Title: The Bones Beneath My Skin
Author: T.J. Klune
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: October 26, 2018
Genre(s): Paranormal, Romance
Page Count: 375 pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
In the spring of 1995, Nate Cartwright has lost everything: his parents are dead, his older brother wants nothing to do with him, and he’s been fired from his job as a journalist in Washington DC. With nothing left to lose, he returns to his family’s summer cabin outside the small mountain town of Roseland, Oregon to try and find some sense of direction.
The cabin should be empty.
Inside is a man named Alex. And with him is an extraordinary little girl who calls herself Artemis Darth Vader.
Artemis, who isn’t exactly as she appears.
Soon it becomes clear that Nate must make a choice: let himself drown in the memories of his past, or fight for a future he never thought possible.
Because the girl is special. And forces are descending upon them who want nothing more than to control her.
I wanted to like this story more, I really did. Don’t get me wrong; it is a good tale and well worth the time to read. Character development is well done although the frequent use of flashbacks to fill in the histories does interfere with the flow of the story. As the story is told from the perspective of one of the three main characters there is a difference in how personal detail is presented even though the book is written in the third person. The effect is that the reader learns most about the feelings of one of the characters and a lot less about the others. In fact, one of them remains somewhat of an enigma. Strangely, personal histories are only touched upon. What is provided in the flashback are events that provide context. This results in all of the characters being somewhat incomplete and the strengths are less to do with the individual and more to do with their connection to others. Where secondary characters are introduced they have sufficient detail to allow for interaction but it is clear that they will remain in the background.
There are a number of locations used throughout the book. Each is rich in detail and provides an effective backdrop to the story as it unfolds. As the story is set a number of years ago there are interesting cultural points inserted at various points.
There are no great surprises in this story and the reader often second-guesses what is going to happen throughout. This is a little disappointing as it is always good to be wrong-footed every so often.
The growing relationship between the two men in this story is presented in a way that suggests that it would never be if circumstances hadn’t forced them together. This is another aspect of the story that is more about the ensemble than about the feelings of individuals. There is an opportunity for passion but it comes at times that are not planned and so the reader is somewhat unprepared for their occurrence. The description is hurried to match the context and reinforces the potential for something more complete at some later date rather than at that instant. Consequently, it feels somewhat hollow.
The plot relies on tension to maintain the momentum. As such there are frequent moments of tension both in terms of events as well as interpersonal. However, these are not overplayed. All situations are short-lived and resolved even when the story may have benefited from more risk. Most notably, unlike many stories of this kind the tension around the denouement is underplayed even though there is a lot going on.
The end of the story provides the opportunity to fulfil a goal that is repeated a number of times throughout the book. It is not a neat ending and there is a little jumping around to get to this point. This is in line with the rest of the book but could have been more momentous.
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