Tall Bones

Tall Bones


When seventeen-year-old Emma leaves her best friend Abi at a party in the woods, she believes, like most girls her age, that their lives are just beginning. Many things will happen that night, but Emma will never see her friend again.

Abi's disappearance cracks open the fa├žade of the small town of Whistling Ridge, its intimate history of long-held grudges and resentment. Even within Abi's family, there are questions to be asked - of Noah, the older brother whom Abi betrayed, of Jude, the shining younger sibling who hides his battle scars, of Dolly, her mother and Samuel, her father - both in thrall to the fire and brimstone preacher who holds the entire town in his grasp. Then there is Rat, the outsider, whose presence in the town both unsettles and excites those around him.

Anything could happen in Whistling Ridge, this tinder box of small-town rage, and all it will take is just one spark - the truth of what really happened that night out at the Tall Bones....

Our Review

Tall Bones is a superbly written debut by Anna Bailey and is probably the best book I have read so far in 2021.

Tall Bones is atmospheric from the outset and the author gives you a real feel for the place.

“The roar of the bonfire is hard to distinguish from the sounds of the trailer-park boys and the schoolgirls who holler and dance in the shadow of the Tall Bones. It is a small-town sort of night – the last that Whistling Ridge will see for many years to come. Although nobody knows this yet – in this kind of town where coyotes chew on cigarette butts and packs of boys go howling at the moon.”

The last Emma Alvarez saw of her best friend Abigail Blake she was heading into the woods with ‘the vague shape of a boy.’

“Abigail Blake is seventeen and like all girls her age, she believes she’s going to live for ever. Deep down, Emma believes it too, and that is why she leaves her friend there.”

That night Abi fails to return home and Emma is forced to endure people at school whispering that it was her fault for leaving her in the first place.

The Blakes all feel Abi’s absence like a wound although whispers around the town suggest that she may have just run away.

“No wonder the daughter’s gone, they say, in a house like that. No wonder the daughter’s dead.”

The police investigation into her disappearance is lacklustre to say the least and it seems to Emma that she is the only one who cares to discover the truth.

Tall Bones is essentially about outsiders in a small-town community. It covers a whole host of issues and does so phenomenally.

I didn’t for one minute feel bored reading this book or wish it to end, and I loved learning about all the different characters. I even enjoyed learning about Pastor Lewis even if I did want to punch him.

There is ‘Rat’ who lives at the trailer park. A Romanian with a slightly dodgy reputation and a knack for drawing attention to himself.

“The truth is that, just for a moment, everyone has forgotten about the Blake family. At least the Blakes are of the town, of the church, of the faith. Rat – with his tight jeans and the smooth dark laterals of his unfamiliar accent – is a stranger. He is a bullet that has entered the town and not yet left an exit wound.”

I cannot recommend this book enough.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 5/5

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