Thursday, 1 April 2021

Tall Bones by Anna Bailey


When seventeen-year-old Emma leaves her best friend Abi at a party in the woods, she believes, like most girls her age, that their lives are just beginning. Many things will happen that night, but Emma will never see her friend again.

Abi's disappearance cracks open the façade of the small town of Whistling Ridge, its intimate history of long-held grudges and resentment. Even within Abi's family, there are questions to be asked - of Noah, the older brother whom Abi betrayed, of Jude, the shining younger sibling who hides his battle scars, of Dolly, her mother and Samuel, her father - both in thrall to the fire and brimstone preacher who holds the entire town in his grasp. Then there is Rat, the outsider, whose presence in the town both unsettles and excites those around him.

Anything could happen in Whistling Ridge, this tinder box of small-town rage, and all it will take is just one spark - the truth of what really happened that night out at the Tall Bones....

The cover and synopsis of Tall Bones screamed sinister and thrilling to me so I was keen to see what debut author Anna Bailey had hidden between the pages of this book.

A teenage girl Abi heads into the woods leaving her best friend Emma behind and she is never seen again. In the small town of Whistling Ridge everyone knows everyone’s business but nobody knows what happened to Abi, if she is dead or alive but there is plenty of opinions flowing through the racist and homophobic community and it seems like it is only her best friend Emma who is truly determined to find answers to her friends’ disappearance.

With so many dark secrets hidden amongst the community it isn’t long before they all start unravelling but will Abi ever be found?

This was a dark, troubled and wicked novel that was unpredictable, I never quite knew if we were ever going to find out what really happened to Abi but all the dirty secrets we began to unearth on her family and local town folk sure made for gritty reading. I think the author has thrown every raw and negative issue into the storyline from racism, abuse and homophobia which certainly gave a dark undertone to the novel and the only lightness that shone through was from our only loveable and sweet natured character, Emma!

I did find it took me a while to settle into the structure of the book as it is told from a vast amount of characters points of view as well as moving back and forth in time and this sometimes left me a little mind boggled and did effect the flow of the storyline but as the storyline progressed I did become familiar with who was who and the parts told by them became longer and more indepth so it didn’t jump about as frequently.

All in all this was a gritty debut with an author who shows promise and is not afraid on tackling issues that are unpleasant as well as concealing the truth right up until that pivotal moment.

Kindle                     Paperback

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