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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
Lies in Bone by Natalie Symons opens with an unusual event, the experience of a toxic fog that covers the town of Slippery Elm, Pennsylvania on Halloween in 1963. Eleven-year-old Chuck Coolidge’s brother, Danny, goes missing after the fog that leaves most of the town ill and twenty dead. Years have gone by, and the memories linger on. Chuck Coolidge’s adolescent daughter is sick of the town, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with it, so she plans her escape. But everything changes when the body of a child is pulled out of the river, and the investigators link the murder to Danny’s disappearance over twenty years ago. Now Frank must get to the bottom of the mystery, a journey fraught with danger and questions that unearth murder, dark secrets, and truths that are uncomfortable to live with.
This is an absorbing, tightly plotted novel that is emotionally rich and fast-moving. It is one of the best mysteries I have read in a while, and the author’s gift for plot and character shines through the writing with unusual brilliance. I was gripped from the start of the story, following Danny as he struggles to pedal his bike behind Chuck, and as the fog that initially seems ordinary and normal starts to stink. The first-person narrative is spectacular, and the liveliness in the voice is mixed with quirkiness to pull the reader into the narrator’s world. Natalie Symons writes in beautiful prose and it flows with grace, mingled with dialogues that are intelligently crafted to reflect character depth and situation. Lies in Bones is a spellbinder for fans of mystery and murder. The book just refuses to be put down.