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Widow's Island #3

Whisper of Bones

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Dark secrets from the past bob to the surface in the third novella in the Widow’s Island series.

When a body washes up on the state park beach, Deputy Tessa Black’s experience as a former Seattle detective tells her that the death was not an accident. All evidence points to another murder on the remote island.

The victim is a local contractor with a shockingly long list of enemies. The more locals Tessa interviews, the more people she suspects—from the bitter ex-wife and estranged current wife to disgruntled former clients and employees. They all have different reasons to want him dead.

As Tessa’s investigation heats up, arson and a vicious assault convince her the killer is desperate to hide his crime—and that she’d better solve the case before he claims another victim.

111 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 22, 2019

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About the author

Melinda Leigh

41 books20.3k followers
#1 Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker who learned that writing books is way more fun than analyzing financial statements. Melinda’s debut novel, SHE CAN RUN, was nominated for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers. Since then, she has garnered numerous writing accolades, including two RITA® Award nominations and an induction into the NJ Romance Writers Hall of Fame. Her novels have sold more than 10 million copies across the world. Melinda loves martial arts, rescue dogs, and sea turtles.

WEBSITE: https://www.melindaleigh.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/melindaleighauthorpage/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/MelindaLeigh1

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 442 reviews
Profile Image for Sandra.
659 reviews6 followers
June 29, 2020
When the body of a male contractor (Jason McCoy) is found dead, washed up on the beach, deputy Tessa Black believes it wasn’t an accident. As she investigates Jason’s death and talks to many people who knew him, she discovers Jason had many enemies. Tessa, with the help of her park ranger friend Logan Wilde (whom she is dating), starts looking for clues as to who could be responsible for the murder…

This was another enjoyable, short suspense story/novella from the “Widow’s Island” series. It was nice revisiting the Pacific Northwest island, and catching up with all the characters. These can be read as stand-alone stories, but it is better to read the series in order so you can get to know the other characters, especially Tessa’s good friend/FBI Special Agent Cate Wilde (who is also Logan’s sister and has her own stories in this series).
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,091 reviews1,508 followers
January 4, 2020
Whisper of Bones by Melinda Leigh is the third book in the new romantic suspense Widow’s Island series. This series is all at novella length and penned by Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh by alternating the books and switching the main characters.

This pair of authors have teamed up in the past for the romantic suspense Rogue River series of which a couple of the characters have moved over to this series but the books can be read and enjoyed separate from the Rogue River series. Each novella also contains it’s own mystery so they can be read as a standalone although some character development does carry over in the series from book to book for those reading them all from the beginning.

Whisper of Bones has now picked up the Widow’s Island story line with Deputy Tessa Black back as the lead character. Tessa gets called in on a murder case when a body washes ashore. The victim is found to be a contractor with a long list of enemies so the more people Tessa interviews the longer her suspect list grows.

Again when finished with a book in this series I can’t help but think Melinda Leigh and Kendra Elliot certainly know how to write a compelling novella length read. Even with the shorter length the books have been fleshed out wonderfully giving enough about the characters to begin to care about them and a good mystery to follow. Definitely a fan of this series and can’t wait to see what happens in the next.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Lori Lamothe.
Author 10 books110 followers
October 22, 2019
Quick Engaging Read

Melinda Leigh's Whisper of Bones is the third novella in the Widow's Island series, which is set on a small island in the Pacific Northwest. Though I was unfamiliar with the series, I had little difficulty following the overarching story and got a good sense of Tessa and Logan, the two main characters in this installment. Like Bred in the Bone (Widow's Island #4), the novella contains two mysteries: a present-day murder and the disappearance of Deputy Sheriff Tessa Black's childhood friend, Samantha. Both murders help move the cold case forward but the books can also be read as stand-alone mysteries.

Novellas are deceptively hard to pull off—I'm often left feeling like the mystery resolves too quickly or the romance seems rushed. So it surprised me to find that Leigh does a good job in both respects. I'm a fan of procedurals, so I enjoyed Tessa's methodical (albeit rapid) journey from finding a body washed up on a nearby island to solving the murder. I also liked the tentative romance between Tessa and Logan, it's believable to the point that I found myself rooting for them by the final chapter. As a veteran, Logan is struggling to overcome his traumatic memories. Meanwhile, Tessa is trying to cope with her mother's dementia and her guilt over Samantha's probable death. She's also adjusting to the move from Seattle and to raising her teen-age stepsister. Despite these obstacles, Tessa and Logan have a history—and maybe a future.

I wavered about giving this a 4 and decided against it, mostly because the length precludes any in-depth character development and the plot is pretty basic. But it's a solid 3.5 stars. Leigh's writing is quite clean (as in straightforward—though this story is also PG-rated!). The secondary characters, though they are really only sketched in, held my interest as well. Whisper of Bones is definitely worth an hour or two of your time and I will probably go back and read the other Tessa/Logan novella in the series.

Much thanks to Montlake Romance and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,292 reviews263 followers
June 1, 2020
Whisper of Bones was another great addition to the Widow’s Island series with an interesting mystery and a bit more romance than the previous two installments.

After a body washes ashore on the state park beach, Deputy Tessa Black finds she has another murder on her hands on the remote island she calls home. When it becomes clear the victim, a local contractor, has a long list of enemies, Tessa has her work cut out for her to find his killer. And after the killer sets a fire to cover their tracks, Tessa is in a race against the clock to find the killer before they strike again.

Tessa continues to be an intriguing character as she has many roles she fills in her day-to-day life from working as a sheriff’s deputy to caring for her ill mother. It’s interesting watching Tessa juggle her responsibilities and I like that the author has her accept help from others when it’s needed. Tessa and Logan’s romantic relationship has developed a bit since A Bone to Pick and they’ve been dating for a few weeks when this story picks up. I’m enjoying their romance and I’m looking forward to seeing how the relationship continues to develop. Cate, Tessa’s best friend and an FBI agent, makes a few appearances in this novella along with Henry, the town doctor/coroner and Cate’s love interest. I really enjoy Cate’s character and I like that while each author follows a specific couple, we get appearances by the other one in each novella.

The murder investigation in this story was interesting with the victim being someone who is not particularly well liked in town. Characters with a lot of enemies always make for interesting victims as there are a number of people who could have committed the murder. Tessa and Logan work together pretty closely in the murder investigation as the body was found on state park land and Logan is a park ranger. The two worked well together and they definitely knew how to play to each other’s strengths. I had a few ideas on who the murderer would be and while one of my guesses was correct, the motive wasn’t one I had thought of. The ending of the book was suspenseful and overall I thought the author wrapped everything up in a good way.

Throughout this novella series, in the background Tessa and Cate are conducting an investigation into their best friend Samantha’s disappearance twenty years ago. In Whisper of Bones the pair do make a bit of progress in the investigation and I’m getting more and more curious to find out what happened to Samantha. I’m definitely looking forward to reading Bred to the Bone to see where the evidence found in this story leads Tessa and Cate.

Overall I really enjoyed Whisper of Bones and I’m interested to see where the authors take these characters next. I highly recommend this series if you’re looking for some quick romantic suspense reads.

**I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
2,999 reviews637 followers
November 1, 2019
In this installment, we are back with Deputy Tessa Black & former Army Ranger Logan Wilde. Logan is the islands new Forest Ranger. He is Tessa’s boyfriend and suffers from PTSD. He is also the brother of one her dearest friends. A friend who went missing years ago. A body has turned up on one of the state park beaches and the two investigate.

I love the remote island and its unique setting. Everyone knows everyone, and the local doctor is also the coroner. Of course for big cases, they ship the body to the mainland for autopsy and often call in forensic teams from Seattle to assist.

While this novella is roughly one-hundred pages, the overall series arc and characters combined with different cases to solve give the stories plenty of meat. The romance is served as a side dish, and sexy time occurs off the page. It touches on family, friendship and addresses PTSD the nightmares that trouble Logan.

We see some development regarding Tessa and Meg’s missing friend. It left me wanting more answers. There are six planned novellas for this series so I am anxious to dive into Bred in the Bones by Kendra Elliot the next book. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer
Profile Image for Henry.
611 reviews27 followers
May 24, 2021
Pretty good. On to No. 4 in the series which is written by Kendra Elliott (in my opinion thus far the better of the two writers--I like her Mercy Kilpatrick novels).
Profile Image for Erth.
3,426 reviews
October 17, 2018
now i am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. i was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.

i would highly recommend this author and this book.
Profile Image for Aristotle.
625 reviews64 followers
October 31, 2020
Episode 3 in the saga of Widow's Island
A body washes up on the state park beach, Deputy Tessa Black and her gang are on the case.
The dialogue informing the wife her husband is dead was awkward. And another house was burned.
Third death investigation in a month. Are the islands haunted?
Nothing too exciting but at 97 pages and it cost only a buck ninety nine it was worth it.
Profile Image for Richard.
1,764 reviews146 followers
October 17, 2019
Here we go again. Just 12 months ago I devoured the first two books in this, what now appears to be, expanding series, Widow's Island - A novella series by Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh, set on remote islands in the Pacific Northwest, off Seattle.
Each author has form in this type of project where each write a separate instalment in the series.
Melinda did book 2 and now writes book 3. While Kendra wrote 1 and brings us book 4 later this month.
The writing is seamless and the timeframe within the story is much closer than the passage of time in releasing these titles.
The world they have created is also an author’s dream. A closed, about 5,000 residents, almost isolated community, bolstered by tourists in season but where everyone almost knows everyone else. Returning to the islands is a group of young dynamic characters, Deputy Tessa Black, Ranger Logan Wilde, his sister, Cate a FBI agent on extended sick leave. Newcomer, Dr Henry Powers, local GP and by default acting Coroner. This not only provide the romantic pauses they are front and central to all criminal investigations.
The other back story that links each book is an unsolved disappearance of a teenage girl, Sam a contemporary of Tessa and Cate; their best friend whose body has never been found but feared to have met an accident or foul play and remains lost to the sea.
Each novella is a standalone crime, with character development, love interest and moves to reopen Sam’s case.
Here we have a typical murder of a man no-one appears to have liked; the police investigation throws up more suspects than answers until the true motive is happened upon.
Tight plotting; good crime thriller where hard police work brings answers.
I enjoy these books; Whisper of Bones maintains the high standard set. The counterbalance to these young guns solving crime and ripping up the islands are the group of mature women. No longer Real Housewives, these are the more spooky Real Widows who look after social affairs, provide care and support while still believing in knitting clubs.
They worry me and their role may not be quite as benevolent as at first it seems. Or I may be over-reaching to compensate for the romantic bits.
Tessa’s struggles to find a work life balance is a series focus in these accounts and the insight to mental ill health in the elderly is wonderfully shared as part of these stories.
Profile Image for Sara.
1,057 reviews353 followers
January 1, 2020
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

Whisper of Bone is the third novella in the Widow’s Island series, which follows friends Cate and Tessa as they try and solve the mystery surrounding their childhood friend’s disappearance, as well as solve a few other murders along the way.

This novella continues Tessa’s narrative, which I admit is not my favourite of the two female leads. Together with old friend/new lover Logan, Tessa is called to the discovery of a body washed up on the docks. An inspection of the body determines the man was killed by blunt force to the head, but who did it? And why? As Tessa finds out, the murdered man has few friends, and a penchant for aggravating everyone from the ex wife to his employees.

I really enjoy these little novellas. They are able to sum up the previous novellas succinctly while advancing the overall plot arc enough to keep me interested. The murder mysteries are well thought out and fast paced, directing the reader to an array of suspects and motives without giving away too much. Because of the length of the novel, the characters are not overly developed or particularly emotionally deep, and a lot of the story is spent telling the reader information rather than letting it unfold naturally, but I can still appreciate the entertainment value in these little ‘slice of murder life’ books.

That said, I do think that as the novella’s have progressed the main characters are starting to feel more developed and well rounded. In this one we explore more of Logan’s past and is PTSD and the topic is handled reasonably well, and links into the mystery well. I also find the generally feeling of the book highly atmospheric and also cosy, with the closed off islander community giving off a distinctly menacing air at time.

A fast paced, vignette of murder mystery small island life with some interesting ideas. I will continue the series.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,708 reviews928 followers
December 20, 2021
Great third novella, but not a favorite. I think it's because the shadow of Samantha hangs over these novellas and the clue we get in this one just feels really farfetched. I did like the murder mystery, but it just feels like everyone on Widow's Island is secretly a murderer at this point.

"Whisper of Bones" has Tessa investigating when a local contractor's body washes up. The man was hated by pretty much everyone which leaves a long list of suspects for Tessa and Logan to investigate. Tessa is also still dealing with her mother and is getting help by some of the local widows.

I liked Tessa (always super competent). I just don't buy her relationship with Logan. I also think Logan needs therapy. Heck so does Cate.
Profile Image for Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey).
1,378 reviews470 followers
October 26, 2019
This was a decent installment. I felt like the h led the H around by his balls. I thought he was a cop too yet h was telling him things every step of the way.


I thought the end was a little iffy. The h was holding a gun, yet the child walked in without noticing. It felt unbelievable that could happen and only as a plot device.

I also didn’t get much romance. I don’t need it. I’m fine with mystery/suspense. But if a book is sold as a romantic suspense or teases you with it, I want it. The story could have been a tad longer to accommodate.

Overall, okay. I hope the series doesn’t end at four installments as I’ll feel cheated.
Profile Image for Shalini.
2,496 reviews198 followers
December 30, 2019
Another fab book by a dynamic author. The murder mystery was well detailed, I just felt it could have had more layers to it.
The personal lives of the detectives and their friendship made it quite interesting. The writing was superfluous. The book totally worked as a novella.
Profile Image for Dilushani Jayalath.
871 reviews160 followers
October 17, 2019
Kindly received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

This novella series is slowly warming up to me. It's quite fun when the mysteries are solved relatively easily and the romance is taken a back seat from everything. With the length of the novel, romance really does not have enough space to spread out on. Just like the previous book this one too has enough going on to keep you interested till the last page and it's short enough you aren't bored.
Profile Image for Anita.
2,059 reviews140 followers
October 22, 2019
Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) provided by the Author and Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an fair and honest review.

The novella is not my favorite mystery format. It is just to short for much character development and the mystery is fairly easy to solve, although in "Whisper of Bones" there were several great candidates for the baddie. The slow, easy romance is another element that could benefit from more pages and more heat. But overall, for its length, this plot was really great and as this is #3 in the series the characters are already established. I seriously recommend you don't start with this book, read the others first. The mystery is self contained but the characters and their situations are ongoing, plus there is the overarching mystery of what happened to Tessa and Cate's 14 year old friend, Samatha, more than 20 years ago.

Deputy Tessa Black and Washington State Forest Ranger Logan Wilde are called to the shores of Camilla's Island where kayakers have found a body washed up on the beach. As a former Seattle detective, Tessa knows a murder when she see one. There are lots of suspects and no one is sad local contractor Jason McCoy is dead.

Tessa and Logan have known each other forever as Tessa is his sister Cate's best friend. Their relationship is on a slow but steady track due to Tessa's family situation and Logan's PTSD. Spending time together investigating a murder is not how Logan wants to spent their time. Logan wants to romance Tessa with moonlight and roses, but sometimes you just have to settle with what time you can steal away.
Profile Image for julia ☆ [owls reads].
1,519 reviews303 followers
January 18, 2021
#1 Close to the Bone: ★★★★☆ | 4 stars
#2 A Bone to Pick: ★★★★☆ | 4 stars


Whisper of Bones was a bit underwhelming. It was shorter than the previous installments and, despite enjoying Tessa and Logan's perspectives, I didn't feel connected to the story in the same way. Everything felt rushed and a bit unnecessary.

One positive point was how it touched back on Samantha's disappearance. I'm very curious about this subplot in particular and the novella delivered a little piece of information that I believe will have great impact in the novellas to come.
Profile Image for Carla.
5,801 reviews122 followers
February 12, 2020
I did a read/listen to this novella and it was a fun way to experience this story. Once again, Tessa finds herself investigating a murder on the small Widow's Island. When the staged drowning, turns out to be a murder, she has more suspects than she would have expected. The victim was not well liked, but who hated him enough to kill him. With the help of her partner, Logan, they quickly meet with all the suspects and ask questions. They get an inkling of who the culprit is, but will he/she get away before they can get enough evidence and make an arrest. I enjoy this series and the characters involved. Tessa is a smart, intuitive detective and not much gets by her. She is still thinking about the disappearance of her friend 20 years earlier and at the end of this story, there is a clue to that disappearance. A well paced, and written story which was a quick read. I really like how Melinda Leigh and Kendra Elliott have developed this series and characters. The audio of this book was also well done. The narrator, Christine Williams reads with expression and adds some accents and voices to the characters.
Profile Image for Jessi.
483 reviews7 followers
October 17, 2021
Knowing that this is book 3 in the series, I was curious to see how it worked as a standalone, and in my opinion it does. I really liked how the characters were introduced, the background information that was provided, and how the overarching story of a missing woman fits into the main case.

This is a straight light police procedural with subtle hints of romance. I really liked following the two main characters and seeing them work together as well as apart. If anything this story left me wanting more, which is good because I can dig into the series from the beginning to get the pieces I missed.

I liked the mystery but it felt very by the book, which was fine, but I typically enjoy a bit more character development. I think this felt short to me because this is a novella, so the character development happens in each piece, as opposed to throughout one full length book.

I am very excited to read book 4 and catching up with books 1 and 2 to see how everything fits together. This does stand alone well and works to introduce the reader to the world without needing to start from the beginning. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had been reading from the start, but I really liked the main characters and how the case was worked.

An ARC copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
336 reviews218 followers
November 25, 2019
I really enjoy this series and this was another good one!
Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books330 followers
October 3, 2019
We are back to the remote Widow's Island joining former Seattle Police detective now Deputy Tessa Black and former Army Ranger now Forest Ranger, Logan, for a new grisly murder that washed up on the shore of one of the smaller nature refuge islands. I was glad to be back in this world for a new case and advances on the older cold case that Tessa and her best friend are investigating.

Whisper of Bones is the third of the Widow's Island series of novellas written by a writing duo, each taking turns with a pairing of novellas each year. The advance of the cold case about Tessa and Kate's long missing best friend, Samantha, and the inter-personal relationships make it a good series to take in order.

Tessa and Logan are called in when a body is spotted rolling in the surf on a remote beach. They soon identify it and have the difficult task of not discovering who would want to kill the wood-working contractor, but a shorter list would be who didn't want to kill him. He was a bully and a womanizer with a bitter ex-wife, a bitter current wife seeking a divorce, a fired employee, and a disgruntled man who hired him let alone everyone else he encountered.

It's nearing Christmas and Tessa wants to give her mother the best Christmas ever knowing it will likely be the last one her mom will remember since the Alzheimer's makes her rarely lucid these days and she already doesn't remember the existence of her youngest child. Then there is Logan's nightmares and PTSD worsening because the murder case is bringing up memories of a bad time when he was back in Afghanistan. If he can't open up to Tessa whom he thinks he's protecting since she already has her mom and little sister on her plate, then their relationship might not survive.

As I said, the murder case was not about having a suspect or motive, but figuring out the opportunity. I enjoyed tagging along with Tessa and Logan as they questioned suspects and witnesses. I've said it before, but for novellas, these are extremely well developed both in plot and characters. There was a little advancement in Sam's case and I can't wait to see what comes with the next novella switching focus to spotlight Kate and Henry as the main characters.

Par for the course is Christine Williams magnificent narration work. She has a clear, laid back voice for Tessa and vocalizes all the other characters with enough difference to distinguish and a good male voice for Logan and the others. I like how she can draw the listener into the story and the situation without becoming a distraction. I would listen to more of her work without hesitation.

Romantic suspense, mystery, and thriller fans should give this series a go.

My thanks to Brilliance Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Cindy.
2,230 reviews134 followers
October 9, 2019
Whisper of Bones is part 3 in the series that takes place on remote Pacific Northwest island.

Deputy Tessa Black and her boyfriend Park Ranger Logan Wilde are called out to a beach where a body has washed ashore. This book takes us through their interviewing many people who all have reason to want the deceased dead. Their job is figuring out which one of them actually did the deed.

Along with that we get to see how Tessa is dealing with her mom who is getting worse with in her early onset Alzheimer's while continuing to balance her job, and raise her younger sister. There is also a big clue unveiled in the overarching plot of figuring out what happened to Tessa and Cate's childhood friend who disappeared 20 years ago.
Profile Image for Wayward Readers Book Blog.
530 reviews14 followers
October 24, 2019
This is book three in the Widow’s Island series and can be read as a stand-alone. However, it does do the reader favor to read as a part of the series as all books are novellas. Melinda Leigh captures the reader’s attention from page one and holds onto it the entire way through. Her scene setting of the wintery small island and descriptive characterization only serves to build a suspenseful storyline. There are relationship aspects woven into the storyline between main characters, Tessa and Logan that play out more as emotional romance than physical. Overall, an enjoyable, quick read. 4 stars

Thank you to #NetGalley and #MontlakeRomance for this ARC. It was read and reviewed voluntarily by #wayward_readers - all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Profile Image for Maria.
1,669 reviews30 followers
October 29, 2019
Received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for a fair review
An interesting thriller with well-developed and relatable characters as usual in Melinda Leigh’s stories, “Whisper of Bones” (Montlake Romance) is a quick read, perfect for a cozy autumn evening.
A strong heroine – Tessa, a deputy – and her love interest – Logan, a former Army Ranger, dealing with PTSD and the memories of the horrors of war – feature in this book, where a long-time mystery is yet to be solved.
The setting – Widow’s Island, Pacific Northwest – the slightly damaged characters, the romantic couple’s strong and steady relationship, make this a great read.
Profile Image for Cherry London.
Author 1 book79 followers
October 31, 2019
From the beginning of this book, the intrigue level started building up, it totally captivated my interest from the finding of the body. You can tell the medical aspects of this story were well researched. I like the comradery between Kurt, Cate, Tessa, The Doc Henry, and Logan, they work like a well-run team. Me and my carelessness I should have red Bred to the Bones first, I hate it when this happens, it’s like reading the end of the book before the beginning, bummer. I love this book its pages have hypnotized me and I’m enjoying it.
Profile Image for Skyesmum .
510 reviews11 followers
October 30, 2019
I really enjoyed this latest instalment in the series of novellas.
Just enough to keep you enthralled with an ending that I did not see coming.
Looking forward to the next one to see if the cold case is solved.
Profile Image for Patrizia.
1,441 reviews30 followers
July 31, 2020
Altro racconto lungo che si legge velocemente e che fa rimpiangere che non siano stati creati dei veri e propri libri per questa serie.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,038 reviews
October 24, 2019
I just wish I did not have to wait a year for this next episode in the novella series. Hopefully, the next one will not be a long wait.
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