The Bone House by Brian Freeman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Premise of the book from Goodreads.com: Hilary and Mark Bradley are trapped in a web of suspicion. Last year, accusations of a torrid affair with a student cost Mark his teaching job and made the young couple into outcasts in their remote island town off the Lake Michigan coast. Now another teenage girl is found dead on a deserted beach. . . and once again, Mark faces a hostile town convinced of his guilt.
Hilary Bradley is determined to prove that Mark is innocent, but she’s on a lonely, dangerous quest. Even when she discovers that the murdered girl was witness to a horrific crime years earlier, the police are certain she’s throwing up a smoke screen to protect her husband. Only a quirky detective named Cab Bolton seems willing to believe Hilary’s story.
Hilary and Cab soon find that people in this community are willing to kill to keep their secrets hidden—and to make sure Mark doesn’t get away with murder. And with each shocking revelation, even Hilary begins to wonder whether her husband is truly innocent. Freeman’s first stand-alone thriller since his Stride novels is a knockout.
I wanted to like this book ('read' it on audio). I really did. It started out strong; the plot pulls a person in...and then I completely lost interest in 2/3 of the characters. I couldn't empathize/care/give a shit about any of them. I got tired of the flashbacks. I grew annoyed with the chronic stupidity - it was a lot like watching the proverbial horror flick and shouting at the screen "NO! Don't open THAT door!".
So, on one hand, Freeman does a very good job of hooking your emotions and pulling you into a very tumultuous story line. We have a dashing high school teacher who has been accused of taking advantage of an underage girl who had befriended him and his wife. We have an insular community hiding dark secrets and feeling that The Outsider is to blame for all of their woes. The community's Little Darling - who can do no wrong - is murdered on an empty nighttime beach in Florida. It's good. Seriously good.
On the other hand, I kept getting yanked out of the plot by little things, little implausibilies, in my humble opinion. A community who doesn't seem to believe the girl with no mention ever of a medical exam. Uh huh. After all, a young person simply cannot write anything that realistic. Bullshit. We have a dead girl floating in the water; the sea has seemingly destroyed any evidence of sexual activity, but not the skin under the fingers? The action of the hand in the sand in the water didn't act as a nail cleaner? Riiigght. What was this 16 year old doing in Florida without a parent anyway? Who in the hell lets their 16 year old drive to Florida from Wisconsin with their boyfriend? We have a community who has judged, tried and condemned to death an individual and his wife all because they - the community - deemed themselves judge, jury and executioner. A sheriff who's duty is to protect the innocent - until proven guilty - who's as bad as the rest of them. Trite and annoying. An out of town inspector who is trying to get to the bottom and never questions why an entire community keeps pointing him at one individual. I'm no detective, but if I were, I'd be digging into that towns past because it screams "cover-up".
I have no idea where Disk 6 compares to in the physical book. But that's where I said to hell with it. I'll try and find some spoilers or check out the book from the library, read the last couple of chapters and call it finished. Maybe. Might still say to hell with it.
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