Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Bonechiller

I'm a big, big fan of Graham McNamee's Acceleration, (a very intense thriller that I highly recommend!) so I grabbed Bonechiller when I spotted it on the shelf. Although not quite as intense as Acceleration (which is ok, given the level of intensity in Acceleration), McNamee does keep his reputation for suspense with this one. Danny is a high school student, living with his dad since his mom's death. They keep drifting from place to place and are now spending the winter in a remote Canadian village where Danny's father is caretaker of a marina for the off season. While walking home one night, Danny is stalked by an immense, bizarre creature. After Danny falls into a ditch, the creature catches up with him, looms over him, and stings him with it's tongue, rendering him unconscious. When he wakes up he is shocked but thrilled to still be alive, but wondering why the creature left him. Since the only mark he can find on himself is a small blue dot where the stinger got him, he wonders if the entire experience may have been a hallucination, or at least been exaggerated in his mind, due to the concussion from hitting his head on the ice when he fell. The huge footprints he finds the next day in the ditch seem to indicate that it was real. When he finds that his friend Howie has had a similar experience, and they start to experience very bizarre symptoms like shared dreams, and immunity to cold, they get concerned. Further research shows a string of unexplained disappearances of teenagers periodically, going back as far as the local records go. It also sounds a lot like the old native legends of wendigos. Can they figure out how to stop the creature before they both fall victim to it? There is also a well done side story of Danny's growing relationship with, Ash, a local girl who is half native, and a champion boxer. His initial meeting with her takes place in the boxing ring, when she just about knocks him into next week. Nice to see a strong (in this case literally) female character. McNamee keeps the suspense up, and you'll like the characters, even Howie's psycho older brother, Pike, so you'll be pulling for them.

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