Current Reading: A Borrowing of Bones by Paula Munier

A Borrowing of Bones by Paula Munier, St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books 2018 hardcover, mystery novel.

The Plot:

Following the death of Mercy Carr’s fiancée Sgt. Martinez in Afghanistan, the retired military police officer, along with Elvis, Martinez’s bomb sniffing dog, the now retired pair have moved back to Vermont to recover from their physical and psychological wounds. During a hike in the woods, they find a recently abandoned baby. Seeking help, they meet Game Warden Troy Warner and Susie Bear, his Newfoundland retriever mix search & rescue dog. Searching the area, Elvis finds a shallow grave and the skull in it has a bullet hole.

The authorities find, nearby, a handmade belt buckle that might help identify the remains. The abandoned baby’s mother, Amy Walker, sneaks into the hospital and steals her baby, then turns up at Mercy’s house. Her home life with an abusive stepfather has kept her on the run while Adam, the artist and activist who’s the baby’s father, has forced them to live off the grid. Mercy wants to help Amy keep her baby, but when she finds the stepfather murdered, things look bad, especially in the eyes of arrogant State Police Detective Kai Harrington, who, unimpressed by Mercy or Troy Warner, warns them off the case. The bones that alerted Elvis are most likely those of local troublemaker Wayne Herbert, whose mother and brothers are still enmeshed in many illegal enterprises.

Determined to tackle Amy’s problems and the possibly related case of Herbert, Mercy puts herself and Elvis in danger as they continue to hunt for clues with the help of a reluctant Troy, Susie Bear, and Mercy’s grandmother, a well-loved veterinarian.

My Take:
I got this first novel from the library because it was recommended as being similar to the books of Julia Spencer-Fleming, which I have enjoyed. While there are some similarities, I didn’t find the character building or plotting quite as strong, perhaps typically in a first novel, and the lead character made many errors of poor judgement, causing problems for the investigation. There is a new book, Blind Search, the second in the series, which is just out. I assume it will be better, and I’ll try it.

Have you read this? What are you reading?

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Mystery. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Current Reading: A Borrowing of Bones by Paula Munier

  1. Steve Oerkfitz says:

    I haven’t read this, There seems to be a lot of series featuring someone with a dog. For years it was someone with a cat.
    I have read mostly short stories in anthologies and mags (Asimov, F&SF) this week. Especially liked the Matthew Hughes novelette in the new F&SF.
    Right now I’m reading Night Watch by David Taylor which I am enjoying. The new Loren Estleman is waiting for me at the Library.

  2. Cap'n Bob Napier says:

    Sounds like a Hallmark movie.

  3. tracybham says:

    I have not heard of this series, and I will wait until you try book 2 in the series before I try it.

    Since last week I finished Cold Light by John Harvey, and it was good but somewhat sad. And with a creepy villain. Of course, I will be continuing the series. Then I read The Twelve Deaths of Christmas, by Marian Babson, with another creepy villain.

    Now I am reading The Shop Window Murders by Vennon Loder, which seems very interesting but I only less about 20% into it, so we will see.

  4. Patti Abbott says:

    THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, Can’t believe I never read it before.

  5. The Library just notified me that Lee Child’s BLUE MOON is waiting for me. I’ve been focused on Library books this week because when Patrick and Katie arrive this weekend schedules (and reading time) go out the window. And, of course, I’m working ahead on my blog so that’s covered during the Holidays. Christmas cards get mailed today. Most of the Christmas shopping is completed. Despite the late start, I think we’re in good shape for the circus of the next two weeks. Ho, ho, ho!

  6. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Nice coincidence, as I read BLIND SEARCH this week. Mercy has grown more confident and Munier does a good job with the Vermont setting. Of course, you can see the obvious attraction of Mercy and Troy, and I’m sure in future books they will get together (once his soon-to-be-ex-wife is out of the picture). Recommended.

    Also read the new Longmire, LAND OF WOLVES, with Walt recovering from his wounds in the previous, Mexican-set, book, which I didn’t read (and don’t intend to). The usual cast is on hand, Vic mostly, with Henry making only a token appearance. Good one, fast read.

    I also read a couple of short story collections, THE CHRISTMAS CARD CRIME and Other Stories, edited by Martin Edwards, which you already read, and WHIRLIGIGS by O. Henry.

  7. Jerry House says:

    Another week of just short stories and graphic novels for me, Rick.

    I have loved Shaun Tan’s work ever since I read THE ARRIVAL. This week I read his RULES OF SUMMER and THE BIRD KING: AN ARTIST’s NOTEBOOK. RULES is an imaginative look at what a kid should and should not do over the summer months; BIRD KING is just what it claims to be — a sketchbook of marvelous drawings. Both were quick. fun reads.

    I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy Raina Telgemeier’s graphic novels aimed at a YA audience. DRAMA is a story of friendship, ingenuity, and questions of gender identity among a group of middle school students putting on a school play. Three of her GNs based on Ann M. Martin’s Babysitter Club YA series (KRISTY’S GREAT IDEA, MARY ANNE SAVES THE DAY, and CLAUDIA AND MAN JANINE) all explore friendship between the girls in the club.

    Two GN’s were ones seven-year-old Jack and I read together: an adaptation of INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL by John Jackson Miller and BUMBLEBEE MOVIE PREQUEL: FROM CYBERTRON WITH LOVE by John Barber. Neither was impressive unless you’re seven.

    Catching up with Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan’s SAGA series, I read Volumes Eight and Nine. Great stuff with some surprising plot twists. I also read Book Three of John Lewis’s autobiographic GN MARCH. Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell did a fantastic job on this important and moving series.

    MY FFB this week was MAX ALLAN COLLINS’ MICKEY SPILLANE’S MIKE HAMMER: THE DAY I DIED, based on an old radio script Spillane had written. Highly recommended for those who like this stuff.

    Short story books I finished were A BOOK OF BARGAINS, an 1876 fantasy collection by Vincent O’Sullivan, David Masson’s SF collection THE CALTRAPS OF TIME, Mary Elizabeth Counselman’s fantasy/horror collection HALF IN SHADOW (the UK version, not the Arkham House one), Bill Pronzini and Martin H. Greenberg’s mystery anthology HOMICIDAL ACTS (very good), Vic Ghidalia’s fantasy/SF anthology WIZARDS AND WARLOCKS (a mixed bag with some neat stories), and “Garret Ford”‘s abysmal anthology SCIENCE AND SORCERY, which contained, among others, the worst story by Arthur K. Burks I have ever read. ( “Ford,” BTW, was a pseudomyn once thought to be of small-press publisher William Crawford, perhaps working with his wife Margaret; it now appears it may have been Margaret acting alone.)

    Some of the stories I have been reading have been from early issues of F&SF. I’ve finished two of those issues, Spring 1950 (issue #2 and the first to add the words “and Science Fiction” to the title) and February 1951(issue # 6). I love these early Boucher/McComas-edited issues and will probably read a number more over the next few weeks.

    It’s been a bit chilly here, sort of like New England in the fall, with rain over a good part of the week. Rain is nice. I like rain, but I hope none of it rains on your parade this coming week, Rick.

  8. Steve Lewis says:

    Thanks for the review, but I’ll pass on this one. I’m not a big fan of dog mysteries, and your lukewarm comments tipped me over the edge, the wrong way!

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