertaining variation of the id writ large. Di Iorio’s observations are potent and poetic. Outside the Bones is a moving and entertaining read.”

— Darcey Steinke, author of Suicide Blonde and Easter Everywhere

 

“In the entertainingly loud and street-toughened voice of a Nuyorican ‘big girl,’ Lyn Di Iorio’s readers first believe that they’re following the erotic detailing of an older murder mystery, only to find themselves on a journey stretching from Manhattan’s Upper West Side through Central Park to a place in Puerto Rico where river and sea meet, where a body burned and where the bones have yet to find peace.  A fresh and original approach to fiction grounded in African-Caribbean spirituality.”

Marie-Elena John, author of Unburnable

 

“The musical prose in this novel sings like Luis Rafael Sánchez’s classic Macho Camacho’s Beat; and the love object here, Chico the promiscuous and gifted musician, also recalls Oscar HIjuelos’ The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love.  This very, very funny novel flashes back at moments to the island, the book’s symbolic ‘Barrio Sal Pa’fuera.’  But it is the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and especially Central Park—where the characters in the book carry out their magical rituals—that comes to life in these pages in a spectacular way, emphasizing that the Upper West Side was in the past, and still is in and out of this novel, an enclave of Puerto Rican and Latino identity.”

Ernesto Quiñonez, author of Bodega Dreams and Chango’s Fire