Book: Forgotten Bones
Author: Vivian Barz
Pages: 298 (Kindle)
Published: August 2019 (UK)
My Rating: 2/5 Stars
Good evening! Today's book review is on Vivian Barz's book 'Forgotten Bones'.
When small-town police officers discover the grave of a young boy, they’re quick to pin the crime on a convicted felon who lives nearby. But when it comes to murder, Officer Susan Marlan never trusts a simple explanation, so she’s just getting started.
Meanwhile, college professor Eric Evans hallucinates a young boy in overalls: a symptom of his schizophrenia—or so he thinks. But when more bodies turn up, Eric has more visions, and they mirror details of the murder case. As the investigation continues, the police stick with their original conclusion, but Susan’s instincts tell her something is off. The higher-ups keep stonewalling her, and the FBI’s closing in.
Desperate for answers, Susan goes rogue and turns to Eric for help. Together they take an unorthodox approach to the case as the evidence keeps getting stranger. With Eric’s hallucinations intensifying and the body count rising, can the pair separate truth from illusion long enough to catch a monster?
(From Goodreads - Link)
This book is very different to what I usually go for. It’s the first horror/mystery book that I have read, as I’ve never understood how a book could produce horror – with films or TV, it’s often the music, dramatic tension or jumpscares that create the screams, yet while reading it can’t produce the same effect. I have very mixed opinions on this book, and deem it two stars, although towards the end it does creep very slightly into 3-star territory (yet I’m still sticking my two-star ranking!).
The story is focused around the mystery of who murdered the 14 (and counting!) children found in a local farm. Susan, a young police officer, hopes to make her mark in the police station by solving the biggest case in years! But with the FBI taking over the investigation, she finds she has little chance to input her theories. Eager to progress in her career, she decides to do some investigating of her own… Meanwhile, Eric (a man with schizophrenia and who has recently moved to the town) begins to experience hallucinations of a young boy who may have a strong connection to the murdered children. Teaming up, Susan and Eric decide to work together to find out who is responsible for the murders, with a couple of twists and turns along the way.
Okay, I’m going to be honest. It started badly. I didn’t like the opening at all, far too much swearing, overly descriptive sexual behaviours and I was close to DNF-ing already! I thought I should carry on however and at least try a few more chapters before giving up. Unfortunately, it was only at the half-way point of the book that it started to get interesting. Until then, there were far too many descriptions of the characters and their backstories which could have been summarised more briefly. Yet, once Susan and Eric had met the story started rolling! Admittedly, I did guess who committed the murders – although there was a twist at the end which did surprise me!
Structurally, as mentioned above, it took a while to get going. It’s split between the perspective of Susan, and the perspective of Eric (though Eric’s part was quite long-drawn and repetitive at times). The characterisation was okay, there was no particular ‘character development’ that I noticed though. I really wanted to read this book out of the intrigue for how Eric’s schizophrenia was portrayed (being a mental health blogger after all!) and it wasn’t too bad. There were a couple of stigmatising terms in there but it could have been worse.
What I didn’t like though, was the sheer amount of strong language! There was so much that it became irritating to read, and there were also quite a lot of sexual references and descriptions that made me feel uncomfortable.
Like I say, mixed opinions. It started off far too slowly for me and only became exciting from maybe 75% of the way through. It did surprise me in the end, so that’s something. As for the whole ‘horror’ genre, my opinion remains unchanged. There’s a whole lot of potential TW for this book, so apologies if I miss any out but here goes – murder, kidnapping, missing people, graphic sexual descriptions, hallucinations, mentions of suicide and SH, paranormal activity and strong language. I give this book 2 out of 5 Stars as I wouldn’t reread it as it simply wasn’t my cup of tea. The ending nearly pushed it up to 3 stars, but not quite. But who knows, it's only my opinion and you may enjoy it.
Have you read ‘The Forgotten Bones’? What did you think?
Disclaimer: As mentioned in my 'Terms and Conditions' page, I am not asked to write my book reviews, contacted by the author/publisher in any way nor have I been given anything in exchange for my reviews, unless otherwise stated.