Mistress of the Bones

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Quin St. James and Mike McCleary have few genuine friends, but those who remain are cherished. Among that number, until his murder, was Lou Hernando. Hernando is dead, and the chief suspect is Ross Blade, a young man he befriended. Blade has a criminal record, and the knife that killed his mentor bears his name. McCleary and St. James, as well as the police, are looking for Blade, but only his friends are looking past the obvious to the plausible alternatives.

Hernando’s behavior was exceedingly odd in his last months. He seemed obsessed with a ghost who, if legend is correct, will continue to haunt his house until some ancient unidentified grievance obtains redress. McCleary and St. James take up residence in Hernando’s house and quickly determine that something mysterious is afoot. Meanwhile, the list of suspects grows by the day, and the investigation becomes lethal. Ross Blade remains at large, pursuing his own independent investigation, but McCleary and St. James make contact through the Internet.

As for the Mistress of the Bones, aficionados of the paranormal will have a field day with this work. McCleary and St. James manage to construct a plausible explanation for their friend’s death and in the process identify the killer. Justice is served but the price is high. McCleary is killed in the final shootout.

T. J. MacGregor developed her principal characters in the course of nine novels. She placed them in a number of difficult circumstances and brought them safely through. She created a team, a couple, a pair, but that unity is irreparably broken. Whether MISTRESS OF THE BONES represents the end of a series or the beginning of another, only time will tell.