PREPARE FOR THE SACRIFICE OF THE FIRST FLESH…
Struggling with the effects of early-onset dementia, Dennie Keeling now
leads a quiet life. Her husband is dead, her children are grown, and her
best friend, Sarah, was convicted of murdering her abusive husband. After
Sarah’s tragic death in prison, Dennie has found solace in her allotment,
and all she wants is to be left to tend it in peace.
Life remains quiet for twelve years, until three strangers take on a nearby
plot and Dennie starts to notice unnatural things. Shadowy figures prowl
at night; plants flower well before their time. And then Sarah appears,
bringing dire warnings and vanishing after daubing symbols on the
walls in Dennie’s own blood. Dennie soon realises that she is face to face
with an ancient evil – but with her dementia steadily growing worse, who
is going to believe her?
Bone Harvest is an original and creative take on the horror novel structure. It’s a layered and reveal style narrative that opens up to the reader early on (keep reading as the book changes direction and pace; this is a book of two interconnecting halves). I really enjoyed the style of writing and began to read this book differently to others of the same genre. It’s really interesting knowing many of the answers and watching our protagonist come closer to the web.
I really enjoyed the setting; I love rural England and used to have an allotment (which I miss), so the backdrop worked really well for me, it’s great how it’s rooted in the ordinary rather than building grandeur or being overly gothic: this also builds great tension in the second, more driven part of the narrative.
Also, worthy of note is the disabilities of the principle character – she’s not a typical player in a horror novel, her limitations and onset of dementia draw in some wider themes of vulnerability, loss and the challenges of difference. I thought this layer was really interesting, and made the supernatural element deeper. This works really well after the opening stages of the novel coming from the antagonist’s perspectives, and increases her vulnerability.
An excellent modern horror book layered with themes of vulnerability, loss, mythology, evil and murder.
Oh, there’s also a dog – love Viggo!!