Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Little Bones by N V Peacock


First her name was Leigh-Ann.  She lived with her parents and had an idyllic childhood.  Then she was called Little Bones when her father was arrested and convicted of being Mr. Bones, a prolific serial killer.  He killed little boys and used their painted bones to make colorful sculptures, using Leigh-Ann to make the rides he offered seem safe.  After his conviction, her mother couldn't live with the infamy and killed herself so Leigh-Ann grew up in foster homes, always watched with suspicion and the first to be accused whenever anything went wrong.

But those days are behind her.  As soon as she legally could, she changed her name to Cherry.  For ten years, she has worked at a butcher's shop, her co-workers her friends.  She has a long term boyfriend and the love of her life, her son Robin.  All in all, it's a safe, predictable life and it's heaven on Earth to her.

But things are about to change.  A young boy has gone missing.  Worse, a college student with journalistic hopes has decided to create a podcast and his first case is that of Mr. Bones.  He has somehow tracked Cherry down and has outed her on his podcast, giving her new name and her place of work.  How can this be?  No one knows about Cherry's past.  She never even told Leo, her boyfriend.  How can she tell him now after all this time?

When Robin goes missing while at the fair with Cherry, everything stops.  She can't live without her son and the first boy never returned home.  The police assure her that they are doing everything possible but Cherry is determined to pull strings they don't have access to.  She reaches out to anyone she thinks can help, psychics, relatives of other missing boys and even her imprisoned father whom she hasn't seen in over a decade.  Can she find Robin before he suffers the fate of her father's victims?

I listened to this novel.  The main narrator, Stephanie Racine, uses her voice to portray the desperation and heartbreak Cherry goes through.  The novel is set in England and her accent transports the reader to that locale.  There is a secondary narrator who narrates various chapters on the podcast, a male voice that portrays the juvenile yearnings of the podcaster.

N V Peacock has written a chilling tale of the past finding the secrets about ourselves we hope to hide forever.  Cherry has built a new life from an unimaginable past but it can be torn away by anyone determined enough to research her path after the trial.  She also covers the popular world of criminal podcasts and the harm that those who cover crimes without investigative knowledge and a police background can do.  That's a topic I've thought about quite a bit as the criminal podcast world exploded.  Some are very well researched and provide answers that the police don't have the resources to find but some are just riding on the popular bandwagon and probably do as much harm as good.  This book is recommended for thriller readers.

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