Told by a tart-tongued young woman with a love of Bruce Springsteen, Lies in Bone is at once a mystery and coming-of-age tale fueled by dark secrets involving love, murder, and the truths worth lying for.
On Halloween 1963, eleven-year-old Chuck Coolidge and his brother Danny are lost in a toxic smog covering the steel town of Slippery Elm, Pennsylvania. When the smog lifts, half the town is sick and twenty people are dead. And Danny is missing.
Now, over twenty years later, Chuck's teenage daughter Frank plots escape from this "busted and disgusted" town. When a murdered child is found in the river, investigators link the crime to the disappearance of Danny in '63, and Frank's life is turned upside down. In the face of her worst fears, she must uncover her family's dark past if she wants to keep her sister Boots from the hands of The State. Led to discover the unimaginable truth about Danny's disappearance, Lies in Bone culminates in a shocking eleventh-hour reveal and an emotionally charged finale.
"The fantastic, fallible characters leap to life in these dialogue-filled pages and draw readers into an immersive world involving mysteries of missing children, mental illness and unsolved murders. A gripping tale of outcasts that keeps you guessing and, more importantly, caring how it will unspool. Mystic River meets Stranger Things in this engrossing debut novel."
—Lane DeGregory, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, "The Girl in the Window"
"A moody, hard-edged coming-of-age story that keeps the horrors coming until the very end."
"...Fierce teen protagonist, Frances "Frank" Coolidge... impolite, foul-mouthed, self-mutilating and rebellious, and she's loving, loyal and has backbone to spare; a female Steve McQueen, a young Sarah Conner; totally icon-worthy. A heart-stopping work of suspense fiction... a tour de force of friendship, love and redemption. Organically woven and expertly balanced, Lies in Bone lightens the load of its heavy subject matter with quirky northern town humor. Gritty, campy and dark wit and, especially, a keen grasp of family dysfunction and its many varieties, all add to Lies in Bone's hypnotically page-turning appeal..."
—Julie Garisto, 83 Degrees Media
"Symons's language crackles and sparks..."
—Diane Chiddister, author of One More Day
"This extraordinary story...refused to leave my thoughts for even a moment until I reached its explosive conclusion. Lies in Bone is dark, tough and visceral, and it's rich with twists, turns and breathless suspense—the very definition of a page-tuner."
—Bill DeYoung, St. Pete Catalyst
"Finally, a heroine of substance growing into her own magnificence, bearing witness to the unspeakable with bravery outpacing her years. A tale told with unapologetic realism and voice crafted with skill and humanity."
—Lori D. Shannon, author of Superwoman Died Tonight
"Dickensian in the best sense of the word, Lies in Bone is a novel that grabs the reader and does not let go."
—Paul Wilborn, author of Cigar City
"Gripping and dark, Lies in Bone so precisely captures the angst of long hidden secrets and dysfunction—the slow, corrosive descents and the hard-won triumphs. To me, the most disturbing thrillers are the ones that are all too plausible—almost familiar. Consider me disturbed."
—Cindy Stovall, Beauty & the 'Burg Podcast
"Symons displays her adept playwrighting skills with earthy dialogue that flows effortlessly...I'm reminded of the way Joan Didion writes about similar themes...in The Year of Magical Thinking, but in this one, we have an intriguing mystery thriller on our hands...This small-town mystery with family ties is an engaging and at-times humorous literary thriller."
—Frank Pizzori, Independent Book Review
"Lies in Bone is a spellbinder...The book just refuses to be put down.."
—Readers' Favorite 5-Star Review
"You will want to read Lies in Bone all in one sitting - but don't cheat yourself out of moving fully through the evolution of the story in its own time. An extraordinarily satisfying work."
—Roxanne Fay, author of Upon this Rock: The Magdalene Speaks
"A serious new novelist whose work cannot be ignored."
—Greg Fields, author of Through the Waters and the Wild
"The melancholic force of Lies in Bone will hold you hostage. The humor in this gritty, coming-of-age mystery is driven by a whip smart young heroine like none other."
—Hannah Benitez, author of Dike
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 3 members
Thank you Publisher, NetGalley and Author for this advance ebook copy in return for an honest review! Lies in Bone by Natalie Symons was really something amazing! This was one heck of a story and I'm so honored I was able to read a advanced ebook copy! This is the type of coming-of-age story that I freaking can get into. The mystery, the plot, this storytelling is something outstanding! Our protagonist Frank a teenage daughter to Chuck is a badass! She sets out to discover what happened twenty years ago to her dads brother and this crazy old town she calls home! This dark extraordinary story had me so intrigued I didn't want this one to end! And to me that deserves a five star rating in my book!!! This small town has a mystery and I loved how intense it got! The characters are all amazing and dysfunctional. The setting is freaking creepy and wild! And to top it all Symons writing is fabulous and one I was glued to till the very end of this story! She is brilliant at building up the tension to breaking point and the creepy setting really adds to the atmosphere. Awesome job here!.
This was a wild ride and I loved it, such a gripping read with a really cool gothic feel with vivid imagery i actually felt like i was in the smog alongside them. it was creepy, it was intense it was perfect.
Lies In Bones is a disturbing mystery but a realistic view of murder. The main character, Frank ( who is a young girl ) and her sister Boots are unhappy after their father moves them to his mothers because their mother up and left. She and her sister try to make the best of it but there are dark secrets that Frank knows nothing about. Why has her mother left them? What is the smog that came and went? What happened to Chuck? Her father,Danny, was with his brother on a Halloween night when they were kids and the brother went missing. No one knows what happened but the town and Danny’s mother blame him. This is an involved story and the reader is hooked to find out all that is going on. A book you won’t forget!