You've heard of Christopher Rice, haven't you? You should have. He's one of the few people out there who was pretty much born with a publishing contract. He's the son of Anne Rice, famed novelist who penned The Vampire Chronicles, you know...Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned, and so many more. Christopher has co-written a few books with his mom and he's written more than a handful on his own. My first taste of his writing was in Matchup, an anthology of short stories co-written by ITW authors using their most famous main characters. So, when I saw he was starting a new series, I jumped on board.
It can be daunting, can't it? Finding an author you like and you want to read the whole series, but holy shit--there are already six books/fifteen books/twenty-odd books and how will you ever find the time to read every book this author has ever written? I guess that's why I like trilogies and short series. Serieses? Wow...is that right? My Grammarly isn't popping up on that, so it must be right. It can't be right... I like a shorter series so as to not feel so overwhelmed by the series' length that I never pick up the first book. WTF, I sound like Gollum. "I likeses the short serieses."
Maybe that's why I was so excited when this book was tagged "Burning Girl Series Book One." A new series? Oh, yes. I'm so down you'll wonder how I can get that low. I snagged it on my Kindle and read it in two days, despite being scheduled twelve-hour shifts at work both days. I couldn't put it down. There was no getting lost in Facebook, no watching TV, no cooking. I ate cereal and I read on my phone until I fell asleep. I absolutely loved it. Let me tell you why...
The book pretty much opens and closes with italicized text, written in past tense, first person--it is a narrative "written by" the protagonist, Charlotte Rowe. This is important. It is a sharp distinction that separates it from the rest of the text. The bulk of the book is written in present tense and third person. View shifts from place to place, and person to person. We're even meeting new characters and new viewpoints past the middle of the book. Big, big rules being broken in this book. But each and every rule that's bent or broken is with very good reason. Rice made them work, and work well.
It's not easy to write a book in present tense. My editor actually won't let me do it. "It adds to the intensity and urgency of the narrative." She said it confuses the reader. Boo... But, with my novels, she had a good point. My books really did need to be past tense. But this book, Bone Music, it HAD to be written in present tense. So much is happening at the same time and there are so many overlapping pieces of the story.
Rice pushed it to the limit when it came to the number of perspectives, but again--it was not overdone. It was just enough to give us what we needed. Each shift was strategically placed to keep us guessing over what could possibly happen next. Bone Music is suspense at its finest.
The sense of humor in this book is just the right touch, in all the right places. The characters are well developed and the way they use humor with each other seems to cement their realness, their genuine humanness. My favorite exchange is between Marty and Luke about Luke needing to take a class for his face so he can keep it from giving things away. The banter feels like it is a real conversation between two guys who are trying to get a feel for each other.
The pacing is done well. There aren't big lulls where you're left wondering--what the hell? It's pretty constant of--what the fuck could possibly happen next? Are you shitting me? Holy shit did that really just happen? Can't sleep, gotta know what happens to Charley. What's she gonna do? How's this going to end? Oh, no, that did NOT just go down like that! Oh, fuck, it did! Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod!
Whew! First book in a new series! Fucking fantastic! I'm absolutely looking forward to the next book in this series. The style of Christopher Rice's writing is just my taste. I really enjoy the voices he uses for this novel. The structure was creative, but not unfollowable. There was no need for time and date stamps, which I feel would have been a bit of a distraction if he had used them.
I just...damn, I loved this book. Someday, I look forward to reading it again when I binge-read the completed series.
I bet you're thinking, "Hey, fucker. You never told us what it's about!" Yeah. I know. And here goes...
When she was an infant, Trina was kidnapped after serial killers murdered her mother. They raised her for seven years while trying to corrupt her mind so that she'd grow up to be just like them. Right as she's about to kill a bird--her first kill in her life--Feds invade and haul her away. She spends the next half of her life making her father rich. He writes a bunch of horror novels that get turned into movies. They tour, but people think she's a monster and a murderer, so she walks away from it all. She tries for a new life, but people won't just leave her alone and forget about her past. Trina changes her name to Charlotte and starts a new life as a hermit.
Her therapist gives her a new pill that's not on the market yet. It is supposed to decrease her anxiety without impeding her ability to function in her daily life. Yeah...well, he's a fucking liar. It's actually a pill that gives her impossible strength and stops her from being injured. Good thing, too, since she has a stalker after her that is convinced it is her destiny to become a serial killer like her "parents" had wanted her to be.
Sounds complicated enough, right? Oh, but it is so much more...and I bet you'll love it as much as I did. I checked the stats on Goodreads. Only 3% of the reviews are one-star. 69% (giggle) of the reviews are four- or five-star reviews. I read a couple of the bad ones and it seemed like the main problem was with the narrator of the audiobook. I can't imagine that the whole present-tense-thing would go over as well if it was being spoken aloud. So, there's that. Not a great audiobook? But, reading it in a traditional way was just fantastic. I really dug it, man.
You should buy it. It's available everywhere, but why not use this convenient link?