A bloodthirsty lake monster menaces a small town in the Ozarks.
When the men find him, the boy’s legs look like they were run through a wood-chipper. He’s bleeding heavily and near death, but he still has strength to tell them of the monster that attacked him: a dark, massive creature that emerged from the bottom of the lake. The child dies before he can say more.
Sheriff Billy Wintone has seen too much superstition, drunkenness, and rage in this small Ozarks town to believe the delirious boy’s tale of a monster lurking under the lake’s dark waters. Like it or not, however, Wintone must scour the woods for the man or beast who killed the child before the start of fishing season. When another body is found chewed to pieces, the Sheriff begins to wonder what evil lies at the bottom of Big Water Lake.
Bonegrinder had me hooked from the opening pages.
Reminiscent of Peter Benchley’s “Jaws”, a small, one sheriff town goes from being very quiet to busy and popular and back to very quiet again, as a result of the malevolent monster that soon comes to be known as the “Bonegrinder”. At first the curious draw of the monster brings people to the town, incentivised by the offer of a reward it becomes almost as dangerous just to be in town, as to be a victim of the Bonegrinder.
I loved the characters; they are alive and called from the pages. Sheriff Billy Wintone (the equivalent of Chief Brody), is a troubled but no nonsense lawman, I wanted to know more about him than came out of the book, but even so he was wholly believable and realistic. Being under the pressure of the Mayor, the towns-people and those who have other interests in the Bonegrinder, it was difficult not to be on his side. He and the other characters, along with the captivating town of Colver it’s nearby lake and surrounds make the story a very complete tale.
Very real moments of suspense, tragedy and action move the adventure on from page to page. I wanted to know what was going to happen next, who would be the next victim of the Bonegrinder and who would survive. It was never clear whether or not they would all make it to the end, and this kept me reading late into the night.
There was a slightly distracting sub-plot, that didn’t really fit. It was a nice idea, but detracted from the overall story, and I’d worked it out before it was revealed, (I read too many crime novels I guess).
Overall this was a very enjoyable and captivating tale, and I would recommend to anyone who wants something with a bit of suspense and some good characters.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars, I really liked it.
About the author:
John Lutz’s works may be categorized as political suspense, private eye, urban suspense, humor, occult, crime caper, police procedural, espionage, historical, futuristic, amateur detective, thriller—virtually every mystery sub-genre. He is the author of more than forty novels and over two hundred short stories and articles. His novels and short fiction have been translated into almost every language and adapted for almost every medium.
He is a past president of both Mystery Writers of America and Private Eye Writers of America. Among his awards are the MWA Edgar, the PWA Shamus, the Trophée 813 for best mystery short story collection translated into the French language, the Eye Life Achievement Award, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s Golden Derringer Award for Lifetime Achievement. He is the author of two private eye series, the Nudger series, set in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Carver series, set in Florida, as well as many non-series novels. His SWF Seeks Same was made into the hit movie Single White Female, starring Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and his novel The Ex was made into the HBO original movie of the same name, for which he co-authored the screenplay.
When Lutz isn’t writing, he’s reading, following baseball, dining out with friends, or going to movies or plays.
Lutz and his wife, Barbara, split their time between St. Louis, Missouri, and Sarasota, Florida. His latest book is the suspense novel Mister X.
Review Disclaimer: The nice people at Open Road Media, provided me with a free e-galley in return for an honest review. I have received no other incentive for this post.