Lies in Bone

Fiction - Literary
400 Pages
Reviewed on 09/06/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Natalie Symons is a playwright, actress, and novelist. Her plays have been developed and produced at theatres around the world. Natalie’s work is included in Smith and Kraus’ Best Women's Monologues of 2019 and The 30th Annual Edition, Best Men's Monologues of 2020, and her debut novel Lies in Bone will be on sale worldwide Sept 21st, 2021.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

Lies in Bone by Natalie Symons opens with an unusual event, the experience of a toxic fog that covers the town of Slippery Elm, Pennsylvania on Halloween in 1963. Eleven-year-old Chuck Coolidge’s brother, Danny, goes missing after the fog that leaves most of the town ill and twenty dead. Years have gone by, and the memories linger on. Chuck Coolidge’s adolescent daughter is sick of the town, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with it, so she plans her escape. But everything changes when the body of a child is pulled out of the river, and the investigators link the murder to Danny’s disappearance over twenty years ago. Now Frank must get to the bottom of the mystery, a journey fraught with danger and questions that unearth murder, dark secrets, and truths that are uncomfortable to live with.

This is an absorbing, tightly plotted novel that is emotionally rich and fast-moving. It is one of the best mysteries I have read in a while, and the author’s gift for plot and character shines through the writing with unusual brilliance. I was gripped from the start of the story, following Danny as he struggles to pedal his bike behind Chuck, and as the fog that initially seems ordinary and normal starts to stink. The first-person narrative is spectacular, and the liveliness in the voice is mixed with quirkiness to pull the reader into the narrator’s world. Natalie Symons writes in beautiful prose and it flows with grace, mingled with dialogues that are intelligently crafted to reflect character depth and situation. Lies in Bones is a spellbinder for fans of mystery and murder. The book just refuses to be put down.

Susan Sewell

When a man suddenly moves his family to his hometown, the horrifying childhood secret he never told his daughters rises to the surface in the stunning thriller, Lies in Bone by Natalie Symons. When Frances (Frank) Coolidge is fifteen, her father, Chuck, suddenly moves her and her sister, Boots, to his mother's home in the town where he grew up. Upon their arrival at their grandmother's home, Frank realizes she knows very little about Chuck and his childhood including the fact he had a younger brother named Danny. Sadly, Danny vanished one Halloween while trick-or-treating with Chuck. At the same time, the body of a missing boy turns up, and most of the town's residents believe Chuck is responsible for both boys' demises. Unfortunately, soon after they move in, a small girl dies, and Chuck is arrested for her murder. Wanting to believe her father is innocent, Frank sets out to prove his innocence. But with all of the evidence pointing to Chuck, Frank begins to wonder if is it possible her father is a murderer? Or is he being set up?

Filled with mystery and suspense, Lies in Bone by Natalie Symons is a chilling thriller that had me on the edge of my seat from the very first page. The apprehensive and unearthly aura that colors the prologue perfectly creates a dark and eerie backdrop, leaving the reader with the sense that life and death hang in the balance. It is an extraordinary and enthralling story with an intricate plot, dramatic storyline, and outstanding protagonists. Frank's attitude is realistic concerning her trying circumstances, and I applauded her determination to care for her family. Once I started reading, I couldn't put the book down until I knew the outcome of Frank's and Chuck's dilemmas. This thrilling book will charm and delight everyone who enjoys mystery, suspense, and strong protagonists with attitude.

Christian Sia

Lies in Bone by Natalie Symons is a mesmerizing mystery with strong hints of coming-of-age. The story starts with an unusual event in the town of Slippery Elm, Pennsylvania. In 1963, the town is blanketed by a toxic fog that leaves many dead. Six-year-old Danny goes missing after the fog clears. Twenty years after this incident, Chuck Coolidge still remembers his missing brother, but when his teenage daughter, Frank, plans an escape from the accursed town and the body of a child is discovered in the river, not only are her plans busted, but the crime is linked to the disappearance of her uncle in 1963. Frank must uncover the dark secrets of her family and the town that already feels dead to her.

Lies in Bone by Natalie Symons follows a young, relentless protagonist on her quest for answers. It is brimming with mystery and suspense. The author gives readers a compelling premise, puts strong questions into their minds, and then goads them slowly on as they navigate the strange world in which the quirky protagonist is in search of answers. The answers do come, but there is the price of painful waiting as the pages turn. Natalie Symons’ plot is twisty and the characters compelling, but the strength of the narrative is in the ingenuity with which the author writes the setting. It comes alive as a monster that sucks up the life of those who live in it. The prose is excellent and crisp and the narrative voice irresistible. Lies in Bone is a page-turning mystery with a sophisticated protagonist that readers will love.