Ink and Bone

Written by Lisa Unger

Review written by Adam Colclough

Adam Colclough lives and works in the West Midlands, he writes regularly for a number of websites, one day he will get round to writing a book for someone else to review.

Ink and Bone
Simon & Schuster
RRP: PBK £7.99 eBook £4.99
Released: July 28 2016

The Hollows, is a town in upstate New York with a long history as well as a lot of secrets. Enter Finley Montgomery, a twenty year old ‘misfit’ who is hoping to make a new start. Then a local private detective asks Finley to use her unique 'gift' to help find a missing girl. In doing so she must accept a role that will change her life forever and along the way dig into the dirt behind the picture book facade of her home town.

Crime fiction and the supernatural are not always comfortable partners, the pairing only works at all if it is done with a straight face; as the merest hint of irony is enough to make the whole thing fall flat. To her credit Lisa Unger shows such a straight face that if the book writing game ever goes cold, a second career on the poker circuit beckons. Not that there is much chance of that as she's too darned good.

She does the nuts and bolts of genre writing supremely well; the setting drips with spookiness linked to modern social neuroses and old folk tales. Her characters are well drawn with the right mix of flaws and virtues to make them interesting and she keeps the tension going to the dénouement.

Her biggest achievement though lies in having taken subject matter that in less skilled hands could be silly or derivative. This isn't about getting readers to suspend their disbelief so much as making them understand that to the characters experiencing it, the strange world which may appear superimposed onto our own, is entirely real - to them [and the reader].

In a narrative as well told as this, and as robustly linked to a believably created world, populated with memorably crafted characters; Unger’s tale will give even the most skeptical of readers, a chill down their spines.

It is worth checking all doors are firmly locked before starting this unsettling thriller.

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