Christina Henry has always been my favourite horror author because she is never afraid to write dark books with dark themes. And NEAR THE BONE is a dark book. Not only does it deal with terrifying supernatural monsters, it focuses on some very real human ones too.
As frightening as the monster element was, it primarily served as a reason to move the plot along. Don’t get me wrong, it added some mystery, tension, and heaps of danger, but it wasn’t the scariest part for me. No, that came from the human monster.
The characters are all as human as can be, written in very believable ways. Mattie is a sympathetic protagonist who I wanted the best for. She suffered so much at the hands of her husband, and was portrayed in a way I understood. I never questioned why she acted the way she did or thought the way she did. Henry does an excellent job fleshing Mattie out so that as she grows, she becomes even stronger and more compelling.
William is easily one of the most detestable villains I’ve read this year. He’s a horrible person and the tragic thing is that people like him exist. The three side characters introduced are easy to relate to and do their part to help Mattie rediscover herself.
Atmosphere and tension are high throughout the book. There are thrills, twists, and a dash of mystery. I’ve always been a fan of Henry’s writing style and it shines bright here. This won’t be for everyone given how dark the content is, but I absolutely recommend it due to its themes, tension, and horror thriller elements.