Review: The Skeleton King by Lauren Gilley

skeleton kingReviewed by Carrie

By now you’ve all realized my love for this contemporary series.  The author calls it a “southern family drama with bikers” and I think that’s a pretty fair scant description.  I think of it more as a romantic suspense with richly drawn characters who happen to be outlaw bikers.  This is the fourth story in the series and is not a standalone. Start at the beginning and come thank me later.

Kingston Walsh, Lean Dogs MC Vice President and resident magic money man, usually has a solution for most problems the MC comes up against.  He’s the mastermind behind the Dartmoor complex, having successfully acquired legitimate diverse businesses to bolster the MC’s coffers.  Walsh is the first person that the club turns to when they find out that there are developers looking to buy the horse farm that the club’s “graveyard” property abuts.  As a former jockey, Walsh knows all about horse farms.  He convinces the club that their best shot at protecting their interests would be to buy the farm.

The farm does come with some enticing perks, mainly in the form of the barn manager, Emmie Johansen.  Emmie has thrown her heart and soul into this farm and is initially devastated at the prospect of it being sold off and torn down.  She is distrustful of anyone buying her beloved farm until she meets Walsh and is comforted in his knowledge and appreciation of horses and the quiet life of the farm.   The initial attraction flames quickly, but as soon as Emmie discovers that Walsh is one of “those dangerous bikers,” she quickly puts him to the back of her mind.

Walsh is a patient man and knows what he wants. Although Emmie has misgivings, she wants something more out of life than just horses.  When Walsh steps in time and again to help Emmie with family and farm issues, she gives in more to assuage her loneliness.  Their affair is quickly put to the test by outside forces and Emmie, unwittingly, finds herself smack dab in the middle of club business and choosing the club becomes a life or death proposition.

The story is told in alternating points of view and other club members (holla at Mercy and Ava!) get significant page time.  Emmie and Walsh’s relationship, on the quiet side already, really takes a back seat in the second half of the book as the suspense plots heat up.  There are several sub-plots threaded throughout that keep the reader engaged as to where the story is going. I, for one, am very intrigued by Tango’s story that the author has been hinting at in the last two books.  Ghost is adorable trying to be more engaged with Ava and her babies and starting to finally guide Aiden to leadership in the club (and life).  Most of all, Queen Maggie steals any scene that she’s in on and it’s glorious.

Although the author writes in a lovely lyrical style that I appreciate, I understand how a reader might feel a bit overwhelmed with her descriptive prose.  The overall story supersedes any minor niggles I might have.  Each time I open one of these books, I feel totally immersed in the world.  With the bomb that is dropped at the end of this book, I am chomping on my nails to get to Aiden’s next.

Rating: B

*Review copy provided by author

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Skeleton King
by Lauren Gilley
Release Date: September 15, 2015

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