I had no idea what to expect when I started “Bonesy” by Mark Rigney. I knew that this was a book in a series, the 5th book, but I was hoping that I would be able to quickly get into the narrative and enjoy the story without reading the previous books.
Reverend Renner and his investigative partner, Dale Quist, have had their share of supernatural encounters in the course of their work. When Renner’s friend and mentor gives him a brass rubbing of a 500 year old skeleton she has nicknamed Bonesy, no one had any idea just how strange things were going to become. Mix in the fact that Quist has fallen under the spell of a succubus and the two friends are in for the adventure of their lives.
When his friend gave him Bonesy, Renner felt the undeniable urge to put the rubbing on display in his house even though it was grotesque. The horror starts when Bonesy comes to life and attacks him before scurrying away. While Renner has no idea what Bonesy is or what she is after, he comes to suspect that she is searching for a book when local bookstores, as well as his personal library, are ransacked. His quest for answers draws in Quist as well and the two must travel to California to confront his friend and try to learn Bonesy’s secret. With the help of a woman possessed by the actress Carole Lombard and Renner’s unplanned mental journey to England centuries before his time, the secret of Bonesy soon comes to light and Renner and Quist must guide the restless spirit to its final destination before it is too late.
“Bonesy” starts off interesting enough and I found myself drawn into the story. The idea of an ancient mystery and a creepy piece of art, a living piece of art, is one that got my attention. The creatures escape from its paper prison and the frantic search for answers, both by the creature and by Renner, sunk its teeth into my imagination from the beginning and I found myself guessing at Bonesy’s motives. I was beginning to think that this would be a novel that would captivate and entertain. Unfortunately, the novel loses steam as it goes along and the sense of terror mixed with wonder that I felt at the outset was quickly lost.
The book starts to go off track after the beginning largely due to a storyline that I can think of no other description for other than scattered. I thought the story of Bonesy and the story of the succubus were both interesting in their own right but they had little to no connection to each other. It was almost as if this novel is actually two novellas forced into one story and the reader is made to alternate between the two. There just is not a clear sense of purpose in the story and it does not flow smoothly. The change of perspective that comes with many of the chapters was done well but some of the chapters just felt as if they did not belong with the others. I even began to suspect that some of the events of the story were not intended to further this particular novel but to set up something that was going to happen to the characters in the future and not really relevant in the present. There is also a strong tie between some aspects of the story and what has happened to Renner and Quist in the past so I lost out on a little bit there that Rigney’s fans would pick up on. Overall, I thought the novel was well written but I was somewhat disappointed in the long run. I do hope to read some of the past adventures of this duo as there are some interesting elements in the story that I would hope worked better in past books. I just would not recommend this novel to anyone outside of those who have read and enjoyed the previous books.
I would like to thank Samhain Publishing and NetGalley for this advance review copy. “Bonesy” is scheduled to be released by Samhain in September.