REVIEW: Skin and Bone (Digging up Bones #2) by TA Moore
Cloister Witte and his K-9 partner, Bourneville, find the lost and bring them home.
But the job doesn’t always end there.
Janet Morrow, a young trans woman, lies in a coma after wandering away from her car during a storm. But just because Cloister found the young tourist doesn’t mean she’s home. What brought her to Plenty, California… and who didn’t want her to leave?
With the help of Special Agent Javi Merlo, who continues to deny his growing feelings for the rough-edged deputy, Cloister unearths a ten-year-old conspiracy of silence that taps into Plenty’s history of corruption.
Janet Morrow’s old secrets aren’t the only ones coming to light. Javi has tried to put his past behind him, but some people seem determined to pull his skeletons out of the closet. His dark history with a senior agent in Phoenix complicates not just the investigation but his relationship with Cloister.
Dear T.A. Moore,
I was surprised and at the same time quite pleased when I saw this book had been released. For those readers who don’t know, this is a sequel to “Bone to Pick” in which Cloister and Javi a/k/a Javier Merlo started their “not dating”. I did not reread that first book prior to reading the sequel so I have to note that I really don’t remember anything about the mystery they investigated. I do, however, remember Javi was an ass to Cloister way more times than I cared to count.
I love prickly characters, I love “from enemies to lovers” vibe. I even love asshole characters when those characters have motivations behind their assholish tendencies. As far as I was concerned Javi was being one for no reason and I disliked that. I thought where the relationship was concerned the first book needed a sequel quite badly, because while the author wisely portrayed their romance ending as barely HFN in the first book, I mostly wanted Cloister to run.
Here comes the sequel and I have to say it pleased me a great deal. In the beginning we learn the men stopped their “not dating” relationship of course they didn’t call a relationship), but very soon they end up in each other’s orbits, on the same case, and they start seeing each other again. Let me just say that I am much fond of Javi now that I’ve finished this book. He is still prickly, but we can easily see that he cares about Cloister and sometimes he even admits to himself that he does. By the end of the book we can see he cares a lot. I never doubted Cloister cared about Javi, not even in the first book.
“The fact that he wanted to lean back against Cloister, to casually use his shoulder as a prop, was different. So was the discovery that he couldn’t see any reason why he shouldn’t. His private life was still his own business, but after he dropped Cloister off at the station in borrowed sweats, only the deliberately clueless wouldn’t assume they’d fucked. As for his distance…. Well, once you begged someone not to die on you, it was hard to convince yourself you didn’t care at least a bit. It was dark, but that didn’t mean he could pretend Bourneville had learned to talk and throw her voice.”
“What gave him pause was that Cloister could do the same to him with a rough caress and the scrape of stubble and teeth down Javi’s throat. When had Javi’s buttons gotten that easy to press? Or had Cloister just paid attention? Everyone took Cloister at face value—the drawl, the dog, and the GED—and missed that he was a good cop and a better man. Even Cloister seemed to miss it sometimes.”
I really like how this author manages to mix up mystery and romance in her stories. This book is very heavy on mystery plot, but what she gave me in the relationship department was satisfying enough for me to want more. I actually think while the author leaves both men in a much stronger place relationship wise at the end of the book, their development may need another book. Both still have issues and reservations about where their relationship was going and would eventually they end up as a couple.
The mystery was *dark* as far as I was concerned, even if it ended better than I’d hoped. The blurb informs the reader what Javi and Cloister are investigating, the attack on young trans woman that put her in a coma, but in addition to the crime itself… what the investigation uncovered and all the surrounding circumstances… it felt really bleak to me. It made perfect sense, don’t get me wrong, but I really appreciated the ending of the mystery plot where the victim was concerned.
I didn’t guess the villain but, at about 80%, it made me so frustrated that I looked at the ending.
Bourneville was just as awesome as she was in the first book.