I received a copy of this title from the publisher, in return for an honest review...
A teenage girl has disappeared. Just who is the most concerned?
Her mother, Jo, a waspy housewife with a penchant for the finer things in life? Kate, a fellow mother of a teenage girl who suddenly becomes Jo's lifeline? Delphine, the younger sister of the missing girl? Neal, the girls father, a television journalist who is adored by all? When a body is discovered in the local woodland, the small rural village is shocked and secrets begin to seep through doorways and through the trees. All the while, they are being watched by Rosie. Neither here nor there, she recalls the events leading up to her disappearance and monitors the unfolding drama surrounding her family and friends. There are two sides to every story. Just who can be believed?
This debut psychological thriller is bound to split opinions. One the one hand it dismisses the importance of police procedural within the thriller genre and, on the other, it emphasises the need to identify and understand a character. While there were holes in the plot, (surrounding police presence and social workers involvement, for example) the novel does not suffer as a result. The story begins straight away, with Kate learning of Rosie's disappearance. The local mothers seem upset but untouched by the episode and Kate throws herself at the mercy of the girl's mother, Jo. The story is told from Rosie's perspective too, lending an ethereal feel and drawing the reader into the world of uncertainty. Similar to Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, there is a wonderful use of liminal space and tiny nuggets of information are drip-fed at a perfect pace. Other characters are solid, like Delphine, the troubled second daughter of Jo and Neal, who is a shady afterthought in her parent's lives. The reader is left to wonder at her safety, and indeed sanity, throughout. The ever-so-perfect Neal is obviously far from perfect from the start, but how much of the information given is true? The only character I wasn't keen on was Laura, a journalist and a former friend of Kate. She is one of the worst investigative journalist I have read in fiction. Basically, this is a story of belief. Just which side of the story is true? Keeping an open mind can be difficult and manipulation is a tool, almost as sharp as a knife...
"If you have two equally convincing opposing stories from two people who love each other, how do you work out what's true?"
"The thing is, one person's truth is very often another person's lie."
It is easy to see why this novel was acquired for six figures in a four-way auction. It is clever, wonderfully paced and is sure to be a huge word-of-mouth success. Psychological thrillers are all the rage at the moment, with The Girl on the Train hovering at the top of bestseller lists for over six months now and publishers wanting a piece of the the action. There are few books that will succeed, but I think this may well be one of them. A one sitting read, that will have your fingers worn as you turn the pages at breakneck speed. The characters may not be the brightest sparks, or even likeable, but they will suck you in to their world, and you may forget the one you actually live in for 340 pages. A brilliant read. Highly recommended...
The Bones of You is published by Macmillan on 16th July 2015 and will be available in hardback and ebook format.
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