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Summary

A woman trapped on a mountain attempts to survive more than one kind of monster, in a dread-inducing horror novel from the national best-selling author Christina Henry.

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 that 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 the creature in the woods, Mattie knows their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry.

©2021 Christina Henry (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"It's full of magic and passion and courage, set against a convincing historical backdrop.... Henry's spare, muscular prose is a delight. I loved this novel." (Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches)

"Multiple twists keep the reader guessing, and the fluid writing is enthralling.... This is a fine addition to the shelves of any fan of children's classics and their modern subversions." (Publishers Weekly)

"This wild, unrelenting tale, full to the brim with the freedom and violence of young boys who never want to grow up, will appeal to fans of dark fantasy." (Booklist)

What listeners say about Near the Bone

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Oh dear

This one clearly wasn’t for me. I thought it was a thriller when in fact it was a story of abuse that I wouldn’t have knowingly read. What didn’t help was the fact I should have felt empathy for the main character and rooted for her, but in audio version the narrator voiced her every thought in a whiny voice that just grated. Parts were very repetitive and there were a few obvious plot holes. Just wouldn’t recommend

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More domestic horror than monster horror!

I went into this expecting a monster story, which we got, kinda. Most of the book was a pretty harrowing story of an abusive 'husband'. It's pretty gripping, does have tension and is nicely written - but it's just not amazing, it'll pass the time and you'll enjoy it in the moment but I doubt it'll make your favourites shelf.

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  • T. Winter
  • 24-04-21

45 minutes of a woman speaking like a 3-year-old

The book itself is pretty good, but it has sections of EXCRUCIATING narration. Most of it is fine, but during the flashback scenes, the narrator (whom I was previously a big fan of) used the most terrible, whining voice for the 8-year-old main character that I had to skip forward. It was extremely over-infantalized, which I really dislike when people do for children. I have to wonder whether the narrator even tried to remember what it was like to be eight years old. You're not in diapers anymore.

I grit my teeth and tried to wait it out the best I could, but there was one section toward the end that was about 45 minutes long, and I had to skip it after fifteen. I simply could not listen to another minute of the whimpering voice from this adult narrator playing a supposed 8-year-old who sounded like a meek toddler but was characterized by the author as "brave" and "strong." The personality conveyed by the writing and the terrible, infantile voice did not correspond to each other at all. Not to mention the basic fact that when adults do baby voices it always just sounds sickening. They are NOT children, and you know it.

It would have been slightly better if the voice had only happened during child's dialogue, but no - the narrator held it for the ENTIRE chapter as part of her performance. It was so bad that I didn't care what the revelations were in that chapter. I just wanted it to stop.

Beyond that, I would say the publisher's summary gives a very good idea of what the book is going to be like.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Brandon Scott Stephenson
  • 15-07-21

dark story fantastically done

the book is DARK! I loved it! the narrator did a fantastic job of adding suspense when needed!

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  • Beni HD
  • 15-06-21

Nicely done

Solid story, although I wished it was a bit longer to draw out more of the characters. I didn’t get a chance to feel anything for a few of them, enough to care if they lived or not. Overall it was enjoyable.

The narration was good, there were a few times the whining drew out and was hard to listen to.

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  • sophiagrey
  • 18-05-21

Super Tense and Heavy

I flew through this book because I couldn't stand to leave the story unfinished. It was hard to listen to such disturbing and horrific events but I felt compelled to see it through. I only wish the ending was a little longer to make it more satisfying.

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  • Huston household
  • 07-05-21

honestly I am sad we never got to see the creature

it was well written, def suspenseful- 4 stars out of 5. like I said would of been nice to figure out what the monster really was.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-05-21

Disappointed

I read many good reviews but found myself extremely annoyed by the main character. The ending was also unsatisfying.

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  • Allie
  • 30-04-21

Wonderfully hateful character

This was one of those stories where you have to be able to enjoy it while deeply hating a character. For some people, this revulsion ruins the story, but in my case, strong feelings towards characters that can't be derived from annoyance by tiring tropes or boredom tend to fuel my appreciation of the story. The author truly succeeds in creating a miserable "garbage person" and if you enjoy imagining revenge plots on a character, this tale really delivers.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable read - I give it 5 stars because I heard it in little over two days and it was packed full of "oh no, what happens now" moments. It is fast paced and thrilling and the characters made me feel something, even if it was often disgust and horror. Matty's internal dialogues managed to avoid "too much" territory, with just enough information to set up moments of terror and anticipation. She was the inner voice you have while watching a horror movie, silently begging the characters to PLEASE DON'T DO THAT and then of course they do it anyway. This effect can easily be overdone and plot killing, but the author achieves just the right balance to set up the scenes with dread.
Slight critique (this would be the constructive criticism part): The creature was a bit of a supporting actor and often seemed too benevolent. My "fear" of it died off sometime after the middle of the book and transferred mostly to the character I hated. Sometimes I felt "oh. there is still a creature", or "yeah, yeah, the creature is watching again". I wonder if this is due to the fact that it is pretty hard to juggle two antagonists at once. I had higher expectations for this monster and had hoped it would retain its creep factor longer than it did. I've seen it done more successfully before, so it was a bit of a letdown. In general, I found the atmosphere at the beginning of the book more convincing for a horror plot and felt it more intensely than anything in the final sections. The second part reminded me a little too much of a slasher movie, with more action than moments of terror. I would have been even more satisfied if the initial mood had been carried throughout the whole story.
Nevertheless, none of it detracts from the general horror and the story still remains intact as a great listen.

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  • Teresa Pogue
  • 29-04-21

excellent story

this was my first audible. I loved it. excellent story!! I'd love to have a sequel to see how Maddy's life turns out.

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  • Lmon
  • 23-04-21

suspense. unpredictable twists

I had to change the speed of the narrator to quicken her cadence. there is domestic violence in this book so be aware. I listened to the book in 2 days. it was a "page turner" for sure.