Book Review: Bone White by Ronald Malfi

Title: Bone White
Author: Ronald Malfi
Genre: Horror
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A landscape of frozen darkness punctuated by grim, gray days.
The feeling like a buzz in your teeth.
The scrape of bone on bone. . .

Paul Gallo saw the report on the news: a mass murderer leading police to his victims graves, in remote Dread s Hand, Alaska.
It s not even a town; more like the bad memory of a town. The same bit of wilderness where his twin brother went missing a year ago. As the bodies are exhumed, Paul travels to Alaska to get closure and put his grief to rest.
But the mystery is only beginning. What Paul finds are superstitious locals who talk of the devil stealing souls, and a line of wooden crosses to keep what s in the woods from coming out. He finds no closure because no one can explain exactly what happened to Danny.
And the more he searches for answers, the more he finds himself becoming part of the mystery. . .
Praise for Little Girls
Best horror novel of the year. Hunter Shea
Much more than a haunted house story. Cemetery Dance
Takes well-known tropes and completely turns them around. IHeartReading”

How amazing is it that my praise for Little Girls, one of the first Ronald Malfi books I’ve ever read, is included in the Goodreads synopsis for Bone White? Pretty amazing, if you ask me.

Anyway, back to Bone White. Another Ronald Malfi book. I get excited just seeing this author’s name pop up on Netgalley or Amazon because he’s an excellent writer. The first book I read by Ronald Malfi was The Mourning House, a very atmospheric read. Next I read Little Girls, an absolute 5-star book for me, and still one of my favorite horror books to date. Then, I read The Night Parade, slightly less creepy for me but still an amazing book.

Then, Bone White. I was eager to start reading the book, and it starts out strong too. A man, Joe Mallory, comes down from the mountain he lives on to the quaint, slightly eerie Alaskan town of Dread’s Hand, where he tells the locals to call the cops. They do, and he just sits on a bench, waiting. When Major Crimes arrives from Anchorage, he shows them several spots on the mountain where he claims to have buried people. Who, he doesn’t know, and apparently it doesn’t matter much either, if you believe him. Jill Reyerson, detective in charge of the case, doesn’t believe the man actually buried people up there. Until the bodies start piling up that is…

In comes Paul Gallo, whose brother Danny went missing in Dread’s Hand one year prior. Paul is worried his brother might be one of the victims, so he travels to the desolate town to give his DNA. When it turns out his brother isn’t a victim of Joe Mallory, but Mallory seems to recognize Paul somehow… Paul decides to start to his own investigation in Dread’s Hand. What he finds, turns out to be a lot more than he bargained for. The people from Dread’s Hand behave eerily. No one wants him there, and no one is keen to answer his questions regarding Danny… But what is really going on?

The writing is, as I’ve come to expect from Ronald Malfi, nothing if not impressive. The settings are vivid and realistic, the characters are so real that you half-expect Paul Gallo to just show up next to you while you’re reading. The book is extremely atmospheric, again something Malfi is very good at it.

I don’t want to spoil the plot, but let me say a thing or two about the supernatural aspect. Usually a thing like that wouldn’t scare me. I’ve never been scared by anything really, except for ghosts. But here, with the atmosphere Malfi paints, with the sublime way he puts readers in his character’s heads…

I didn’t think I was afraid until I stopped reading and crawled into bed. It still wasn’t real fear, it was a bone-deep unsettled feeling, as if the devil himself was watching me…

So, a word of warning, even for the not-easily-scared, this book gets under your skin.


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