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Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: April 13th, 2021

336 Pages

Synopsis: Mattie can’t remember a time before she and William lived alone on a mountain together. She must never make him upset. But when Mattie discovers the mutilated body of a fox in the woods she realizes they’re not alone after all.

There’s something in the woods that wasn’t there before, something that makes strange cries in the night, something with sharp teeth and claws.

When three strangers appear on the mountaintop looking for a creature in the woods, Mattie knows their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry. (Goodreads)

Let me begin by warning that Near the Bone isn’t going to be for everyone. It has some graphic gory scenes, as you would expect from a creature horror tale, but even more disturbing are the instances of physical abuse that Mattie suffers at the hands of William. These could definitely be triggering for some readers, so I wanted to put that front and center. That said, the majority of Near the Bone is a fantastic page-turner, and I found myself surprised at quite a few revelations. The best part is Mattie herself, from her shocking backstory (which once revealed was not at all what I expected), to the enjoyable development of her character from a terrified, traumatized victim, to a young woman who finds her inner strength under unimaginable circumstances. Unfortunately the ending didn’t live up to the rest of the book though. I was hoping for some sort of explanation regarding the monster and where it came from, and why after all the years that Mattie and William had lived on the mountain, it didn’t make an appearance until now, but alas, these questions were left unanswered. There was also something with a family member of Mattie’s which was brought up several times, only to be dropped, which really irked me. And finally, there was something about William that was casually tossed in near the end, that I thought was unnecessary. I’m frustrated, because if it weren’t for these plot holes I probably would have given Near the Bone a higher rating. I would still recommend this for creature horror fans though. It’s an engrossing and quick read and Mattie will capture your heart and have you rooting for her.