Carved in Bone
Michael Nava is a true master who weaves a page flipping mystery with twists and surprises, peppered with subtle peeks into contradictions of the human heart and psyche, not to mention wry lessons in history and politics, along the way. Carved in Bone tells a lacerative story of grasping for identity and love in the makeshift gay ghetto of San Francisco in the 1970s, and ground zero for the AIDS crisis in the decade that followed. The community of characters gravitated to the Great City through differing means, some fleeing for their lives from bigoted origins, and one fortunate enough to have found his way there from a family ahead of its time who loved him for who he was. This difference of provenance collides in a May-December relationship, providing the vehicle for a harshly unromantic and honest exploration of romance, where a fear driven compulsion to avoid abandonment sucks away the oxygen from free spirited love bestowed upon it. It is a tragic and true-to-life dynamic mirrored in a larger narrative puzzle that Nava lays out in gripping noir. Two interconnected time periods gradually converge to lay bare the solution of a deftly woven mystery that engages both the intellect and the heart. This is a beautiful and saddening tale, and a tribute to the suffering, resistance, courage and defeats of an era that gave bloody birth to a movement whose implications the larger American and world communities are still absorbing.
Five stars without reservation.
– Eric Borgerson
Michael Nava is author of the award winning Henry Rios mystery series and other novels. His work is beyond entertaining; it is also a cultural mirror and record. His books are taught in university queer and Latino studies courses. Michael has been revisiting and publishing new editions of the Henry Rios mysteries, yielding incredibly well wrought and engaging stories that blur into historical fiction. Michael has recently launched his own independent publishing house, Persigo Press.