Bone Crossed (2009) by Patricia Briggs is the fourth book in the Mercy Thompson series. Werewolves, fae, vampires and other hidden creatures live among humans or so says Mercy, the narrator of this series. By the way, I’ll try not to spoil it for you if you haven’t started this series yet.
Mercy is a shape shifter or a “walker” who can change from human to coyote at will. Comparatively, her physical strength is the lowest amongst her supernatural friends but she has certain abilities ascribed to her like agile speed and the ability to see and control ghosts. She also has a keen sense of smell that helps her detect stealthy predators looking to do her harm.
Aside from being a shape shifter, Mercy is a VW mechanic living in the Tri-Cities. She was adopted and raised in a werewolf pack before striking off on her own. There are two men in her life. Her neighbor, the Alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack, Adam Hauptman and her roommate Samuel Cornick, a physician, a lone-wolf and an ex-flame. After three books, Mercy has finally picked her guy, entrenched herself deeply into the supernatural community and has gained herself some powerful enemies.
In “Bone Crossed,” Mercy’s past actions has come back to haunt her. The vampires, who remain hidden from public view, have labeled her a traitor and are after her. This action stems from an incident that happened two months ago that Mercy knew would come back and get her killed. So now, her shop sports the artwork of two bones crossed on her garage door, publicly marking her as an enemy of the seethe. Clearly outmatched, Mercy turns to her friends who have no problem with providing her with protection.
The vampire seethe in the Tri-Cities are a secretive society who go to great lengths to keep it that way. Humans have come to accept that werewolves and faeries exist but vampires still enjoy relative anonymity. Marsilia, the vampire who runs the seethe, finds herself the target of a power struggle and uses her wits to flush out her betrayers. Unfortunately, Stefan, the vampire who protected an “outsider” had to endure the brunt of her wrath which resulted in his being severed from the seethe.
With the wolves and vampires declaring war on each other, Mercy thinks it’s best that she disappear. She gets presented with a opportunity to do so when an old college nemesis visits and tells her she has a poltergeist in her home. It is later decided between Mercy, Samuel and Adam, that Mercy should go to Spokane and help her friend with her ghost trouble. But, before she leaves, she learns that a powerful vampire lives in Spokane. Thinking that she can help her friend and stay under the vampire’s radar, she finds herself unsuccessful (on escaping his notice.)
The author does a good job of interweaving the two story arcs together. The atmosphere was scary where it was supposed to be and humor was added to lighten things up a bit. The writing is solid and you can tell the author took great care in merging the world of monsters and humans together to make it feel real. The suspense throughout the story was engaging as was the tension and build-up towards the climax.
The events in previous books, namely, Iron Kissed, gets addressed. Mercy’s last run in with dark magic left her bruised and battered up good. Her healing process never felt forced or contrived in here considering the aftermath of what she went through in the last book. I know some readers were put off by how Iron Kissed ended but the author needed to show that bad things can and do happen in this world. That the monsters in here are the real deal and that even Mercy is mortal and vulnerable.
Besides this interesting world full of monsters, the romance in here is an added bonus. I liked Mercy’s choice and feel that the two of them have the potential to be a great couple. Their scenes together were intimate and nice and their bond is strong. Nothing really explicit in here, just sexy, heated flirting and kisses which was enough for me. There’s the broodful Samuel of course. I feel for him but as long as he’s with Mercy, he should be ok. And Stefan. We learn he’s a soldier and that his heart is tied up elsewhere.
If you haven’t started this series, why not? Yes, the market is saturated with stories that contains every variation on the theme of werewolf and vampires. But you know what makes this series stand out from the rest? The writing. Patricia Briggs knows her world and she knows her characters. There’s a difference when you’re writing what’s popular vs. writing from the heart. Briggs has the winning formula on what makes her stories stick out from the offal that’s out there. My grade, A.
BONE CROSSED contest winner is JANICU, #4 from the bottom since the comments refresh new from the top. I want to thank you all for entering. I feel that Ms. Briggs book is worth the hardcover price but I realize that not everybody can afford hardcover prices. I bought my ebook copy and will be giving away a lot of the gently read ARCs that get sent my way. Janicu, your book will get sent your way as soon as I know where to send it at avid book reader [at] gmail [dot] com.