Thursday, September 13, 2018

A Borrowing of Bones by Paula Munier

First Line: Grief and guilt are the ghosts that haunt you when you survive what others do not.

In an attempt to walk off grief, ex-military policewoman Mercy Carr and ex-military bomb-sniffing dog Elvis go deep into the Vermont woods every single day. Each day reminds Mercy that Elvis, a Belgian Malinois with canine PTSD, was her fiancé's partner, and-- now that Martinez is dead-- to Elvis, Mercy is never going to be more than second best.

It's the busy Fourth of July weekend and the entire town of Northshire has been gearing up to celebrate for days. To Mercy and Elvis, it's just another walk in the woods until Elvis alerts to explosives and they find a squalling baby abandoned near a shallow grave that appears to contain human bones.

U.S. Game Warden Troy Warner and his search and rescue dog Susie Bear respond to Mercy's 911 call, and the four of them find themselves working together to find a missing mother, solve a cold case, and keep the citizens of Northshire safe on what could be an incendiary holiday weekend.

I've quickly become hooked on mysteries featuring working dogs-- especially military or police dogs. I think it's because the bond between human and dog is so strong and because the dog's capabilities are extraordinary. When I learned of this first Mercy and Elvis mystery, I knew I had to read it, and the only thing I can say now is that I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

A Borrowing of Bones is fast-paced and well-plotted, with a mystery that keeps readers guessing. Munier also makes her Vermont setting come to life, so much so that I wanted to book the next flight there. Not only do you get a feel for the lifestyle of the people living there, you can also do a bit of fantasizing since the main characters have what would be to me dream homes. (Mercy and Elvis in a perfect cabin deep in the woods complete with a fireplace and a wall of books, and Troy and Susie Bear in a converted fire lookout tower.)

However, the characters of Mercy, Elvis, Troy, and Susie Bear are what really matter. Mercy has a lot of sharp edges and bad memories. With the special bond between Martinez and Elvis, she's always felt like an outsider, as though the man and his dog were a closed circuit. She's got a lot to work through, and Troy quickly discovers that it's going to be a challenge to get to know her. I also liked the fact that Elvis has canine PTSD since most people probably aren't aware that dogs can suffer from it. Yes, compared to Mercy and Elvis, Troy and Susie Bear are big softies, so this is a relationship that's going to be fun to watch develop.

If you like fast-paced, intriguing mysteries in vivid settings that are filled with multi-faceted characters and wonderful working dogs, I strongly recommend that you get in on the ground floor of the Mercy and Elvis series. A Borrowing of Bones is a winner.

A Borrowing of Bones by Paula Munier
eISBN: 9781250153043
Minotaur Books © 2018
eBook, 352 pages

Law Enforcement, #1 Mercy & Elvis mystery
Rating: A
Source: Net Galley


  1. I know what you mean about working dogs, Cathy. There is a really interesting bond between them and their humans, isn't there? And I like that, too. It's also interesting to learn how they're trained and cared for, etc... Anyway, this one sounds like an absorbing read, and I like the Vermont setting. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. We did a 'working dog' theme for the mystery group a while back. It went over very well. And I'm seeing glowing reviews of this book everywhere. I need to email our biggest dog-lover in the group and tell her to put it on hold at the library if they have it yet (they probably don't). I want to read it too!


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!