Sunday, November 8, 2015

Book Review: Bone White by Tim McWhorter

New Paris, Ohio has a problem … 

Teenage girls are disappearing, leaving panic in the small town. Luke and Garrett, two high school seniors, escape from the growing paranoia with the well-worn routine of a fishing trip. But when their boat breaks down and the storm of the century rolls in, they’re forced into a different sort of refuge … 

one that may cost them their lives

There are two covers available, and this is the better of the two as it displays a picture of bleakness and desolation. That being said, it also doesn't fit in very well with the novel, as the majority of the book takes place at night during a storm. But then again, the other cover made even less sense (birds against a white sky) so I can be happy with the tree.

I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. Tim McWhorter does a masterful job of building up description and suspense as Luke and Garrett examine a desolate church after being lost in the forest. Since the author took his time to flesh out the story, you can certainly emphasize better with the characters. For example, the main characters want to explore the church because they had just roughly spent the last twenty pages struggling through a storm. It would have been far less effective if that struggle had been summarized in a paragraph or two.

Luke is a likeable and realistic protagonist, although not quite as interesting as other characters. For me, the far more interesting development was the parallel story between the killer and his daughter, which describes a very twisted relationship. Both stories were strong to the end, and I was eagerly flipping through the pages to find out what was going to happen next.

My two problems with the book are somewhat nitpicky. One is in the actual format of my copy. I know that sounds somewhat strange, but let me try and explain. In all my review copies it is pretty amazing as to what an author believes a book should look like. Some of them are big chapters. Some of them are small. Sometimes the book size is literally 1/8 squished into a bookmark. Almost no two books are the same. Bone White is not 'seriously wonder if my Adobe is broken' type of bad, but it does take a bit of getting used to. The text shifts to the left on one page, then to the right on the next, then back to the left again. In addition, in some cases the chapters are far too short and would have benefitted with a scene break rather than a new chapter. This doesn't change the overall great quality of writing, it is just something the reader needs to adjust to. I also think the story might have been stronger if it had been written entirely in third person, instead of a combination of first and third.

The second nitpicky issue is in the ending. I am not going to spoil it, but the reader is led to believe that something happens, and at the end of the book is a blurb of the sequel which completely spoils the tension the ending was building towards. It's not a bad idea for the author to remind the reader that there is a sequel, but simply having a note would have been far better.

FINAL GRADE: 4 out of 5. A few technical issues here and there, but overall a fun read.

Bone White can be found here.

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