The office was small, but fastidiously neat to the point it didn’t look like a functioning workplace at all. Rather, it was like something IKEA might use as a showpiece for its new office range designed for the deeply unimaginative.
I dislike calling books “un-put-down-able.” A book can always be put down. Just let your house catch fire and you’ll see. But there are books that keep you turning pages, that you have trouble putting aside. It’s a quality I find rarer as I grow older. But that’s how I found A Litter of Bones. And when I note that it’s a first novel, I’m deeply impressed.
Jack Logan is a police detective in Glasgow, Scotland. He made his reputation solving the “Mister Whisper” serial abduction-murder case years ago, finding a man who tortured and murdered several little boys. One boy’s body was never found, and that haunts him. The trauma of the whole case marked him, destroying his marriage.
Now a boy has been kidnapped in the Highlands, and Logan is dispatched to go and lead that investigation. The case mirrors the original case closely – including details never made public. So the question arises, did Logan get it wrong the first time? Logan is certain that can’t be true. He doesn’t know where the copycat got his information, but the original Mister Whisper is behind bars.
A Litter of Bones features some excellent character development. Jack Logan seems unsympathetic at first. He’s driven, obsessive, abrasive, certain of his own judgments.
But as we get to know him better, we see his motivations. He cares, perhaps too deeply. He has reasons for his certitude. And he will go to any lengths to save a victim – even at the expense of his career, his freedom, and his life.
The final solution was a blindside punch. Followed by a bittersweet anticlimax.
I’m really looking forward to the second book in the Jack Logan series, which I’ve pre-ordered.
Cautions – there is deeply disturbing material in this story, including the torture of animals (some people, for some reason, are more troubled by that than by the torture of children). So be warned that this is no feel-good story. But I recommend it highly, if you appreciate this sort of thing.