A Bone to Pick
by Melinda Leigh
A Bone to Pick is a quick, fun read, perfect when you need an easy, gripping mystery story for entertainment. Deputy Tessa Black responds to an evening call from Mrs. Driver who heard a blood curdling scream. With the other two deputies otherwise occupied, Tessa enlists the help of park ranger Logan Wild. Together, they find the body of artist and newcomer Dante Moreno harpooned against a warning sign on beach within the state park. Searching Dante’s house, they found $100,000 in cash–and a stash of portraits of nude women. With the limited resources of a small town and distracted by her mother’s Alzheimer’s and her caretaking responsibilities, Tessa must figure out who killed Dante before anyone else–including herself–is put at risk.
Set on Widow’s Island, an isolated community in the Pacific Northwest, the novella is populated with quirky characters like Jerry, the aging hippy and owner of the local head shop, and Herb Lawson who played the oboe at the local bar every Thursday night. One of my favorite aspects was the Widow’s Knitting and Activist group led by Logan’s grandmother, Jane Sutton. Not only did the group know everything happening on the island and manage to solve most problems, they were the driving force for good in the community.
The Pacific Northwest offers a beautiful setting, and the isolation of the island heightens the suspense. The possible role of the nude portraits as a motive for the killing was an unusual and interesting touch. Additionally, the book emphasized the necessity of interconnection among residents when living in a rather hostile environment.
While I liked the mystery element, I wasn’t thrilled when it ended by having Tessa wrap up the loose ends through a recap provided to her friend, FBI agent Cate Wild, Logan’s sister. The romance subplot also rang a little hollow. Although the second in a series of novellas, I had not read the first and had no trouble understanding the characters or plot. However, I enjoyed A Bone to Pick enough that I preordered Close to the Bone, the first novella in the series, and will probably read #3 and 4, too.
Thank you to Netgalley and Montlake Romance for providing an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.