Monday, June 29, 2015

Groove Book Report: The Bones of You - Debbie Howells - MacMillan

Rosie was beautiful, kind and gentle. She came from a loving family and she had her whole life ahead of her. Who could possibly want to harm her? And why?

Pan Macmillan has won a six-figure auction for psychological thriller The Bones of You by Debbie Howells.  Trisha Jackson at Pan Mac signed UK and Commonwealth rights in the book and a follow up from Juliet Mushens at the Agency Group.  It was the book, which Mushens took from the agency's slush pile, is described as 'Lovely Bones' meets 'Sister'.  The book opens with the murder of an 18-year-old lass, Rosie, living in the most idyllic village in Sussex.  The impact is devastating, especially one young mother, Kate, who is sure there is more to the death than meets the eye.  This is not an accident, she surmises.  The reader is left to figure out who would murder this young girl and why.  The story was artfully told from alternating points of view and time frames. tackles some dark undercurrents in family life in a very clever way, don't expect reveals and twists to hit you in the face, it's more like they creep up upon you until you gasp with shock as truth is revealed.  This is a very steady paced book with an intricate plot that is written with great care. 

The main characters are Rosie herself, and her parents Neale and Jo. Neale is a world renowned TV reporter and we are told millions of women around the world are in love with him. I have to say that I didn’t buy that at all, to me he just comes across as a smarmy git. He is the sort of man who my husband would walk to the other end of the bar in the village pub, to get away from.

This was a book that caused a frenzy of activity, akin to a JK Rowland release.  The novel sold in the Netherlands within 24 hours of submission, and was pre-empted in Brazil, selling six figures at a German auction.  It quite simply has all the ingredients for a bestseller: a strong hook, a compelling narrative and intriguing characters.

Howells has previously self-published novels, but 'The Bones of You' is her first attempt at a thriller. No bad for a woman, who's day job is a florist and chic-lit writer.  

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