REVIEW: THE BONES OF YOU, BY DEBBIE HOWELLS

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In a small English village, a young girl has gone missing. Rosie Anderson’s eighteen years flash before her eyes, as she looks down upon the life she lost; she describes this “movie of her life” as she sees it, in freeze frame images, starting in her childhood. Her voice is the first one we hear, and we will see her alternately reveal much as the story continues.

Our story then picks up with our narrator, Kate McKay, a friend of the Anderson family. Neal and Jo are Rosie’s parents, and Kate has just learned from Jo that Rosie has gone missing. Kate’s daughter Grace is distraught at the news of Rosie’s disappearance, and in the early days of August, there is still hope that she will be found. Or that they will all discover that Rosie has just gone off with a friend and no harm has come to her. After all, Rosie is not known for rebellious streaks.

Neal Anderson is a renowned journalist, charming, and many are in awe of him. His wife Jo is gorgeous and their home is perfect. Everything seems perfect. As we know in life, nothing is perfect.

And as “The Bones of You” unfolds, we learn that nothing is as it seems, and darkness lies beneath the surface. Abuse, dangerous passions, and perhaps even murderous impulses. Who can know what such people are capable of…what secrets might hide beneath the polished veneer? And why is Delphine, the youngest daughter, seemingly ignored? What secrets might she be hiding?

We see the layers of this dark, psychological suspense unpeeling slowly, and meet others in the village, like Rachael, a friend of Kate’s, and Angus, Kate’s husband. Laura is a journalist friend of Kate’s who appears after Rosie’s body is found and the determination has been made that she was murdered.

Kate was close to Rosie, who enjoyed coming over to spend time with the horses. Kate is an earthy character, a gardener, while Jo is distant, seemingly superficial, and unpredictable in her moods. She is often aloof, and then needy. Who can tell what is really going on in her perfect world, now destroyed by her daughter’s death?

There is a slow build of suspense and gradual revelations, both from Rosie’s perspective, and then through bits and pieces from others. What happened to Rosie? Could her boyfriend Alex, whom the parents disapproved of, be responsible? Or could her murderer be someone even closer?

A chilling story that kept me rapidly turning pages, figuring out some of it fairly early, but then stunned by what is finally revealed. And we see how a moral compass was lost, a brain short-circuited, and someone slipped into madness. How what we see in others often hides the truth and we may never know what that is. Until someone finds the courage to step forward. 4.5 stars.

**This e-Arc was received from the publisher via NetGalley.

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