Monday, April 5, 2021

Book Review: Near the Bone by Christina Henry

The creature roared again, and the person outside was screaming, screaming long horrible cries of pain that seemed to push inside her ears and press against her eyeballs and stop up her throat.

I think because I found Henry's Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook so brilliant and new, I had high expectations for whatever of hers I'd read next; and it turned out to be this book, which is a very fine horror thriller but nothing exceptional or stand out.

Near the Bone by Christina Henry
Berkley, 2021
Digital review copy

It's a creature feature, only there are two monsters: the one in the woods mutilating things and the one Mattie's married to who hurts her relentlessly. Very quickly, Mattie has to decide which monster she fears more, especially when surviving one monster exposes her to the other.

The book is a quick read, and has a very cinematic feel; it hews closely to the standard horror movie formula so well that I could anticipate the next beat. But the quick clip means there's not enough space to breathe into the story, so to speak, so while we get great insight into Mattie and her marriage, everything else is just landscape or tension. The insight, depth, and emotional horror that Henry evoked in Lost Boy is just missing here. It's entertaining and diverting, but on closing the book I felt like I missing half the story somehow.

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