This is the third novel by Laurie R. King that I am reviewing. The other two were Dreaming Spies and Island of the Mad which are books in King's Mary Russell series. The reviews are at the hyperlinked titles. The genre of Back to the Garden may be best described as contemporary/historical thriller, but the historical scenes don't feel very historical to me since they took place during my lifetime. Yet there may be readers of this review who weren't born yet during the 1970's. So whether a period feels historical can be very subjective.
Bones had been found underneath a three headed triple Goddess statue by a fictional artist named Miriam Gaddo, who is supposed to have worked with the real artist, Judy Chicago . Gaddo is referred to in the book and the investigating officer has a conversation with her, but she can't be said to be a major character in Back to the Garden.
The identification of the bones continues to be an ongoing issue because the lab that is doing the identification is behind in its work.
There are numerous local missing women and it's assumed by law enforcement that the bones may be one of these women. When the bones are finally identified, it really is a shocker. The book changed for me.
The story line led us "down the garden path", so to speak. When we find out the truth, the entire focus of Back to the Garden changed. There is a suspenseful climactic scene at the end.
There could conceivably be future books involving Raquel Laing, who was investigating this case, but I was glad to know that Laurie R. King is working on a new novel in the Mary Russell series. I will look forward to it.