This is my first Lisa Unger book, because as I may have mentioned once or three hundred times, I don’t like to be scared and her books are kind of scary (I think). But my cousin Jenn loves this book, Ink and Bone, and so I gave it a try. It took me a minute to get into it. And by a minute, I mean about a week, where I would pick it up, read about Finley hanging out with ghosts, and then put it down and then go read some nice book about Thomas Edison for a while. But when I finally got over myself and reminded myself that ghosts are (probably) not real, I picked it back up like a big girl and breezed all the way through it in basically one sitting. Because she was right, it is pretty great.
The publisher calls this book both thriller and horror, and as a certified sissy, I can tell you that it lands mostly on the thriller side. And the aforementioned ghosts are not scary at all; in fact it is more spiritual than frightening. This is a stand-alone book, even if it in a series, which does not require any prerequisites, but I will certainly be going back to read The Whispering Hollows, which is the first in this series.
Our main character here is Finley Montgomery, a twenty-year old psychic misfit who has moved to the Hollows in New York to live with her grandmother, Eloise. Finley has had a rough time dealing with her psychic abilities; she is not quite able to control them and does not really know what to do with her visions and dreams. Not to mention that her mother would really much prefer her to be ‘normal’ and not like her own mother, Eloise, who is a renowned psychic who sometimes helps the police and works with a retired investigator, Jones Cooper.
Ink and Bone centers on an investigation into the disappearance of a young girl, Abbey, who has been missing from the Hollows for almost a year. Her mother, Merri, is not willing to accept that she will never be found, and she has made a hail mary type move to hire Jones Cooper. Jones is an awesome character; he is a bit like Dana Scully in that he is logical and methodical but also has to allow for the possibility that Eloise’s abilities can help. When it becomes clear that it is Finley, and not Eloise, that is receiving psychic information that will help the investigation, Eloise steps aside and Finley is put to her first big test.
The investigation is about much more than one missing girl, and through this story we learn the history and secrets of this incredibly creepy town. The suspense and excitement of the case is well paced and I stayed up way past my bedtime to reach the conclusion. The story is emotional, and the ending really broke my heart. The characters, and the sense of place here, are layered and complex and I am looking forward to returning to them.
Grade – B+