Title: Bone to Pick
Author: T.A. Moore
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 14, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Page Count: 240
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Cloister Witte is a man with a dark past and a cute dog. He’s happy to talk about the dog all day, but after growing up in the shadow of a missing brother, a deadbeat dad, and a criminal stepfather, he’d rather leave the past back in Montana. These days he’s a K-9 officer in the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and pays a tithe to his ghosts by doing what no one was able to do for his brother—find the missing and bring them home.
He’s good at solving difficult mysteries. The dog is even better.
This time the missing person is a ten-year-old boy who walked into the woods in the middle of the night and didn’t come back. With the antagonistic help of distractingly handsome FBI agent Javi Merlo, it quickly becomes clear that Drew Hartley didn’t run away. He was taken, and the evidence implies he’s not the kidnapper’s first victim. As the search intensifies, old grudges and tragedies are pulled into the light of day. But with each clue they uncover, it looks less and less likely that Drew will be found alive.
I have such mixed feelings about this book…I’ll see if I can’t bring some coherency to my thoughts.
This was definitely a different style of m/m romance, in that there IS no romance. Javi has a strict policy of not screwing where he works, but for some reason makes an exception for Cloister. Cloister thinks Javi is an asshole, but hey, if he’s going to get some action, can’t be too picky, right? There are some feelings involved, but they are buried so deeply that I don’t think even Bourneville could find them.
The reader finds out more about Witte than they do Javi. Witte comes from a very broken childhood that drives his motives to the current day. The reader learns very little about Javi, and I think it’s this detachment from a main character that detracted from the story for me. The reader see’s there’s some kind of attraction between the two men, but I never felt it was anything more than just getting ones rocks off on a convenient and consensual partner. So my emotional investment in the characters – Javi – is basically “meh”.
The mystery was interesting and predictable at the same time – I thought the “who done it” was rather obvious and had the perp pegged from the start, but how Javi and Cloister figure it out? That was cool. The twists and turns of a decades old cold case and the current day missing child were well written and engaging.
Cloister and Bourneville – I LOVED the interaction between Witte and “Bon Bon”. I loved seeing a K-9 at work and the research the author did only enhanced the realism, the, writing and plot. This is what kept me engaged in the story – the dog and her handler.
I couldn’t tell if this was a book one or a stand-alone; it really could go either way. Kudo’s to the author for a non-conventional m/m romance/mystery if it is a stand-alone. If a sequel is planned, I would definitely read it.