- The Bone Keeper.
- Luca Veste.
- 400 pages.
- Crime / Thriller / Mystery.
- My Rating: It’s OK Book Review.
What if the figure that haunted your nightmares as child, the myth of the man in the woods, was real?
He’ll slice your flesh.
Your bones he’ll keep.
Twenty years ago, four teenagers went exploring in the local woods, trying to find to the supposed home of The Bone Keeper. Only three returned.
Now, a woman is found wandering the streets of Liverpool, horrifically injured, claiming to have fled the Bone Keeper. Investigating officer DC Louise Henderson must convince sceptical colleagues that this urban myth might be flesh and blood. But when a body is unearthed in the woodland the woman has fled from, the case takes on a much darker tone.
The disappeared have been found. And their killer is watching every move the police make.
The blurb does a decent job of outlining the overall story told in The Bone Keeper. There has been an urban myth about ‘the Bone Keeper’ stalking, murdering and preying on people in the woods around Liverpool for many years. It’s a tale that has been passed down from generation to generation and is a story told to the children to scare them.
The Bone Keeper starts with a flashback from twenty years ago, helping to set the scene for the creepy legend that is the Bone Keeper itself. Four teenagers are in the woods, looking for the lair of the Bone Keeper in a disused tunnel, as kids are wont to do with urban legends, hoping to catch a glimpse of the mythical monster and be able to tell their friends that they saw the Bone Keeper and that it is real. As the blurb states, only three out of the four make it back out of the woods with one, lost, never to be seen again. A tragic and unfortunate disappearance or did something altogether more sinister occur and were they a victim of the bogeyman known as the Bone Keeper.
We then jump forward to the present where a woman is found wandering around near some woods with grievous injuries singing the lyrics to the childhood rhyme about the Bone Keeper.
“The Bone Keeper’s coming.
The Bone Keeper’s real.
He doesn’t stop.
He doesn’t feel.
He’ll snatch you up.
And make you weep.
He’ll slice your flesh.
Your bones he’ll keep.”
The woman claims to have been abducted, assaulted and then escaped from that whispered dread that is the Bone Keeper. Surely the Bone Keeper is just a myth? An urban legend of the area? It couldn’t possibly be real? Could it?
A search of the near-by woods soon adds an even more sinister twist to the story of the injured women as a body is found. Then, during the further investigation of the area more remains are subsequently unearthed as the woods house a burial ground (could they be victims of the Bone Keeper) and then the killings start to take place escalating in frequency.
When I read a book I like to feel a connection with the characters, whether it’s liking them, hating them or something in-between but regardless, I want to feel ‘something‘ when I read about them. Unfortunately with The Bone Keeper I didn’t, I felt they lacked depth, I was ambivalent towards them and I had the sense of being disconnected from the main character duo of DS Paul Shipley (who I just found to be rather dull) and DC Louise Henderson (who is hiding something that haunts her but just lacks the characterisation to make you care what it is). It was like there was a barrier and I was on the outside looking in at them as opposed to being there with them in their investigation.
In a similar fashion to the duo of Mulder and Scully from the X-Files where Mulder is a believer and Scully the sceptic. Determining whether or not the Bone Keeper is fact or fiction, man or monster you have Shipley taking on the role of the sceptic and Henderson as the believer who tries to make Shipley see the truth and that there is something to the myth of the Bone Keeper that is connected to the buried remains and the killings that are taking place.
Henderson has a secret and she appears to know more about the myth than she lets on. She feeds Shipley bits of information, guiding him to her way of thinking, to see that there is more than a simple rational explanation to the assaulted women and even the body and that there is truth in the old childhood tales about a monster roaming the woods.
The killings that take place are all rather random, there is no rhyme or reason to who has been killed or why which leads to many twists and turns in the investigation and no concrete suspect as the Police try to figure out the link/links between the victims.
To go with the present timeline there are some flashback scenes scattered throughout The Bone Keeper that all tie-in with the initial flashback from the beginning of the book. These help to set the atmosphere and add an air of mystery to the story. The actual myth and urban legend surrounding the Bone Keeper itself is sinister, oozes malevolence, is well incorporated into the story and was definitely my favourite part of the entire book.
The writing in The Bone Keeper is serviceable and, at times even decent. But, it failed to grab me, missing that spark that ignited my interest. There is also a distinct lack of humour (it’s non-existent and I do like a bit of dark humour in my thrillers) and for me, the pacing seemed off dragging in places and moving from one scenario to the next without any emotion or impact to the reader. It is, however, a good story with an intriguing premise that is somewhat let down by the execution. Personally, I had high hopes, I wanted to be consumed by the darkness and I was left underwhelmed and just wanted ‘more‘ from the book.
The Bone Keeper isn’t a ‘bad‘ book by any stretch of the imagination and if you are a fan of the genre or are just looking for a creepy and dark read then I’d suggest giving it a go. You never know, you might have a better time with it than me and I’d say it’s worth a read just for the urban legend of the Bone Keeper.
Purchase The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste.
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