BookView review: BEN’S BONES by Joseph C. Gioconda

BookView Review rated it:

Rating: 5 out of 5.


Based on the True Story of 28 Bodies Buried in Benjamin Franklin’s Basement

Joseph C. Gioconda

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Pub date March 30, 2023

ISBN 979-8378065356

Price $12.99 (USD) Paperback, $0.00 Kindle edition

Gioconda nimbly blends fact and fiction in this exhilarating book that unravels the sinister origins of modern medicine in 18th-century London. 1760’s London. Crime is rampant. Pregnant women and children are disappearing and thieves are snatching dead bodies from graves. Benjamin Franklin arrives from the USA to perform diplomatic duties to the crown. He rents rooms from a lonely widow whose daughter Polly becomes his surrogate daughter. Polly marries Dr. William Hewson who becomes involved in the shady practice of procuring human bodies. Will Franklin learn about Hewson? Gioconda convincingly sketches the Hunters brothers, their victims, their henchmen, and the lawmen who either had no desire to catch them or tried but failed. He does a great job of bringing Hewson’s feud with the Hunters to life on the pages. Ben and Polly are compellingly sketched. The seamlessly told narrative in multiple voices, with journal entries and news clippings added in the mix, unfolds like a high-stakes crime novel, mining the horrors of the ancient medical procedures. The author does a solid job digging through the historical facts to get a clear picture of the whole scenario, noting that while Franklin’s knowledge about Hewson’s and the Hunters’ involvement in the illegal procurement and disposal of human corpses cannot be denied, his involvement in murders is difficult to prove. True crime fans will find this a disturbing thrill ride.


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