Review: Bone Harvest by James Brogden

YOU SHALL REAP WHAT YOU SOW

Struggling with the effects of early-onset dementia, Dennie Keeling now leads a quiet life. Her husband is dead, her children are grown, and her best friend, Sarah, was convicted of murdering her abusive husband. After Sarah’s tragic death in prison, Dennie has found solace in her allotment, and all she wants is to be left to tend it in peace.

Life remains quiet for twelve years, until three strangers take on a nearby plot and Dennie starts to notice unnatural things. Shadowy figures prowl at night; plants flower well before their time. And then Sarah appears, bringing dire warnings and vanishing after daubing symbols on the walls in Dennie’s own blood. Dennie soon realises that she is face to face with an ancient evil – but with her dementia steadily growing worse, who is going to believe her?

Horror isn’t a genre I read a lot of but I enjoy the occasional horror read. I find a lot of horror have a bit of an SFF feel to them anyway – and that applies to Bone Harvest as well.

The horror in Bone Harvest comes from a mix of supernatural (an old boar god) and the actions of his worshippers who will do anything to keep the weakening old god strong.

It was a peculiar story in many ways – very much a book of two halves. The first part set in the desperate and awful trenches of WW1 and the second part in modern day allotments.

The first part of the book introduced us to the Horror element of the book and how it worked. It also introduced us to Everett who becomes one of our central protagonists.

I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t live the first part of the book. Something about it just didn’t grip me and I was on the verge of DNF when the book made a sudden jump to modern day and my interest was re-engaged.

I enjoyed the second modern day part of the book a lot more. I like the details about the allotments and the people who worked them. I loved Deenie, her determination and slowly revealed history are readable, likeable and in the context of the book believable.

I also adored her giant protective dog, Viggo. He was a brilliant character in his own right and the relationship between him and Deenie was lovely.

So all in all a mixed bag for me. If you like your horror with a touch of the supernatural and a dose of mundane everyday life to balance it this is worth giving a try.

With thanks to Titan Books for a copy in exchange for honest review.

Bone Harvest has had its publication put back due to COVID 19 and will now publish in November. Available for pre-order now.

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