This is an INTENSE book. The faint-at-heart may want to stay away.
Mattie lives with William, alone in a remote location in a small wooden shack on a mountain. Mattie must always obey the will of her husband. She must keep quiet, keep out of sight, and fulfill all wifely duties. If she questions William, it is the same as questioning God and therefore she will be punished by William’s wrath. She knows what William is capable of and she does not want to make William upset.
One day William takes Mattie with him as he goes further up into the mountains to explore an old cave. Mattie sees the mutilated body of a fox and senses something evil, something ancient, something primal, nearby and she desperately wants to get away – so much so that she’s even willing to defy William and suffer his abuse.
Later, Mattie encounters three hikers looking to record the presence of an ancient creature. Despite her protestations to get away, they insist on searching. Mattie’s sure that if the creature she knows is out there doesn’t get them, William will. He’s very protective of his property – including Mattie.
But worlds collide when one member of the exploring trio recognizes Mattie; when William discovers the hikers; and when beast in the mountains feels threatened by all the activity
Author Christina Henry is a remarkable, talented story-teller. Early on she sets a tone for this book that is dark and troublesome. We readers begin to form assumptions about the situation, but Henry slowly builds on what is, unfortunately, a very real horror for too many women in this world. That building changes only the direction in the readers’ mind, but not the realness of the horror.
The horror builds gradually, shockingly, beautifully.
This is some of the best horror I’ve read in a long time. In part because the horror lives on at least two different levels – and I’m not sure which one is more horrific.
There is a trail of blood and gore through the end of the book, though Henry doesn’t rely on ‘splatter fiction’ to get under the reader’s skin. And the ending hints at something positive, as well as the very real possibility of a returning horror.
Looking for a good book? Christina Henry’s Near the Bone is a tremendously well written, dark tale. If you think you can handle a powerful, real horror, as well as the dark unknown horror, then you must give this a read.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Near the Bone
author: Christina Henry
publisher: Berkley Books
paperback, 336 pages