RAG AND BONES
Putnam, Mar 2001, 24.95, 304 pp.
Gay attorney Henry Rio is working a case at the California Court of Appeals when he suffers a massive heart attack. Though not close, Henry asks for his sister Elena. She visits him in the hospital and tries to mend their breech even informing him that as a teen she gave up the child she birthed for adoption. Henry acts indifferent towards his niece Vicky because he feels that he has nothing left to live for and death seems welcoming.
That nothingness changes when Henry meets John De Leon. They become friends and potentially a deeper relationship seems imminent. Another friend encourages Henry to apply for a judgeship that is vacant. Vicky and her son Angel reenter Henry's life when she is arrested for the murder of her husband. The lad moves in with his great-uncle. Vicky pleads battered spouse syndrome, but Henry believes there is more to this situation than that. He begins investigating the case, but needs to gain Vicky's trust if he is to uncover the truth.
In a postscript Michael Nava informs the reader that this is not only his last Rios novel, but his final mystery. What a way to end a sparkling career with a fabulous tale. The characters make the tale, as they seem so genuine. For instance, a depressed Henry seeks a place in the world while Vicky's story comes from headlines. RAG AND BONE is a fitting end to a great series starring a very humanistic but flawed individual. Kudos to the author for a supernava finale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner