Review: The Bone Seeker by M.J. McGrath (4/5)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014
The intrepid Edie Kiglatuk discovers one of her female students dead in a toxic lake in her third arctic mystery

In the third novel in this highly praised mystery series that will appeal to fans of The Killing, Top of the Lake, and The Bridge, Edie Kiglatuk works as a summer school teacher in the Canadian arctic. When one of her female students is found dead in nearby Lake Turngaluk, Edie enlists the help of Sergeant Derek Palliser to pursue the case, promising the girl’s Inuit family that they will uncover the truth. 
Meanwhile, lawyer Sonia Gutierrez investigates the toxicity of the lake and suspects that there might be a larger conspiracy involved. As the three clamber over rocky terrain under twenty-four-hour daylight they start to unearth secrets long frozen over—risking their own lives in the process. 
With stunning prose, M. J. McGrath delivers another thrill ride through a hauntingly beautiful landscape.

The first thing that drew me to the book was the cover, and then I read the blurb and was straightaway intrigued to read this book. I received a free proof copy in return for this review so thanks to the publisher for that. As crime fiction is my most read genre, it can get a bit repetitive and so I like to look for books which are a bit different, whether that be in setting or in story, and well this book is probably the most different I have read in a long time. It's not a crime story with countless murders, it's about the solving of a murder alongside a decades old conspiracy of sorts which was very gripping especially considering the setting and the characters. I've never read a book in this setting before and I enjoyed it immensely.

Ordinarily I don't like to just jump into a series without having read previous books. As I like to meet the character at the beginning of their journey and 'get to know them' however as a blogger I've got too many books to read at the minute to have read the previous books before this was released so decided to take a chance and it was more than worth it. After reading this book it can definitely be read as a standalone, enough information is given about the characters and enough teasing information to interest new readers in the earlier books. 

I loved the Arctic setting of this book. It was just so different to what I normally read. I felt that the author captured it exceptionally well and I had no trouble picturing it. I have always wanted to visit somewhere where it is 24 hour daylight, just the thought of it being daylight in the middle of the night is fascinating, however for those that have to live with it it's a different matter. I found some of the words and language used a bit hard to understand and found myself Googling quite a few words, this is where reading on Kindle would've helped with the built in dictionary! It didn't really hamper my reading experience though and it's clear the author knows the area and people she is writing about. 

I really liked the character of Edie and warmed to her straightaway. We learn a bit about her history, she nearly died the previous year and her stepson was murdered. So when one of her students goes missing, Edie has a particular interest in wanting to know where she is as she feels guilty for not doing more when her stepson was missing and she is scared that the same thing could happen to Martha. Martha's body is then found and she has been murdered in quite a violent and horrible way, obviously all murder is horrible but this one was particularly awful. Ordinarily the body would be left until the ME arrived but here the ME would take 3 hours to arrive and there's a bear prowling the area so the police, namely Derek Palliser have to move the body. Edie is left to break the news to the family, Martha's father is quite an unlikeable character who doesn't like Derek. Suspicion falls on the local encampment of soldiers that have recently arrived in the area. Running alongside that is the story of the polluted lake by the decommissioned radar station and the mystery surrounding why it is suddenly cordoned off. 

The book has more than enough going on to hook the reader and keep them interested. I stupidly started this book before going to bed and found myself awake still reading long after I should've been asleep. That is of course the sign of a good book and this was a brilliant book. McGrath is a wonderful writer, this is one of the best written crime fiction books I have read in a long time. She really captures the atmosphere of her setting and the writing is incredibly descriptive that it was just a joy to read. The mystery element here is great too and had me guessing right up until the end. That said though I felt at times it was a bit too intelligent for me, I'm not stupid by any means but this is such an intricately woven and well written story that you really need to read every word and take in what you are reading.
For crime fans looking for something a bit different I strongly recommend picking up this book. I will certainly be hoping to read this author's previous work just as soon as my review tbr pile is looking less horrifying.

Buy this book from Amazon

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