Title: The Bones of Summer
Series: Sequel to Maloney’s Law
Author: Anne Brooke
Genre: MM / Mystery – Suspense
Publisher: Amber Allure (June 2nd, 2013)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥2.5~3 Hearts
Blurb: When Craig Robertson’s religious fanatic father disappears, Craig is forced to return to the home he left behind after an underage affair in order to look for answers. He takes with him his new lover, private investigator Paul Maloney, who is more than willing to help solve the mystery.
During his initial search, Craig locates items that belonged to Michael, his lover in that long-ago ill-fated affair, and soon discovers that Michael has disappeared as well. The search becomes an investigation into Craig’s past, and, because of distressing gaps in his memory, he’s terrified of the truths he might find.
As Craig’s obsession with uncovering clues grows, however, his fragile relationship with Paul begins to disintegrate. Haunted and stalked, Craig has to face down the horror of his memories if he wants to have any hope of a future at all…
Product Link: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/BonesSummer.html
Review: The first thing I noticed about this book – which totally disappointed me – was the fact that it’s written from Craig’s perspective. It’s Craig’s story. In Maloney’s Law we met him at the end of the book and we got a very nice impression about him. The easy going sexy as hell model was bound to bring new air and adventures to Paul’s hard – so far – life. But, in all honesty, I was disappointed. My main love, Paul, was lost in this book. I missed his peculiar mind and his melancholic thoughts. I missed the mystery that always followed him, I missed Paul himself.
Yes, surely he was in the story as he did pursue a relationship with Craig and helped him through this “mystery”, but in no way was Craig a match for Paul when it came down to interesting characters. I could not help but compare the two of them. I could not help but compare the two books and the results are not good.
As I said, Craig as we met him is an easy-going, always happy-go-lucky guy. It’s a façade, it’s a persona he puts out to escape his ugly past and a heavily disturbing childhood. The moment Paul steps in his life; his past chooses to reach him again. His inability to recall facts and memories from disturbing events that happened with his first lover and his father is what makes him decide to get Paul involved in some sort of search and find; for a missing ex, for a missing father, and for missing memories.
I don’t know if this story could be better, but as it is, it was frustrating in many ways. I tried to like Craig. I really did and perhaps too hard, but failed. The character is constantly hiding behind lies (it made me wonder with Paul’s past and his affair with Dominic how he tolerated it). In the beginning at least it seemed as if he could not get one single truth from his mouth. Later on we readjust our opinion when we witness him that the person he lies the most is himself. It becomes truly annoying seeing how he tries NOT to find the truths he’s searching for. I disliked most the fact that he would go and lock himself up to “think” only to try to not “think” those thoughts. It was a study on evasion and yes, I understand his past had a toll on his behavior, but it was so hard to concentrate on the book when all thoughts and events came around as a big jumble, making hard to keep your interest.
There was also the “mystery/suspense” part of the book that in no way was a match for Maloney’s Law. It was too easy to see through this plot. It was too easy to find the leads for the psycho-killer. In addition, the fact that it took forever to get there, the fact that too many leads were left unexplored and Paul’s unique abilities were left sleeping, really hit that spot of anger and frustration for me. I’m still not over the fact that Paul was a secondary character here.
I could go on and say how the intensity was lacking and the emotions lacked chemistry, the friendships were by no means the same level we were used to in the first book, the desperation levels too, but there is no reason to keep going on. I’ll just go on and on comparing and the end result is that the sequel is too low and doesn’t even come close to the brilliance of the first one. The stake was raised too high.
In the end, this book comes close to 3 Hearts because objectively it was good and well written. You can read it as a standalone easily. It focuses on religious obsession and how people twist and perverse faith into abnormality and loses the very point of it. Bearing that in mind and if you’ve not read the first book I’m assuming you’ll like this one.