Tuesday, 8 October 2019

New Release Spotlight & Review: Carved in Bone by Michael Nava

Carved in Bone by Michael Nava

A new mystery by six-time Lambda Literary award winner, Michael Nava. Set in San Francisco in 1984, Henry Rios, a gay criminal defense lawyer,  is fresh out of rehab and trying to put his life back together. He's hired by an insurance company to investigate the apparently accidental death by carbon monoxide poisoning of Bill Ryan in the Castro Street apartment he shared with his lover, who survived. As he delves into Bill Ryan's life, Rios becomes convinced Ryan’s death was no accident, and that his young lover is implicated. Meanwhile, the tsunami of AIDS is bearing down on San Francisco’s gay community.  

When criminal defence lawyer Henry Dios accepts an offer to work as an insurance claims investigator, he does so begrudgingly. Fresh out of rehab with little work available and bills to pay, the job is a necessity, not a choice. However, when he's assigned to investigate the accidental death of Bill Ryan who lived in the heart of the San Francisco gay community, his findings are not only shocking but a reminder to himself of his own predicaments.

The narrative is split between Henry's life in the present, his personal demons and trying to get his life back on track. Then there's Bill Ryan's life history leading up to his tragic death. Similarities between the two men are exposed; their concerns and insecurities during this volatile time in history. Additionally, likeable and fascinating secondary characters playing important roles in both the men's lives are present along with a twisty plot exposing the unexpected.

This novel is so much more than a crime noir novel. The author's ability to convey the setting with sincerity is palpable. He expresses the emotions and concerns of the gay community during the height of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s with raw sensitivity. When I look back at this era, I remember the Rock Hudson scandal and the hysteria in the press. Therefore Mr Nava's detailed account of life in San Francisco at this time is equally fascinating and sobering. 

The ending is poignant and thought-provoking leaving me, with a greater understanding and a desire to continue getting to know more about Henry Dios.

***arc received courtesy of Persigo Press via Rachel's Random Resources***

Michael Nava is the six-time Lambda Literary Award author of the Henry Rios novels and recipient of the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement in LGBTQ Literature. The New York Times praised him as “one of our best” crime fiction writers. The New Yorker called Henry Rios “a detective unlike any other previous protagonist in American noir.” Carved In Bone is the first Henry Rios novel in 20 years. Says novelist David Ebershoff (The Danish Girl) Carved In Bone is “rich, haunting and deeply engaged with the world.”

Twitter @micnavawriter 
Instagram: @micnavawriter
Podcast: The Henry Rios Mysteries Podcast (I-tune, Spotify, etc.)  

No comments:

Post a Comment