Today I am thrilled to be bringing you my review of Carved In Bone by Michael Nava – Big thanks to Michael for providing me with a copy of the book for review, and for Rachel of Rachels Random Resources for inviting me to take part on the tour. Let’s get started, shall we?
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.
I love a good LGBTQ read and I am just as keen on a good crime, but this is the first time I have stumbled upon both within the same book! I can’t believe I have only just discovered this author, and I will definitely be going back to read the rest of his back catalogue now that I am aware of it!
This was so much more than ‘just’ a crime novel; Yes, we follow Henry Rios as he investigates a suspicious looking life insurance claim, but it is so much more than that. Based in San Francisco, the heart of the gay community, we get taken into the true horror of that world in the 80s. The AIDS epidemic is just beginning to rear its ugly head, just another fear to add in to the gay community amongst many.
Nava weaves together a fantastic story in this book, with such a vibrant array of characters, each of them with their own talents and flaws, giving them so much depth and likeability. Switching between following Rios on his investigation, and our victim Bill when his journey in San Francisco begins, we see both ends of the scale; Rios being a well established member of the community, Bill arriving in San Francisco alone, broke, scared. It sadly, but skilfully, paints a picture that has been the reality of many LGBTQ people.
This is not a cheerful book, then again no crime book is, but still I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. I was glued to the pages and heavily invested in the characters and what happened to them from the word go. I can’t wait to crack on with the other books in the Rios series, I am truly happy to have discovered a new author I love!
About The Author
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.”
Michaels podcast, The Henry Rios Mysteries Podcast, can also be found online via the usual channels. (iTunes, Spotify, etc.)