Title: Billy’s Bones
Author: Jamie Fessenden
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Blurb: Kevin Derocher was thirty-two when he walked into Tom’s office, newly married, a baby on the way, and the collar of his red flannel shirt pulled up to hide the bruises around his throat from when he hanged himself in his garage. After his initial consult, therapist Tom Langois believes he’ll never see Kevin again—but Kevin turns up three years later to make repairs on Tom’s new house.
Kevin and Tom become fast friends, and Tom begins to suspect Kevin may be interested in more than friendship. However, Kevin remains haunted by something from his childhood—something so terrible he blocked it from his mind. These suppressed memories make it impossible for Kevin to get close to anyone without panicking and lashing out, sometimes violently. But as his past begins to surface, it becomes apparent that Kevin may hold the key to a twenty-five-year-old mystery: what happened to Billy?
Review: This was one tough read that I am glad I was able to review. Kevin is a disturbed and broken man, poorly dealing with his problems through denial. Tom is his one time therapist who fears their relationship is based on an unethical bonding as opposed to true attraction. There are some very disconcerting interactions between Kevin and Tom that hints at the emotional baggage Kevin carries that the reader will see later in the story.
For those looking for a standard romance formula this is not that book. This book has many facets and while there is a romance throughout it is not the norm for the genre. The characters and their struggle to deal with Kevin’s PTSD while forming a bond, and righting a wrong, drives this novel. Because of this I felt more connected to the MCs, their unique relationship was so right in this situation and I was glad to read a book with a damaged character that truly struggled toward health.
I was pleased that this did not have the usual sort of relationship progression. Kevin has deep emotional scars that will take many years to heal. Where many authors would choose the ‘all healing relationship’ (where once the MCs get together all problems melt away) Fessenden chose the hard way. The real way. Just because they gravitate to each other doesn’t mean Kevin is better, his issues aren’t gone. Things improve but there was no magical love cure, and for that I thank the author.
Sensitivity Spoilers: This is a book that tactfully handles very difficult to read issues. But these things can be triggers for those with sensitivities. There are instances of past childhood sexual abuse and some hard to read violence. This is a plot spoiler but important for those that are on the fence about this book. There is on the page rape and murder. It is integral to the plot and understanding Kevin’s difficulties in forming healthy attachments.
Though Billy’s Bones was a difficult book to read at times due to the subject matter I felt better for reading it. The emotional climax was cathartic and very sad and angering all at once. This isn’t a romance in the truest sense of the word but is instead a story about overcoming the insurmountable even after giving up. It isn’t the perfect book, especially when it comes to the ending, which wasn’t what I expected and doesn’t quite fit with these characters. Not for the faint of heart, this emotional mystery was a success in my eyes.
Reviewed by Jules
Posted on September 12, 2013, in Jules and tagged a haunting past, Abuse, B List, Coping, Crazy Family, defies categorization, DSP, flashbacks, Grief, Healing, Journey of Discovery, Jules, M/M, Overcoming Abuse, PTSD, Suicide, Therapy, Trauma. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.