Brothers and Bones, By James Hankins


Hankins, J. (2012). Brothers and Bones. Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Kindle $0.99, 365 pages

Author’s Website and Interviews:

Online Reviews:

Annotation: Jake’s disappearance has haunted Charlie for thirteen years and now staring down the barrel of gun he wants answers.

Summary (Warning SPOILERS): Charlie’s brother Jake has been missing for thirteen years and while waiting for that morning’s train he encounters a homeless man who not only looks like his brother but also calls him by the nickname “Wiley” a name known only by his brother Jake. It is revealed that the homeless man is Bonz, a former mob informant who was tortured by Siracuse a well known crime boss, and who knows the truth behind Jake’s disappearance. After Charlie is framed by Siracuse for the murder of his friend Angel, he joins forces with Bonz in an attempt to clear his name. Charlie learns that Siracuse is after a tape he believes is in Charlie’s possession a tape that connects him to a very prominent U.S. attorney. As Bonz and Charlie go on the run, Bonz reveals that he witnessed Jake’s torture at the hands of Siracuse’s men and attempted to take care of him after each torture session. Bonz tells Charlie that before Jake died he told him to give Charlie a message to “find refuge in the Lord’s prayer” a code that would reveal the whereabouts of the tape. Charlie becomes unsure of whom to trust as Bonz credibility is shaken when it is revealed that Bonz is actually the one who killed Jake. Bonz tells Charlie it was  a mercy killing due to the fact that Jake was already dying and was suffering. As Jake comes to terms with his brother’s death he is dealt another blow when he learns that his soon to be father in law, Lippincott has been working with Siracuse and is the one on the sought after tape. Lippincott recruited Siracuse to murder his severely autistic son because he was pushing the family into financial ruin and Charlie’s brother was the one who found the tape of their meeting. After Jessica, Charlie’s fiance is kidnapped by Siracuse, Charlie lies and says he and Bonz have the tape and are willing to make a deal. Siracuse soon learns that Charlie is bluffing when he fails to know one key piece, how much Lippincott paid him to knock off his son.

Evaluation: I was immediately drawn in and hooked within the first two pages. The writing is full of cliff hangers which leave you on the edge of your seat craving answers. The story moves at a really fast pace and each chapter is filled with action. There are so many twists and turns you don’t know who to believe. Hankins does a great job of developing two characters, Bonz and Charlie who couldn’t be more polar opposites but really complement each other. The characters are well-developed and although the story takes numerous twists and turns they work together to weave together a story that sheds light not only on Jake’s disappearance but on the heart of who Charlie truly is and how far he is willing to go for justice. The book does use pretty vulgar language but given the subject matter of the book I felt it gave it more of a realistic tone.

Genre: Action & Adventure (Thriller)

Appeal Factors:  Suspenseful, action packed with a shifting plot line. Strong character development and descriptive writing. It is fast paced yet provides enough detail to never leave the reader hanging for very long.

Read-alike Titles and Authors:

Ignite by R. J. Lewis

Girl Jacked by Christopher Greyson

Nameless by Joe Conlan


Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013

Booktalk Ideas:

  • What if Bonz hadn’t been the one to kill Jake? Would it change the way you view his character? What if Charlie chose to believe Lippincott over Bonz when it is revealed that he killed Jake?
  •  Read a passage that leaves the reader wanting more. Stop just before an important detail or truth is revealed. Let the reader guess what is going to happen next.
  •  Ask questions that puts the reader on of the character’s shoes. Ask questions about Bonz and his role in Jake’s death? Would they have done the same thing? Does the reasons Dr. Fieldings give for his betrayal hold him less accountable? Do you understand why he betrayed Charlie?

Book Discussion Questions:

1. Do you think Jessica knew more about Siracuse’s dealings than she let Charlie believe?

2. Is Lippincott’s character portrayed as more of a monster than Siracuse? Why or why not?

3. Does Bonz’s killing of Jake make you more empathetic towards his character? Does his revelation make him more trustworthy?

4. Do you hold Dr. Fieldings accountable in his role of making Charlie believe he was crazy? Do you feel he knew more than he let on?

5. Bonz proves himself to be a worthy ally throughout the novel. Do you think his character is meant to represent Charlie’s brother Jake and his need for brotherly connection?

6. What did Siracuse mean when he told Charlie that “we all have warts…even your brother Jake?” Do you think Jake was involved with Siracuase? Why is Jake so adamant in not hearing what Siracuase has to say? Does this make you doubt Jake’s actions?

While browsing around Amazon I came across free books for my kindle. I hadn’t really dabbled much in action & adventure (thriller) books and found the cover to be really interesting. The title also helped to draw me in and I was curious as to what “Brother and Bones” referred to. I also read the brief synopsis provided by Amazon as well as some great reviews on Good Reads that gave this book a high rating. I was curious to know who the homeless man was and if it really was Charlie’s brother Jake. I knew the storyline had to be powerful when one word could render a character so distraught.