The Bones of Summer is published by Anne Brooke Books. It is the second book in the Maloney series but each can be read as a standalone novel.
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.
The search soon 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, 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.
The Bones of Summer was awarded third place in the inaugural 2009 Rainbow Mystery Fiction Awards, and was also Commended in the Annual Writers' Conference Novel Competition 2008.
“The Bones of Summer by Anne Brooke is a complicated and intriguing tale of a man struggling to cope with his life in the aftermath of a painful and difficult childhood, lived with a cold, hard and uncaring religiously fanatical father. On first impression, this complex story might appear to be overwhelmed with fear, pain and angst and while that’s partly true, it’s not the whole truth. It’s also the story of Craig and Paul, finding each other, and the passion, love, desire and friendship that builds between them, despite their individual painful pasts, hidden secrets and lies. Emotions run high throughout the story and both men break down in tears on more than one occasion or verbally clash, saying hateful, vicious things to each other. Other times the sex is hot and passionate. In truth, they are often at odds, despite how they feel for one another and the search for Craig’s father and his fear of what might have happened only strain an already fragile relationship. So, while at heart The Bones of Summer is a story of Craig and Paul, the fuel that propels the story forward, and causes most of their problems, is Craig’s father, his missing ex-lover and his fear of what he might have done that summer, seven years ago. The father in this tale is a true ‘bay guy’. A fanatic so certain that what he thinks justifies his actions. I have to admit that Ms. Brooke caught me off guard when his disappearance turned into a stalking of his estranged son. Take it from me. This man is crazy, but makes a great villain, perfect for hating. It’s not all doom and gloom though. Craig has periods where a wicked sense of humor pokes through, and he says something that makes me chuckle. This is particularly true when he spouts his self-created Gay Rules. He’s also, deep down, an optimistic man who hopes for a happy and successful future.” [Read the rest of this “5 Nymph” review by Mystical Nymph at Literary Nymph Reviews]
“This is my first full marks review and to be honest I'm a little nervous as to whether what I'm going to write now will actually do this book justice. It was that good. So good, in fact, that I may run out of superlatives. So good, that my mind disappeared into 'book world' and I spent every single spare moment reading. So good, that even when I had to do pesky real life things like cooking I was still thinking about the book, wondering what was going to happen next or mulling over the characters, their merits and their flaws ... There are two main themes running through this book. The first, and most obvious theme is that of facing up to your past ... The past, as they say, has a way of catching up with you and I found it admirable in Craig that he faces up to that once he realises that he can't stay in hiding forever ... Paul too has a past. He has suffered tragedy and betrayal in his life which you would think would make him the ideal person to help Craig through this difficult time. However, things are never that simple which leads to the second theme: That of secrets and lies. Both men have secrets from each other. In one sense this is understandable; they have just met each other and are starting a tentative journey on the road to love ... Both men are strong characters who are dealing in their own way with distressing things that have happened to them. Sometimes they break down in tears; sometimes they clash horribly and say dreadful things to each other; sometimes they make love fiercely in order to forget; sometimes they close up and suffer in silence. These were complex men and I was never really sure how they would react at any time. It was this unpredictability that had me on the edge of my seat throughout the book. What a thrilling ride! Having said that, the book wasn't all doom and gloom and what saved it from being too heavy going was the internal voice of Craig. He had a typical British self-depreciating sense of humour and a ready wit, which brought out humour in the direst of circumstances ... I've only touched the surface of what was so great about this book. It wasn't just the realistic characterisation that made this book a fantastic read. The settings were so ordinary, so domestic, such as kitchens, bedrooms, an office, a club, and yet terrible things happened in those settings so that their mere ordinariness added to the chill down the spine. The plotting was tight, with each clue, each answer, being revealed slowly until a breathtaking, frantic, thrilling conclusion. Have I waxed lyrical enough about this book? I don't think I can. All I can do is recommend that you read The Bones of Summer. Actually, this goes beyond recommendation to a plea - if you like mystery; if you like character driven books; if you like reading compulsively, unable to part with the story for even a short time; then you must read this book.” [Read the rest of this 5+ star review from Jenre at Jessewave Review site]
“The Bones of Summer by Anne Brooke is an exceptionally well written and thrilling mystery novel. This novel grabbed a hold of me almost immediately and would not let go. I found myself reading until the early morning hours. The plot is quite interesting but what really intrigued me most about this book is Craig himself. He survived a terrible childhood. I admired his resilience. His father’s fanaticism is extremely disturbing and also very sad. The last few chapters are especially chilling and will stay with me for a long time.” [A 4.5 star review from Christina at Romance Junkies Reviews]
"Well, Anne Brooke has done it to me again. I read the first book in the series (Maloney's Law) where Paul Maloney, a broken man, was the main character. At the end of the book, he met Craig Robertson and even though they didn't end up together, they established a connection. This is Craig's story. And what a story it is." [Read the rest of this 4-star review at Mrs Condit Reviews]
A review from Moira Briggs on the Vulpes Libris Site
A review from Val Kovalin on the Obsidian Bookshelf Site
A review from Ann Somerville on the Outlaw Reviews Site
A review from Cassie on the Joyfully Reviewed Site