Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

“The fifth book in the urban fantasy world of the Others picks up shortly after the Elders, particularly powerful and deadly forms of the Others, stopped an attempt by humans to kill off the shapeshifting Others and take over. Having wiped out much of humanity in this world’s version of Europe, the Elders, who have little experience with humans, want to know what makes some humans so much trouble. They decide to invisibly observe Lakeside Courtyard, where humans and Others have learned to co-exist. Unfortunately, the Elders turn up just as a particularly bad human arrives ­ the brother of police lieutenant Crispin James Montgomery, one of the cops who helped defend the Courtyard, and brought most of his family there to live. That brother, Cyrus, is totally different, a self-absorbed petty criminal who manipulates others to avoid the repercussions of his actions, with a troubled wife and two children already imitating their abusive father’s bad behavior. Cyrus makes a fascinating villain, too stupid or lazy to learn what’s really going on, making plans that fail because of his ignorance ­ which has its funny moments ­ but also causing a lot of pain for those around him. The leaders of the Courtyard, aware that the Elders are watching, keep a close eye on him, but his plans suddenly take a far more dangerous turn, leading to some serious thrills. As always, Bishop spins an engrossing tale ­ and ultimately we get a sweet ending that those who’ve been following the series should really appreciate, as the story arc involving Meg and Simon Wolfguard concludes.” — Locus