Blind to the Bones by Stephen Booth



Blind to the Bones Blind to the BonesStephen Booth; Bantam 2006WorldCat

Neil Granger was waiting on the moor one night for a friend. After chatting to the friend for a moment, the friend then hit him over the head and killed him. He lived in a tiny village that is slowly dying. The surrounding land has been taken for a water basin. Many villages have disappeared. Withens may be next.

Neil was the only link to the disappearance two years earlier to Emma Renshaw, a childhood friend. Detective Sergeant Diane Fry is given the cold case when the young woman’s cell phone is found. Ben Cooper is temporarily assigned to the rural crime unit and has to investigate the small village to discover what has happened there. The two cases cross and the police detectives have to work together.

One of Cooper’s problems is trying to talk to the Oxley family. Granger was a cousin of theirs. They are protective of their own and don’t talk to outsiders, especially those representing any government offices, including the police. One of Fry’s problems is Renshaw’s parents, who cling to the belief that she will walk in the door at any time. The two police have to work through their own relationship as they work with the people in Withens. Then a specter from Fry’s past comes alive for Cooper, leaving him with more problems.

Blind to the Bones is a police procedural novel with shades of dark.There is a history between Cooper and Fry which overlies the story, yet the mystery remains forefront. The problems of the small villages at the edges of the peat moors in England are well presented. They are losing ground in the days of modernization and population growth. Stephen Booth kept my interest in the Oxley family. He keeps their family shadowy even as the reader learns more about them until the final revelations to Cooper. Granger’s murderer surprised me as well.

I also liked the way he used the title in the novel. Blind to the Bones here means self delusion and mistaken beliefs. The thread is woven in quite well.

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