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Little Bones: The most chilling serial killer thriller you’ll read this year Paperback – 3 March 2021
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- Publisher : Avon GB (3 March 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0008436355
- ISBN-13 : 978-0008436353
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
- Customer Reviews:
‘A twisty-turny original take on the serial killer thriller. A truly captivating and, at times, chilling read.’ C.J. Skuse, author of Sweetpea
‘A twisted, chilling journey to the darkest side of human nature. I burned through Little Bones in a day.’ Chris Whitaker, author of We Begin at the End
‘An exciting new voice in thriller fiction. Little Bones is a gripping read!’ Sarah Pinborough, author of Behind Her Eyes
‘Wow – this deftly plotted, twisty – and twisted – thriller got under my skin and chilled me to the bone! Excellent from the first page until the last. This is a debut not to be missed.’ Sam Carrington, author of The Open House
‘Darkly addictive and creepy as hell, Little Bones lingers long after the last page.’ Jane Isaac, author of Hush Little Baby
‘One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Fantastic characterisation, gripping plot and totally unexpected twists and turns. This is the golden triangle – plot, pace and character, all together. Loved it!’ Suzy K Quinn, author of Don’t Tell Teacher
The most chilling serial killer thriller you’ll read this year
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Top reviews from Australia
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Now with a new name, Cherrie Forrester, ‘Little Bones’ has a son of her own and a new, peaceful life, living with her loving boyfriend and working at a local food market. She’s ordinary. As ordinary as you can possibly get. Until a wannabe crime reporter podcaster ties a modern missing-child case to her father’s crimes and reveals her new identity to the public.
Suddenly, people are asking if Little Bones is following in her father’s footsteps. A stalker appears at her work… and then on her doorstep. A psychic warns her son is in danger. And then, on an innocent visit to a travelling fair, Cherrie’s son goes missing. Is it revenge? A copycat? Or a horrific coincidence? To find her son, Cherrie knows she’ll do anything. Anything at all. Including letting out the darkness she keeps hidden deep inside. With the bones.
This definitely has more than a few resemblances to Prodigal Son - who do the children of monsters become? - but it’s not as atmospherically creepy. There are definite questions as to exactly what Cherrie knew, what she did, but even so… what can an eight year old understand about right and wrong when her father is the monster teaching her that making sculptures from childrens’ bones is perfectly normal behaviour?
The only thing I didn’t quite buy into here was the behaviour of Cherrie’s partner. Discovering your partner is the daughter of a notorious serial killer on the same day your son goes missing didn’t seem to provoke the extreme reaction I’d have expected, in either case. I would have had a whole lot more questions than Leo seemed compelled to ask, just to begin with. I’m also not sure I believed in the happy ending outlined for their little family; how could you live with that notoriety in a place where everyone knew who you were? Surely a name change and a relocation would have been on the cards.
I did really like Cherrie. Despite her shocking background, she was trying so very hard to be normal, to leave it all behind her, and quite frankly, I might have reacted with exactly the same kind of murderous rage if one of my sons went missing.
I’ll give this four stars for an intriguing exploration of what happens to the descendants of the worst criminals. There were a couple of delightfully creepy little touches, but I’d have liked to see more input from Mr. Bones himself and more interaction between him and Cherrie.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.
The ending felt rushed. The story was carefully spaced out and then all of a sudden it's done. I was left wanting more. I'm interested to see what N.V. Peacock comes up with next.
Top reviews from other countries
The more I learnt about the “Bones” history, the more I was intrigued. How much did Cherrie know about her dad’s crimes? How much of life is nature and how much is nurture? Is being a serial killer genetic?! But Cherrie’s problems don’t end with hiding her and her family’s past… someone is out to destroy her future.
I zipped through this fast paced read in under 24 hours, totally hooked into Cherrie’s world. Practically everyone I met along the way had a reason to take from Cherrie. I tried to work out was going to happen but each time I thought I was right, Peacock proved me wrong.
This is a fantastic thriller that grabbed me from the start. If this is Peacock’s first adult book, I’m definitely looking forward to see what’s coming next!
I will only touch on the plot in order to avoid spoilers as this kind of thriller is best read ‘cold’ for maximum impact. Cherrie Forrester has a settled life with her boyfriend, Leo, and their eight-year-old son, Robin. Yet Cherrie has a secret. She was born Leigh-Ann Hendy and in 1990 when she was eight her father was arrested for the murders of a number of children. He was nicknamed Mr. Bones, and his daughter, who he had used to lure his victims, became known as Little Bones.
When a local child goes missing, Jai Patel, the host of a true crime podcast reveals Cherrie’s new identity and hints that she might not only be involved in the recent disappearance but also had been her father’s apprentice. This revelation threatens Cherrie’s new life.
This was a terrific psychological thriller. Cherrie was at times a very difficult character to empathise with though was certainly fierce in her determination to distance herself from her father’s dark legacy and to protect her loved ones.
The audiobook was excellent and contained exclusive bonus material in the form of dramatisations of a number of ‘The Flesh on the Bones’ podcast interviews. These added an extra dimension to the narrative, including a sting in the tale final scene. These were read by Raj Ghatak, Lisa Armytage, Jessica Ball, Candida Gubbins, John Sackville and Richard Trinder.
The main narrator, Stephanie Racine, is a well established voice actor with a wide range of titles to her CV. Her voice is rich and I felt that she did an excellent job in bringing Cherrie/Leigh-Ann to life.
Definitely an unusual crime thriller and I would thoroughly recommend its audiobook either in combination with the print edition or on its own.
4.5 stars rounded up to 5.
From the start of this book, I thought this is a writer I can definitely get behind. Just a few turns of phrase here and there that show the author trusts the reader to follow her lead and doesn't need to pull them by the nose. Cherrie's family dynamic is well established, as a still-unmarried mum, whose relationship with her child's father is still tentative, not just because his mother looks down on her, but because she has an unspoken unease around them (and not just about her secret past identity as the daughter of a serial killer, used as a lure for the boy victims in her father's crimes). All that is done really well. We see the story from her point of view, in immersive present tense, and yes, she's an incredibly flawed protagonist, but that is both unsurprising, given her backstory, and quite refreshing. She overreacts, she's fiery and aggressive, and this helps to ramp up the pace as Cherrie seeks to defend herself, and follow scant leads looking for her missing son like a bull in a china shop.
Ultimately, there were a few things that detracted from the perfectly competent storytelling: I was hugely disappointed that the author backed off from setting this story in an authentic Northampton. Even where other authors have made up fictional versions of their home towns, I have appreciated when they have tried to capture the detail and essence, like Meera Syal does with "Tollington". I'm afraid I get none of that from Peacock's Northampton. Black Friars is a generic park, rather than any of the distinctive ones the town has, and the train station resembles neither the new one or the old one. Occasionally there is the smell of chips, but no waft of Carlsberg. We're missing a great deal of atmosphere, drama and grit that could be conjured by writing about the real Northampton, or just somewhere with a bit more body.
Also there were a number of things that didn't ring true: like fairs only opening after absolute dark; public searches again, being at night rather than the day, and multiple assertions that podcasters can say what they like, when they are definitely subject to defamation and anti-harassment laws. Poetic license regarding the workings of the generic train station can be forgiven. But, all these are minor weaknesses in an intriguing page-turner.
Goes well with Samantha Lee-Howe and Paula Hawkins.