Author: Christina Henry
First Published: April 13, 2021
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Format: Hardcover, Paperback
Source: Library, Purchased
Mattie can't remember a time before she and William lived alone on a mountain together. She must never make him upset. But when Mattie discovers the mutilated body of a fox in the woods, she realizes that they’re not alone after all.
There’s something in the woods that wasn’t there before, something that makes strange cries in the night, something with sharp teeth and claws.
When three strangers appear on the mountaintop looking for the creature in the woods, Mattie knows their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry.Also by this author: The Ghost Tree
Warnings: Violence, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Gore, Dead Animals, Death
Despite the menacing beast of the woods, able to rip and tear animals to shreds, the most terrifying thing in the woods is a man. Martha can’t remember anything before she came to live in a cabin in the woods with a man named William. She is significantly younger than him, barely twenty-one, and she lives in fear of upsetting her husband, who rules over her life with a bible and a fist. This novel was more horrifying than terrifying, my heart bled for Martha, who struggles with maintaining her sense of self. Perfectly paced with a genuinely scary mystery wondering what it is that lurks in the woods and a powerful allegory about the powerlessness of people trapped in an abusive home.
My one major gripe is that the other characters clearly don’t act in ways that I think a normal person would in dire circumstances. They were a little more like the characters you see in a horror movie that continually make stupid mistakes even after constant warnings. The other issue I found is that Mattie mentions that she had been living with William for what she estimates is around 12 years within the first few chapters of the book, and then is shocked later when someone tells her it has been 12 years. It is a silly thing that was seemingly missed during a round of editing.
Despite my few issues with the book, Near the Bone was by far one of the most chilling books that I’ve read in a long time. It is a page-turner that I absolutely could not put down, I was hungry to know what would happen in the end. I am so glad that I took a chance on this book, I wasn’t sure how it would go but it has easily made it onto my list of favorite books that I’ve read this year!
“They didn’t know how to be quiet because they’d never really needed to be. They didn’t have to hide from monsters that might hurt them.”