One wet November morning, a field on Meagher's Farm gives up the dismembered bones of eleven women. In this part of Ireland, unmarked graves are common. But these bones date to 1915, long before the Troubles. What's more, these bones bear the marks of a meticulous executioner. These women were almost certainly skinned alive. Detective Katie Maguire, of the Cork Garda, is used to dead bodies. But this is wholesale butchery. Her team think these long-dead women are a waste of police time. Katie is determined to give them justice.
And then a young American tourist goes missing, and her bones, carefully stripped of flesh, are discovered on the same farm. With the crimes of the past echoing in the present, Katie must solve a decades-old ritualistic murder before this terrifying killer strikes again.
'White Bones' is a very, very dark novel set in dark weathered and rainy Cork, Ireland and written by an author who spent many years writing horror novels. This is in fact a cross between a crime and a horror novel with gruesome torture and murder accounts described in minute details.
Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire is called to a farm where a large number of human bones have been unearthed whilst laying the foundations to a new building. Forensic investigation concluded that the bones were very old and belonged to 11 women who were murdered and sacrificed as part of some Celtic ritual. The flesh of these bodies had been completely scraped off from their bones and their bodies completely dismembered.
Whilst the rest of her team find this discovery a waste of police time, Katie is determined to dig in the past to find out how, why and by whom were all these women murdered and give them justice.
Soon a young American woman goes missing whilst hitch hiking in that area. Her remains are later found on the same farm where the old bones were discovered, her bones, in the same condition, completely scraped of flesh and ritualistically displayed. Katie is baffled by this, how could it be that someone carried the same exact ritual on this woman using the same method as used on the other women so many years ago? Some of the details surrounding the old ritual were not even made public through the media.
Then it is a race against time for Katie and her team to find the murderer and prevent any further killings.
On the whole I enjoyed myself reading this novel, but it is certainly not for the faint hearted and should be read on an empty stomach. I found myself wincing on quite a few occasions throughout the book.
Having never been to Cork, it gave me quite a good general idea of that area and I learned some things on Celtic Mythology and rituals.
Whilst the main storyline is quite good, I found the side stories and characters somewhat flat. Although Katie is smart and very good in her police role, I found her quite naive or stupid in her private life with her husband and acquaintances and rather unemotional towards tragedy.
I was slightly annoyed with the usage of Irish slang, however the author included a list with the meanings at the end of the book. Also, whilst the novel is set in Ireland, the vocabulary used is American.
This was my first Graham Masterton novel and I have already bought the second novel in the Katie Maguire series, 'Broken Angels'.