On a cold January morning, a nightmare awaits in a small Sussex village. A deranged young man goes on the rampage, shooting everyone in his path before taking his own life. It is a senseless, tragic event, but sadly not an unfamiliar one.
At least that’s what everyone thinks.
Only Julia Trent – believed to be the sole survivor – knows that there was a second man involved. But after being shot and badly injured, her account of the massacre is ignored.
But she cannot let it rest there. Together with Craig Walker, the journalist son of one of the victims, Julia sets out to find the truth. As they peel back the layers of a dark and dangerous conspiracy, they discover the slaughter did not begin on that bitter day in January. And worst of all, it won’t end there…
After reading and loving See How They Run I had added more Tom Bale books to my TBR list. I decided to read Skin and Bones as part of my 10 books of summer as I liked the fact that it started with a massacre.
Tom has rapidly become one of my favourite thriller writers. I love his descriptions and his use of similes really set my imagination on fire. He makes the mundane incredibly chilling;
‘She’d been shot in the back of the head. The resulting debris lay around her like old porridge.’
The book starts with a bang when we are transported to a sleepy, middle class village in Sussex in the midst of a massacre. Brilliantly written, Tom conveys a silence and a stillness in the village that gives the reader a real sense of foreboding. I thought to myself “yes this it what it would probably be like” and you really feel as though you are there and experiencing the situation along with the character, Julia. His pace is perfect, ending paragraphs and chapters at just the right moment to keep you on the edge of your seat. Tom is a master at building tension!
This is no ordinary massacre, however, and what transpires is a host of secrets, bitterness and despicable business men. The middle part of the book did slow down a little bit, however, it was ratcheted up again towards the latter half. Full of twists and turns and questions over who can and cannot be trusted it kept me turning the pages.
There are a lot of characters within the book, however, I was able to keep up with them all. I particularly liked Julia Trent, a strong woman despite, or maybe because of, all she has been through.
I really enjoyed this book, the writing is excellent and it took me on a journey I did not expect. I am waiting with baited breath for Tom’s next novel and will be reading my way through his previous books.
Published on 1 January 2009 by Preface Digital.