Saturday, January 2, 2021

Review: Cut to the Bone by Roz Watkins

by Roz Watkins
Release Date: June 25th 2020
2020 HQ
Kindle Edition; 384 Pages
ISBN: 978-0008214746
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

2.5 / 5 Stars


When beautiful young social-media star Violet Armstrong goes missing in the middle of a scorching Peak District summer, the case sparks a media frenzy.

The clock is ticking for DI Meg Dalton and her team to find Violet before online threats explode into real-life violence. And then the blood and hair of a young woman are found in an empty pig trough at the local abattoir…

The more Meg finds out about this unnerving case, the more she becomes convinced that something very, very bad has happened to Violet. With temperatures rising and the press demanding answers, the case is about to take a terrifying turn…

My Thoughts
Trigger Warnings in this book: Rape, victim shaming, abuse, abduction, incest
Cut to The Bone is the third book in the Meg Dalton series, and after I finished it took me awhile to write this review as I really needed to think about it for a while.  At first, I thought it was really interesting because the author's writing style is captivating and has this way of drawing you in, but when I started to think about the themes running through this book, I started to look at it quite a bit differently.  

First of all, I will let you know I am in the minority here with my rating as there are a lot more positive reviews than mine, but I couldn't in all honesty get past some of the issues I had with this book.  While the concept was interesting and the investigation was compelling, I thought the story line was all over the place and the actual police procedural aspect was quite disjointed. 
****Spoilers ahead.****
One of the issues I had was with the lead investigator, Meg Dalton.  While I liked her and thought she did a good job trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together, I couldn't get past the fact that she was interested in both her partner, and in one of the suspects, romantically.   She kept telling herself this would cloud her judgment about the investigation.  You think?  And the banter between herself and her partner kind of bordered on the unprofessional, especially as she was the boss.  

At first, I really enjoyed the story line and thought it was interesting.  A young girl goes missing in an abattoir, a girl famous for posing in a bikini while barbecuing meat products, and the animal activists go antsy all over the internet sending her death threats and so on.  They descend on the town and protest against the abattoir and the owners. Makes total sense, yes?  Now we get into a Stepford Wives kind of scenario where the town is all fenced off to protect the children and its citizens from getting hurt or from outside influences.  Weird, right? Well, it gets even better. Now let's throw in a story about a Pale Child who roams the forest and when he looks you in the eye, you will die.  Okay, now you've lost me as I thought this was a police procedural, not a paranormal book.  Well, it keeps getting better as the original town was flooded over fifty years ago (can't remember the reason) and every time there's a drought, the Pale Child appears to wreck havoc upon the citizens.  Okay, now you've lost me. Eye roll.
And that pretty much sums up what I thought of this book by the time I hit the middle of it.  And while I did enjoy the investigation, I just couldn't get past these elements in the book which essentially ruined it for me.

The story is also told in a dual story line from the present and in 1999 and this is where we learn more about Violet's mother and her friends and what happened over twenty years ago and how it relates to the present murders.  And this is the story line where I couldn't help but roll my eyes so far back into my head I thought they wouldn't come back.  However, for those with triggers, there is also rape and victim shaming in this section so beware. 
Cut to the Bone had an interesting concept and I will own that the ending caught me by surprise, but I just couldn't get past some of the other elements in this book.  When you add in the story of the Pale Child and the town scenarios, plus the dual story line, I think I finished it out of pure stubbornness.  I just couldn't connect with the characters and the storyline and this made me sad as I really, really wanted to enjoy this book, but it just wasn't for me.  While I can't really recommend it, I will say you need to read it for yourself as you may get a different perspective than I did, and like I said, there are many good reviews about it.  Will I read another book by this author? Yes, as I like her writing style and I did like the investigation, but if there is another Pale Child in another book, I will be done.



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