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Ink and Bone


Ink and Bone

Finley Montgomery’s body is filled with tattoos that each represent a special event in her life. These events involved a special supernatural gift of extrasensory sight. The 20-year-old wears her tattoos or “ink” as a badge of honor. But she also needs to be reminded of the pain involved in achieving these personal milestones. The closer to the bone the tattooing needle goes, the worse the pain.

Finley realized at a very early age that there were always people around her who were not visible to others. This was not a result of schizophrenia but rather a by-product of her ability to connect with other realms. These characters are as real to her as any flesh-and-blood mortal, and they often actively participate in assisting with whatever psychic mission she goes on.

"...a full-fledged dive into the deep end of the horror pool. The result is an effective and unsettling supernatural tale that will leave you reeling."

The prophetic dreams that haunt Finley each night are slowly driving her mad. She ends up seeking solace in the only person who can help her: her grandmother, Eloise. Eloise Montgomery has long been a renowned medium, and she resides in an interesting hamlet in upstate New York known as The Hollows.

Eloise and her frequent business partner, Detective Jones Cooper, are taking on an unsolved disappearance case that at one point had received national media coverage. A young girl named Abbey Gleason went missing, and her distraught parents, Merri and Wolf, are at their wits’ end. Ten months have passed, and the search parties and media coverage have seemingly lost interest. The Gleasons turn to Eloise not just because of her reputation but also due to being drawn somehow to The Hollows.

The initial meeting between Merri and Eloise in The Hollows brings about an interesting development. It turns out that young Finley is more psychically connected to this case and is able to feel things even Eloise could not. Eloise steps aside to allow Finley to use her unique gift in aiding the Gleason family. However, Finley may not be prepared for the toll that may be taken on her soul for continued involvement in this case. You see, The Hollows gets what it wants --- no matter what --- and Finley may be setting herself up to be the next victim.

Running through INK AND BONE is another narrative involving a young girl having an extremely difficult time in an abusive family environment. It appears that this situation will not have a happy ending. Why this tale is being told will not be revealed by this reviewer. Leave it said that it’s quite important to the plot and the story’s resolution. Lisa Unger has written the sort of novel that fans of Stephen King and Peter Straub used to eagerly anticipate. Many of her previous books have been dark, but this one is a full-fledged dive into the deep end of the horror pool. The result is an effective and unsettling supernatural tale that will leave you reeling.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on June 10, 2016

Ink and Bone
by Lisa Unger