Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Book and Audio Review: The Bone Jar by S. W. Kane

The Bone Jar

S W Kane
Narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies
Series: Detective Lew Kirby (Book 1)
Publication: Thomas & Mercer (July 1, 2020)
Length: 327 p.; 9 hours and 3 minutes

Description: Two murders. An abandoned asylum. Will a mysterious former patient help untangle the dark truth?

The body of an elderly woman has been found in the bowels of a derelict asylum on the banks of the Thames. As Detective Lew Kirby and his partner begin their investigation, another body is discovered in the river nearby. How are the two murders connected?

Before long, the secrets of Blackwater Asylum begin to reveal themselves. There are rumours about underground bunkers and secret rooms, unspeakable psychological experimentation, and a dark force that haunts the ruins, trying to pull back in all those who attempt to escape. Urban explorer Connie Darke, whose sister died in a freak accident at the asylum, is determined to help Lew expose its grisly past. Meanwhile Lew discovers a devastating family secret that threatens to turn his life upside down.

As his world crumbles around him, Lew must put the pieces of the puzzle together to keep the killer from striking again. Only an eccentric former patient really knows the truth—but will he reveal it to Lew before it’s too late?

My Thoughts: This first book in the Detective Lew Kirby series has him trying to figure out who killed an elderly retired nurse and left her body in the abandoned ward she supervised in the Blackwater Asylum.

The case has Kirby looking into events that happened more than 50 years earlier. Who wanted Ena Massey dead? And, how did they get her into the abandoned asylum. Kirby interviews a former patient who has been squatting in a caretaker's cottage on the grounds long enough to have earned squatter's rights. He also interviews the developer who wants to turn the property into luxury living spaces and those he has hired to guard the grounds. 

Kirby learns that there are a number of urban explorers who have made all sorts of visits to the Blackwater Asylum over the years including one young woman whose sister died there accidentally some five years earlier. Connie Darke has wanted to find out who was with her sister ever since the accident happened. She and her sister's boyfriend Ed are trying to solve that mystery when Ed himself goes missing. 

Then there is the adjoining property that was recently inherited by an heir from Australia who also has ties to the events at Blackwater Asylum.

While juggling his investigation, Kirby is also dealing with some problem that his mother is having that he fears is early-onset dementia. 

The story is nicely twisty and told from a variety of viewpoints including Kirby, Connie Darke, and Raymond who is the former patient turned landowner. As I listened and read this one, I was impressed by the variations and accents that Matthew Lloyd Davies used. I was also glad that I could follow along or check on parts of the story in the Kindle book because I'll admit that this Minnesota gal had trouble understanding some of the accents. 

Favorite Quote:
Over the years, Raymond had developed a strong sixth sense: trespassers, unwanted visitors, urban explorers, vandals, whatever you wanted to call them--he always knew when they were here. Over the past few months, however, someone else had been visiting regularly, and he'd seen them again last night.

I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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