REVIEW by Jena: Close to the Bone by Kendra Elliot

From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Kendra Elliot comes the first novella in the thrilling Widow’s Island series.

FBI Special Agent Cate Wilde is back home on a remote Pacific Northwest island when she gets the call: a teenager’s skeletal remains have been found on a nearby island.

Together with Tessa Black, a childhood friend turned local deputy, Cate confronts dreary weather and bleak leads to make sense of the death. The complications pile up as Cate is distracted by the coroner on the case—and by nagging memories that draw her twenty years into the past. The remains suggest eerie similarities between this victim, and Cate and Tessa’s friend Samantha, who disappeared when she was fourteen.

Cate finds herself up against closemouthed locals, buried town secrets, and even her own heart. As the case unravels, will she be able to cut through the fog and find justice for the missing and the dead?





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About the Book

Close to the Bone
by Kendra Elliot

Widow’s Island Series Book One

Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense
Romantic Suspense

Montlake Romance

Publication Date
October 23, 2018

Purchase Your Copy Today!
Amazon  |  Jump to the Widow’s Island Series on Amazon

Also Available On



Jena’s Review

With the turn of the new year, I made my first New Year’s Resolution to read at least one book per week. I also have a Kindle Unlimited membership I almost never use. Rather than continue to waste that few dollars a month, I started surfing the KU shelves for my first read o 2019. CLOSE TO THE BONE‘s cover caught my eye nestled among the suspense reads, and although I’d never read anything by Kendra Elliot before, the description sounded pretty good so I gave it a try.

If you are familiar with the author, this might not be news to you, but she writes in tandem with another author, Melinda Leigh (my review of her first Widow’s Island book is coming tomorrow). The Widow’s Island series is a new one for them, but they’ve done these tandem series in the past (I’ve added one called the Rogue River series to my TBR pile….because it wasn’t big enough already…). For this series, Kendra Elliot penned CLOSE TO THE BONE, Widow’s Island book one, and Melinda Leigh wrote A BONE TO PICK, Widow’s Island book two (Melinda wrote book three and Kendra wrote book four, both of which are coming in October 2019).

In CLOSE TO THE BONE, we are introduced to FBI Special Agent Cate Wilde as the main character. To me, she seemed very melancholy in the beginning and I wasn’t really sure I was going to be able to stick with the story because of it. I’m glad I did though. I despise reviews that blow plot points so I won’t explain that any further. Just know that if you’re feeling the same way at the open of the story, keep reading. You’ll end up loving Cate inside of just a few chapters. She’s clever, strong-minded, and takes no bullshit. I definitely look forward to continuing to see more of her in the series.

The history and scandal surrounding the islands is one of my favorite parts of this book. We learn the sordid tale that went into the naming of the islands and who is related to who. It’s kind of adorable. Steamy but adorable. You learn so much about their history that the islands almost end up being their own character in the story. As much as the small-town atmosphere where everyone knows your business is not my thing, it sounds like a place I would love to visit.

Now, here on our blog, we always try to give readers a comparison read and mine is going to sound wonky as shit but… If you read R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series as a kid/young teen, you would probably LOVE the Widow’s Island series. I was a diehard Fear Street reader, as was my daughter at that same age, and that was the first thing I said to her. It’s like Fear Street for grown ups. CLOSE TO THE BONE is a fast-paced murder mystery novella with lots of intriguing world building and just a touch of romance.  And although it’s a novella, the story doesn’t suffer for it. Nothing feels rushed and too convenient, and while the mystery for the individual book is solved, the overall series ARC is left open in a way that resulted in me immediately  starting the second book in the series.

Overall, I highly recommend CLOSE TO THE BONE if you’re looking for a quick read and a mystery that makes you think. This book was well worth three-or-so hours it took me to read, and I can’t wait to dig into more by this author!

See All Reviews by Jena



The review copy of this book was borrowed by the reviewer through the Kindle Unlimited program. All titles reviewed on this blog are a fair and honest assessment of the book. No monetary compensation was received in exchange for this review. For more information regarding our review process, please visit our Review Policy & Review Request Submission page.



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1 Comment

  1. […] In yesterday’s review of CLOSE TO THE BONE, I explained the following about the Widow’s Island series: […]

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