Near the Bone by Christina Henry is one part Emma Donoghue’s Room and the other part The Relic by Preston and Child. This off mix of kidnapping slash survival works really well to the theme of one woman beating her demons literally and physically. This is the third Henry that I have read and this one was my favorite so far, I have read Alice and The Ghost Tree before this. Where I always have appreciated Henry’s overall story, this novel felt very real, and raw. I enjoyed it but there is a lot of trigger warnings on domestic abuse, kidnapping, child endangerment, and manipulation/gaslighting. This is a really fast paced novel, that is deeply psychological. Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley books for the advanced reader’s copy, Near the Bone by Christina Henry is published on April 13th 2021.
The Plot: Mattie lives with William on top of a cold mountain. William is a controlling terrifyingly frightening man that treats Mattie like a slave than a wife. He keeps her locked up and beats her regularly so Mattie is docile. William is a monster, but what they find in the woods terrifies even him, a fox ripped in half most of it organs and none are missing, with big tracks leading to it, then nothing. They investigate and find a cave that has piles of various organs and skulls. William is determined to kill it but, he’s not the only one who discovered the creature, when a group of college kids find William and Mattie in the woods, they thought was abandoned. Mattie and one the college kids Griffen has a connection with Mattie and swears he knows her from somewhere. Mattie tells them to leave but it starts her own spiral in finding out who she is and what the creature really is.
What I Liked: the mixing of genres, it was interesting, it kind of reminded me of the movie 10 Cloverfield Ln. I liked Mattie and how we got to see her find her inner strength. William was a monster, that was terrifying to read. As for the real monster, I liked the descriptions my mind was trying to fill in the gaps since no one really gets a good view of it. I like the flashbacks, especially the bathroom scene, which is so raw and you really get into Mattie’s psychology early that she cares about others and fears for them more than herself because she can take the abuse.
What I Disliked: William’s blank holes filled me with so many questions, did he want Mattie’s mother to join him on the mountain. We never found out if Heather, Mattie’s sister, is still alive.
Recommendations: This is the only Christina Henry book that I have recommended. Near the Bone is a wild ride both emotionally and scary. It has two horrors in it, each just as dangerous. I rated Near the Bone by Christina Henry 4 out of 5 stars.