This is the first adult thriller by N.V Peacock, who has previously written young adult horror/supernatural books. This debut into the adult genre packs a hefty punch and I couldn't put it down.
Little Bones follows the story of Cherrie, who used to be Leigh-Ann, AKA Little Bones. To keep it simple I'm going to call her Cherrie as that's the name the character chose for herself. Cherrie is the daughter of a serial killer the media dubbed Mr. Bones. Cherrie's father used her as bait to entice young boys into his car and killed them, using them for his macabre artworks and allowing Cherrie to help him in his studio.
Years after Cherrie's father is convicted and incarcerated, a young boy goes missing and a podcast which draws similarities between this new missing persons case and the crimes of Mr Bones turns Cherrie's life upside down. Cherrie has hidden her identity and with one fell swoop the creator of this podcast has ruined Cherrie's life.
Like I said, this isn't the author's first book, just their first step into adult thrillers and the writing is impeccable. The way the author portrays Cherrie's descent into sleep deprivation and a willingness to do whatever it takes to put her life back together is very eerie, fast paced and enthralling. The characters felt very real and at one point I almost picked up my phone to google Mr. Bones to check if he was a real criminal and this was based on a true story.
The sentence structure is punchy, a lot of sentences are short and deliver information rapid fire and as the main character unravels the writing becomes more intense and perfectly illustrates Cherrie's mindset. The dialogue is similar in that the characters are short tempered and angry with each other and it perfectly shines through. I did find the dialogue a little jarring at first but once I got used to it, I was hooked.
As mentioned, Cherrie is the daughter of a serial killer. Her mother killed herself when she found out what her husband was doing and Cherrie was put in foster care. When she turned 17 she changed her name from Leigh Ann to Cherrie and left her old life behind.
Her new life includes her boyfriend Leo and their son Robin. Both Leo and Robin have distinct and unique voices as characters and though Leo becomes a bit unlikeable that's in line with the character and story arc that unfolds. The side characters feel a little bit under-developed but that isn't surprising given how fast paced this thriller is. I did find myself having to clarify which side character was which a couple of times.
The atmosphere of this book is claustrophobic and creepy. Part of it takes place in a carnival setting which should be a happy and fun place but the book twists that until the carnival feels dark and foreboding. The atmosphere and settings match perfectly with Cherrie's inner monologue and the pace this thriller moves. I
This thriller kept me guessing until the last twist. I found myself suspecting everyone of the crime at the centre of this plot and kept wondering how the detectives in the story could be looking in the wrong direction, when I was too. I was wrong by the way, I never guessed who the criminal was.
The ending. It was abrupt and very unbelievable. That's all I'm going to say about that.
Despite the fact the ending is a bit weak the novel is a great first adult thriller and I was enthralled the entire way through. I stayed up way past my usual bedtime to finish it and to me that's the sign of a good book. If your eyes are heavy but you're fighting through it to read the last 2 chapters it's definitely at least a 4 star book in my eyes.
Not only was this the author's first adult thriller but I think it would be ideal for someone just getting into thrillers.
Trigger warnings: serial killer (duh), childhood trauma, kidnapping, murder, stalking.
Little Bones by N.V. Peacock comes out on the 31st of October 2020.
Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC.