In a character-driven novel such as Envy Rots the Bones by Nina Blakeman it seems easy to group the characters into the two broad categories of “good” and “bad.” In this crime/horror novel, there might be one good character, Dr. Todd Davis, and he seems to be a creature more deserving of pity than one possessing good, hero qualities. A medical researcher, he had been married to Annette, a woman despised by everyone, to include her mother. So maybe one could forgive Todd’s indiscretion in falling in love with Faye, a graduate student twenty years his junior. His children, twin daughters Emma and Ella, were troubled enough with the acceptance of Faye as “mom” to support conflicts throughout the novel. That didn’t excuse Faye’s admitted murder of Annette. Maybe Faye could claim self-defense since former wife Annette had kidnapped and tortured Faye with an objective of killing her. But Faye would only admit to the murder to herself, she would not assert a claim of self-defense in any public trial.