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Publisher's Summary

Was Bill Ryan's death an accident? Henry Rios has his doubts.

The first new Henry Rios novel in 20 years from six-time Lambda Literary award winner Michael Nava is a brilliantly plotted mystery that weaves together the gripping story of two gay men against the backdrop of 1980s San Francisco as the tsunami of AIDS bears down upon the city.

Kirkus Review says: "Delivering an unusual subject and structure, this tale offers refreshing emotional depth and a gay narrative seldom seen in thrillers."

©2019 Michael Nava (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

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Brilliant series

I can’t wait to move to the next Henry Rios story. Powerful, emotive and intriguing. Quite a ride.

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  • Annika
  • 16-05-2020

I love it!

Carved in Bone was told from two timelines, the now following Henry Rios in his present in the 80’s. It’s set a while after the first book, I’m not too sure about the timeline, but I think it’s been a few years since the events in Lay Your Sleeping Head. He’s now trying to start over and get his life back on track. He’s sober and has a sponsor, next up is a job. And a step in that direction is to get back to practice law again, which is why a friend offers him a trial position investigating insurance claims to make sure they aren’t fraudulent. His first case is investigating Bill Ryan’s life.

Bill Ryan’s story is the second timeline we are following. It starts out in the early 70’s when Bill was a teenager just realizing he was gay and being thrown out and ostracised for being gay. We follow him to San Francisco and how he creates a new life for himself there, with new friends and new loves. Then we reach the 80 where his life changes drastically and ultimately culminates in the reason why Henry is tasked to investigate his life, trying to get a feel for him and the people surrounding him.

I love the quiet pacing of this series so far. It’s almost soothing in a way. Well, if you ignore the tragic and horrible events taking place, because they will play with your emotions like nothing else. Not in a manipulating way or for the sake of it, just because there are so much to be felt and that life isn’t always fair or easy – especially during this time. The way of life back then felt slower, there was time to just stop and take a breath and just be for a moment. I’m not trying to say it was better, but it was different. Michael Nava has a very captivating way of writing. He paints pictures so clearly and makes you feel deeply.

Thom Rivera was a wonderful addition to this book. His performance made Henry, Bill, Nick, Adam and the rest of them come alive. He fit the story, the characters and the timeline. He took you back to the 80’s just as surely Nava did with his words. He made you feel everything the characters did, the good and the bad. It was wonderful to listen to his voice for the past hours, and I’m looking forward to listen to the rest of the series.

Both the book and the series are highly recommended to anyone looking for a well-written gay mystery.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review fo Love Bytes.

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  • Leah Brock
  • 23-10-2021

Extraordinary Storytelling

‘Carved in Bone’ far surpasses any sort of expectations I had for this second book of the Henry Rios series. Michael Nava uses an alternating dual narrative to tell a heartbreaking story of rejection, abandonment and loneliness against the harrowing backdrop of the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

The story involves two timelines. One following Bill Ryan’s life--from family rejection of his homosexuality to his coming-of-age in 1970’s San Francisco. The other detailing Henry’s struggle to rebuild his reputation as a lawyer after rehab for alcoholism. Henry takes a job investigating a life insurance claim and this is the place his story dove-tails with Bill’s.

I’m finding it difficult to write any opinions about this story that don’t also include spoilers. I’ll just say this: I love the way the story is constructed. Nava’s recounting of Bill’s story profoundly elevates the emotional impact of the ending. It’s sad, even bleak, but couldn’t have been told any other way.

Thom Rivera’s narration of the story is very good. His interpretation and delivery of Henry’s voice matches the tone set by Nava’s writing.

Highly recommended.

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  • Troy
  • 05-06-2020

Amazing

Nava is an incredible author and Henry Rios is a spectacular and fascinating character. The way the mystery is weaved with scenes from the past interacting with Rios’ present had me hooked from the beginning.

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  • spencear
  • 21-09-2020

Investigating a killer

Difficult to listen to for those of us that survived those early days of the gay plague. I got a little confused now and again as Bill and Henry's stories switched back and forth, but overall an interesting mystery, with characters that felt real. The performance was good and the actor is very easy on the ear.

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