Eighteen year-old Rosie Anderson has gone missing from her caring, loving, close-knit family. The perfect child from a perfect home. The small rural village community draws together in a search and, sadly, it isn't long before her body is found.
This gripping novel tells us what happens next, over the course of the following year that it takes to find the killer, the murder weapon and to understand the motive.
Told from the perspective of Kate, the mother of one of Rosie's friends, we see how she unpicks the clues and gets to know the Anderson family and background. Refreshingly for an investigative novel, Kate is not a police officer or detective, so we know little of the actual murder until details become public later in the book. This means we have no great revelatory insights and there are no leaps between what we know and the tragic conclusions.
In her book, Debbie Howells has interspersed the main story with flashbacks from Rosie herself - initially as she sees her life flashing before her eyes, and then a broader picture that helps bring context to her death.
It turns out, of course, that there are many secrets and lies and unknowns in Rosie's life, and in the lives of her family and friends. There is also more than one victim in the tale, and more than one complicated life to unravel.
This is a fantastic book, with a great literary style. Debbie Howells has done a brilliant job of revealing just enough, but never too much. I did narrow the suspects down to 3 around halfway through, and worked out the murderer a few pages before it was revealed, although my assumption of the motive was a little off.
A great read, and well worth picking up, this has a beautiful and easy-to-read style.
I'll finish with a quote from Rosie herself:
"What you don't know is that in the longest, blackest night, there is always a light."
The Bones Of You, by Debbie Howells, is published by Pan Macmillan and is available from their website.