The Bone Keeper

Written by Luca Veste

Review written by Andrew Hill

A former Customs and Police Officer, Andrew Hill is just putting the finishing touches to the first book in a crime series set in the New Forest, where he lived for 30 years. An avid reader across the crime genre and regular at Crimefest, he now lives in West Sussex and works in property.


The Bone Keeper
Simon & Schuster
RRP: £7.99
Released: March 8 2018
PBK

So many countries have their ‘bogeyman’ legends such as ‘Bloody Bones’ in the Southern U.S.A., ‘Oude Rode Ogen’ in Belgium, ‘Robaninos’ of Mexico and ‘Morko’ from Finland. Here in the U.K. we have a quite a few, like ‘Awd Coggie’, ‘Tom Duckin’ and ‘Black Annis’. In all cases their USP is to scare, take, or even kill children. Luca Veste taps into this rich vein of folklore, with Liverpool and its surrounding area as the setting for ‘The Bone Keeper’.

DC Louise Henderson is called to a woman found wandering distressed, having been assaulted. Teaming up with her DS - Paul Shipley, they interview the woman after she’s been treated in hospital and are told a story that reaches back into Louise’s past and that of her missing younger brother.

The victim, Caroline Rickards tells them that she’s been attacked by ‘The Bone Keeper’, a woodland creature who’s traditionally been blamed for any child that has gone missing and is used by parents to frighten kids into behaving with a local ditty.

The Bone Keeper’s coming.

The Bone Keeper’s real.

He doesn’t stop.

He doesn’t feel.

The author manages to craft a story of dual time lines with guile and pace. Well-fleshed out characters and an encyclopaedic knowledge of setting, gives us a story that delightfully tiptoes along the border of horror and the supernatural, whilst keeping a firm foot in the real world.

This is a masterly piece of ’smoke and mirrors’ that reaches down into our psyche, revealing our own fears and exposing the child that still lurks in us all.

To steal from a well-known ditty, ‘If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise’. I can’t recommend this too highly, as it’s an absolutely cracking read.

 


 



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