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On Bone Bridge by Maria Hoey

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Crime/Thriller

By Swirl and Thread

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‘The sins of the past will not stay buried, but who are the innocent and who are the guilty?’

On Bone Bridge is the second novel from Irish Writer, Maria Hoey, following on from her wonderful debut last year The Last Lost Girl.

Just published with Poolbeg Press, On Bone Bridge is described as a ‘gripping thriller’.

Maria Hoey transports me back to my youth with her nostalgic references to the ’80s. In reading her debut The Last Lost Girl I felt I was reliving those rose-tinted days hanging out with my buddies or lazying around the back garden listening to, what are now, those famed classics. In On Bone Bridge I was treated to the same feelings. From JR Ewing and The A-Team to Knight Rider, the excitement of waiting for your favourite shows to come on, I found myself getting very caught up in some happy memories.

But On Bone Bridge is not just a book filled with nostalgia. The book is separated into two sections and centres around the life of Kay Kelly. Kay lives in an ordinary house on an ordinary street with ordinary friends but it’s the Duff family who have always intrigued Kay, Violet-May Duff in particular. Violet-May was the popular and pretty girl in school who didn’t care about what others thought and was very confident in her own skin. Kay was shocked but extremely excited when Violet-May approached her one day in school with a proposition….a proposition that would end up changing the course of Kay’s life forever.

Kay is in awe of the Duff home with the grandness of it all and the fact that they have not one, but TWO garages. Mr and Mrs Duff are very different from Kay’s own parents but yet are relatively accepting of Kay as Violet-May’s new friend. Violet-May wishes for Kay to help her with a play she is organising for her birthday party, which happens to coincide with Kay’s own birthday. When she receives an invitation to the Duff house for the party, she goes, even when it means not having her own party. But Kay has her reasons. She welcomes enthusiastically Violet-May’s friendship but she has also fallen head-over-heels for Robbie Duff, Violet-May’s older brother.

‘He was fourteen…He was tall and thin and walked with a slight stoop and that year was rarely seen without a brown corduroy jacket, grey fingerless gloves and a black-and-white oversized PLO scarf around his neck. For whatever reason, in that moment, just a week short of my tenth birthday, I fell hopelessly in love with him.’

Kay soon finds herself in the regular company of Violet-May and her younger sister Rosemary-June. Violet-May is prone to stomping her foot when things don’t necessarily go her way but Kay doesn’t mind, She loves this new world she has gained entry to and each day brings with it the possibility of bumping into Robbie!

When Mrs Duff gives birth to a little baby boy, the dynamic changes somewhat and it is on one fateful Autumn afternoon that something happens, something so terrible that it will impact all their lives forever.

Fast forward to more recent times. Kay is now in her thirties and following years in London, she finds herself back home again. Kay is a stronger person now and soon questions her past, as she comes into contact with the Duff family again.

The second half of the book gives us a little more of an insight into the intervening years as the layers are slowly peeled back to reveal secrets that have been long since buried. Kay has to face up to what happened that day when she soon realises that all is definitely not what her memory had her believe. What exactly did happen all those years ago and why did Kay choose to bury the truth?

There is an underlying menace in this story as the horror of what happened that day and the reasons behind it are exposed. With lives at risk Kay gets extremely concerned and looks to her past for the answers but will she find them?

Maria Hoey writes with a very familiar hand. Her references to the everyday TV shows, sweets and clothes from the ’80s will resurrect very happy memories for many readers. Yet the sweetness of these memories is soon tainted by the an engaging mystery that will draw you right in.

On Bone Bridge is a slow-burning novel with a carefully constructed storyline that opens out like a flower in bloom. Full of nostalgic imagery with a shocking tale at its core, Maria Hoey writes a flowing narrative that really appeals to me and I most definitely look forward to her next book.

Suspenseful. Engaging. Nostalgic.

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.

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