‘Ruby thinks she will die.
She hopes she will die.
Death seems like an end, like peace.
Cessation of pain, no more fear.
The walls are coming in. The darkness has icy fingers. Her skin is on fire.
She want’s her mother.
She can’t breathe.’
Cut to The Bone is the debut novel from Alex Caan. It is a psychological thriller published by Twenty7, an imprint of Bonnier Zaffre Publishing.
I received my copy from Bonnier Zaffre and NetGalley in return for my honest review.
‘Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls. And she’s missing. She’s an adult – nothing to worry about, surely? Until the video’s uploaded. Ruby, in the dirt and pleading for her life.
Who better to head up the investigation than the Met’s rising star, Detective Inspector Kate Riley? She’s leading a shiny new team, high-powered, mostly female and with the best resources money can buy. It’s time for them to prove what they can do. Alongside her, Detective Superintendent Zain Harris – poster boy for multiracial policing and the team’s newest member – has his own unique contribution to make. But can Kate wholly trust him and when he’s around, can she trust herself?
Ruby’s millions of fans are hysterical about what may have happened to her. The press is having a field day and as the investigation hurtles out of control in the glare of publicity, it becomes clear that the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much, much darker than anyone could have imagined in their worst nightmares.
And the videos keep coming……’
Cut to the Bone gives the reader a great insight into the world of vlogging.
A vlogger is a person who posts videos of themselves online discussing anything from nails to baking and any subject in between. With an audience that is primarily made up of young people from tweens to twenties and beyond, the exposure for a vlogger is huge. But unfortunately, this exposure also attracts the wrong attention. There is an an underbelly of seediness and prospective violence to this side of the internet. Alex Caan deals with this aspect of the vlogging industry in Cut to the Bone, as we see it from the frightening experience of one vlogger, Ruby Day.
Ruby, a young girl, vlogs about her own personal experiences. A girl who gives to her subscribers herself and what her experiences in life have been. The internet public love her. She talks to them as though in the room with them and as a result she draws the attention of the bigger organisations. Ruby is gold. Advertising with Ruby draws in big bucks for companies.
Until one day, Ruby goes out for a walk and never comes home….
‘Missing people were like a knife edge. Most come home, unharmed: blunt. Some didn’t, which cut to the bone. What was this going to be? Ruby Day. Who are you? Where are you? Why have you gone?’
It is the job of DI Kate Riley to lead the investigation into Ruby’s disappearance. Kate is a cop with plenty of experience behind her, having worked in the American police force. She is hiding something about her own life that she is very frightened of exposing.
Her sidekick on this job is DS Zain Harris. Zain is ex anti-terrorism and is carrying his own secret that could undermine his current position in the police force.
Between them, they uncover an underworld of corruption and violence that climbs right through all echelons of society.
In their search for Ruby, they interview and check up on Ruby’s friends. They quickly discover that a vlogger’s friends are wide and varied. Most are online. Most idolise Ruby. They are lonely, isolated young people who connect with Ruby on a virtual level, making it difficult for Riley and Harris to pin point the reason for Ruby’s disappearance.
‘When you’re lonely and reaching out, you sometimes don’t know what’s reaching back until it’s too late. Young adults just want to be liked, be normal.’
There is a very anti-social element to the world of vlogging and Alex Caan depicts this very well throughout the book. But what he also depicts just as well, is the similarity of this to the life of a detective. Riley and Harris, both live very anti social lives for very different reasons, but the parallel association is not lost on the reader.
Cut to the Bone exposes the far reaching tentacles of politics and corruption. Ultimately it is a book about vlogging, but it is also much more than that. It is a very powerful read about a world we should all be more wary and aware of. It is a book exposing a world so far removed from the everyday for most of us, that we choose to close our eyes to it.
Cut to the Bone is a great read. It is full of psychological suspense that will keep the reader enthralled right to the end. The finger of suspicion keeps moving and the reader is kept guessing. All the ingredients of a bestseller and I suspect a great career in writing for Alex Caan.
BUY IT……and let me know what you think!!!
Meet the Author:
Alex Caan was born in Manchester, has spent over a decade working in information systems security for a number of government organisations, and is currently specialising in terrorism studies. A lifetime passion for writing was sparked by the encouraging words of an English teacher in school, and eventually led to Alex successfully completing an MA in Creative Writing and writing Cut to the Bone.