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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

‘Ink and Bone’ by Lisa Unger



Published by Simon & Schuster,
28 July 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-4711-5047-0

Carl Jung, one of the fathers of modern psychology, didn’t dismiss the paranormal; he regarded it as something we don’t understand yet: a position most scientific discoveries were once in. So  suspension of disbelief, if the author makes a decent fist of it, shouldn’t be too difficult if a psychic is a key character in a crime novel book.

Lisa Unger makes a very decent fist indeed of it. Her protagonist is Finley Montgomery, a twenty-year-old psychology student and something of a rebel; most of her body is covered in tattoos, her hair is partly pink and she rides a motorbike. Finley has spent much of her life in denial, fighting against the knowledge that she shares her grandmother’s ‘gift’ and will ultimately have no choice but to use it as it demands to be used.

Ink and Bone follows Finley’s progress through a renewed search for a little girl who was abducted a year earlier. The child’s mother is convinced she is still alive; her father, who was in charge when the abduction happened, is equally sure that after a year there is no longer any hope. The story of what actually happened unfolds through the eyes of Finley the reluctant psychic, the parents and several other characters; in places it’s a harrowing tale, and one which will make any parent want to keep their child close.

It’s also an absorbing read, and provided you’re not too sceptical to begin with, it will leave you thinking carefully about that fine line which separates psychology and paranormal studies. There’s little doubt that the workings of the human mind are only sketchily understood by the most knowledgeable ‘authorities’ on the subject; Finley herself doesn’t really understand the strange and unwelcome ability she has.

As well as a plot which I guarantee will grow on you, Ink and Bone also paints vivid pictures of small-town life in winter in upstate New York, and populates it with as varied and sharply-drawn a cast of characters as I’ve found in a crime novel. There’s even a twist ending which will make you gasp, and possibly weep if you become as involved with those characters as I did.

One of the great pleasures of reviewing is the discovery of new authors. Lisa Unger is well established, but new to me. She’s now on my list of must-reads. If you’re of a ‘more things in heaven and earth’ mindset, you could do worse than put her on yours. Ink and Bone is a good place to start.
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Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Lisa Unger was born 26 April 1970 in New Haven Connecticut, USA. She is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of fourteen novels. Her books are published in twenty-six languages worldwide. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR and Travel+Leisure Magazine. Lisa Unger currently lives in Tampa Bay, Florida with her husband, daughter and labradoodle.



Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.






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