Sarah's Stars

Graham McNamee. Bonechiller
Random House  $18.99  ISBN 978-0-385-74658-8  304 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 14

Just as I cross the border from the light into the black, a pale blur rushes at me in an avalanche of speed.

Then it hits! The impact knocks me off the road. As I tumble, the black ditch yawns wide to take me. I'm falling into nothing.

The ground hits me like a frozen hammer. My left shoulder slams against ice-hard muck, my head cracking with an explosion of red sparks behind my eyes.

I slide to the bottom of the ditch.

Danny and his dad have been on the run ever since Mom died. They're not running from the police or from terrorists or murderers. They're on the run from reality, but Danny is sick of it. Their latest abode is a tiny frozen wasteland called Harvest Cove, home to a thriving, if not more than a little bored, army base and of course, Ash, the girl of Danny's dreams. But something isn't quite right about this Harvest Cove place. Take for instance the freak encounter with what appears to be a dog, yet it leaves footprints that are impossibly large. Or the strange blue dot on Danny's hand. It's weak evidence but when the creepy coincidences start piling up, like disappearing hospital patients and terrifying dreams, Danny's friends are more than willing to believe. But time is running out for Danny and the latest victim, Howie. For deep in the depths of the icy black winter, something is stirring, something grotesque and horrifying, something...hungry. Bonechiller.

Bonechiller takes a few key elements and mixes them into a story that starts with a bang and ends with one, too. First you have your setting, the nearly deserted Harvest Cove, then you have the backdrop of the pitch dark frozen wasteland beyond. Add with creepy dreams, lone streetlamps, vicious attacks, and of course, the ever-present chill, you've got a perfect formula for a horror novel. Not that Bonechiller is strictly out to scare you. It's got a romantic subplot, exciting action scenes and crazy pyromaniac best friends. But even through the lighthearted moments, you still get a sense of the unknown, of something deep and dark and terrifying that's just waiting to be unleashed. Bonechiller is a fast-paced mystery that will keep you reading into the wee hours of the morning. And that's perfectly all right. Just make sure you keep the heat turned up.

I give Graham McNamee's Bonechiller four thrilling stars.


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