Harvester of Bones is the fourth book in Season 3 of Jordan L. Hawk’s incredible SPECTR series. The books are written in serial form, so this review will have spoilers for this season, as well as the series overall (but not for this book).
After learning that his memories are not his own, John Starkweather is determined to learn more about his past and who he really is. The investigation to leads him Dr. Osmond Walsh, a former researcher at the Center for Loving Redemption. Since John will need to fly, Caleb and Gray can’t come along, but he brings Ryan and Zahira with him instead.
Caleb and Gray understand why John has to go without them, but it is still hard being left out of John’s investigation for the second time. They want to be there for him, and truth be told, they are worried that John is pulling away as he deals with all the distress. Given that Gray forcibly possessed Caleb early on, they wonder if perhaps it is a painful reminder for John about his own forced possession. But they know they have no choice but to wait and be there for John, however he may need them. In the meantime, Caleb, Gray, and Night are investigating the case of a fifolet that is luring people away in the swamps and killing them to harvest their bones. It gives Gray and Night a chance to go demon hunting and to keep busy while John is gone.
When John finds himself face to face with Walsh, he finally gets to ask all the questions that have been burning inside of him. Between meeting Walsh and getting access to the files on the thumb drive they found, John is finally getting answers about his past — and the truth turns out to be devastating.
Oh, how I love this series! And if you have questions this season, this installment brings the answers. The story does offer a ghoul hunt as usual, but the real focus here is on revealing the secrets of John’s past, and things all come pouring out here. We learn what was really going on at the Center for Loving Redemption, how John lost his own memories, whose memories have replaced his, who is behind the Center’s funding, and, most importantly, who John actually is. It is fascinating and horrifying and ties together lots of details we have learned along the way to give us a big reveal. Of course, the answers here open up some new paths for John and the gang, particularly as he wants to find out more about his past. But this book definitely brings us a lot of answers and serves as sort of a transition point for the season.
The mystery side of things is more minimal in this story. A fifolet is killing people off an old road near the swampland and Night and Gray team up to find it. I continue to find Night a nice source of comic relief, particularly his incredibly inept attempts to appear human (“We humans enjoy canoeing”). And it is fun to see the two drakuls teaming up to work together, as well as Caleb’s growing tolerance for dealing with Night. But this is less a mystery and more a “hunt” in the sense that there isn’t much investigation here the way there are in most of the books. I think that makes sense, as the real focus here is what is going on with John, but it does make things not quite as intense on the paranormal side as most installments.
From a relationship end, John and Caleb/Gray are separated from each other again for most of the book. Caleb and Gray are really worried about John and fear he is pulling away. They have a lot of uncertainty and little time to really talk to John about it. This is a theme that has started in earlier books and continues to play out here, so I hope we get some attention/resolution to this part of the plot soon. These guys are best when they are together, so while I appreciate the focus on John’s backstory, I do want to see them solidly working together again.
So like I said, things really heat up with this installment and some of the revelations are pretty mind blowing. I continue to really love this series and I can’t wait for more!