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Bonechiller by Graham McNamee


by Graham McNamee

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2672065,597 (3.72)4
Four high school students face off against a soul-stealing beast that has been making young people disappear their small Ontario, Canada, town for centuries.



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Character development was very believable, especially the relationship between Danny and his father. Dramatic buildup but the climax of the story ended up being very ANTI-climatic. The end of the story felt very hurried and was very unsatisfying. ( )
  scatlett | Nov 28, 2016 |
While at times his book seemed to drone on and on and on, it did keep my interest. The setting is bone numbing Canada,where deep inside, miles of nowhere, lies the sleepy little place called Harvest Cove. Danny and his father live there. It is only one more place to stop temporarily until the memories of love and loss become unbearable, and then it is time to move again.

Since Danny and his father lost their beloved mother/wife, each day is difficult to get through. Now, obtaining a job as caretaker of a marina, there isn't much for Danny's father to do. Located near a military base, Danny finds three friends who, like him, have moved around quite a bit.

Walking home from his friends house on a bitter cold winter night, Danny is chased by a very large, terrifying animal. Stinging Danny, it leaves it's mark. The author is successful at atmospherically painting the image of cold, cold, freezing cold. And, out of the cold comes this Yeti monster like creature that has killed specific teens for hundreds of years.

Danny, his girlfriend and two other buddies, one of whom was also stung by the creature, search for a way to kill the beast. As the clock ticks and the two teens who were marked by the beast begin to hear voices and are strangely compelled toward their impending death at the hands of this monster, the group must work quickly.

While not a great read, I'll give it a 2.5 for character development, and atmospheric setting of terror. ( )
  Whisper1 | Feb 21, 2016 |
If you believe in Yetis or the Abominable Snowman, this book is for you. Definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat, but I kept finding myself wondering how the four teen protagonists kept the secret from their parents so completely. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Oct 25, 2015 |
Harvest Cove is a tiny, out-of-the-way community trying hard to be a summer cottage location, with not much success, and in the winter the population dwindles. Perfect for Danny and his dad, who are drifting from place to place on the run from the past. His dad takes a temp job as the winter caretaker of the marina, and Danny goes to school with army brats from Base Borden. Pike, loyal but psycho and obsessed with explosives; his anxiety-ridden brother Howie; and Ash, a fierce, half-Ojibwa boxer that he has a mad crush on form his core group. It's a cold, bleak winter, the like of which the area hasn't seen in a while. Late one night on his way home, Danny is attacked by a huge white beast that blends into the ice and snow until it is nearly invisible. Still, he manages to see enough to terrify him, and the speed of its attack makes it nearly impossible for him to escape. But escape he does, after the beast stings him on the hand with its sharp tongue, and that's when the nightmare really begins. Because that's when Danny realizes he didn't get away after all. It's still hunting him night after night, toying with him, and soon his friends are in danger too.

This had a good, monster movie feeling to it and is one of those books in which the title works on several levels. Bonechiller refers to the freezing weather as well as the monster and what it does to its prey, and it also is a word used to convey fear. There's a frankness to the narrative, an immediacy, like Danny is telling the story directly to you, narrating events as they happen. Short, fragmented sentences and use of the present tense help that effect. There aren't a ton of books written in present tense, and it's interesting to see what a different reading experience that is. It's very cinematic, and it works well to convey Danny's panicky frantic scrambling during the beast attacks, less well when Danny is complaining about doing his homework. (There's a little too much of that slice-of-life stuff here.) The descriptions of this tiny town during a freezing winter is excellent -- much of the action happens at night out in the below-freezing wasteland of ice and snow, and the sense of isolation, of there being nowhere to run and no-one to help, is terrifying.

Unfortunately, the past that Danny and his dad are running from is not worth the build-up it gets; McNamee leads you to believe it's a deep, terrible secret (here I was thinking on the run from the mob or his dad being an ex-criminal or something) but they are really just running from his mom's death from a brain tumor. It's sad, yes, but it doesn't merit the dark, suspenseful hints and the reveal as such is underwhelming. McNamee does a good job conveying Danny's loneliness and lingering grief over his mother, however.

The descriptions of the monster are cool, very vivid and scary and menacing. But with a half-hearted Wendigo-ish mythology that was never really put to use, the monster wasn't nearly as effective as it could have been. There were some cool variations and extrapolations on Wendigo lore, and it's not like I expected the characters to snap their fingers and go "A-ha! Wendigo! We know this for sure because it is exactly like the Wikipedia entry!" but I was annoyed by how vague the author left it. It's clear he did his research. Did he have to leave it all out? He basically has his kids shrug their shoulders after doing some historical and scientific research and hearing one Wendigo story from Ash's father, and he doesn't really tie it together. Someone else may like the vagueness but I felt it was kind of a cop-out.

Cover comments: This cover is awesome! It perfectly captures the setting and mood of the book: the huge expanse of snow, the little dark figure highlighted under the lonely street light running pell-mell down a narrow, sloping line, the creepy eyes, and the way the monster's mouth falls where the snow is, so that it actually looks like the snow itself being blown after him, chasing him. I don't have as much to say about the typefaces, since I don't know much about that part of design, but it works for me. The title is suffieciently large and different enough from the background to catch my eye (even though it is also white).
( )
  Crowinator | Sep 23, 2013 |
Danny’s dad takes a job as caretaker at a marina on the shore of a vast, frozen lake in Harvest Cove, a tiny town tucked away in Canada’s Big Empty. Father and son are mourning the lose of Danny's mom. One night, running in the dark, Danny is attacked by a creature so strange and terrifying he tries to convince himself he was hallucinating. Then he learns about Native American legends of the Windigo a monster that’s haunted the lake for a thousand years. And that every generation, in the coldest winters, kids have disappeared into the night. People think they ran away.Danny knows better. Because now the beast is after him. What a thrilling read! Really hooks you in and reels you through the last page. ( )
  cay250 | Aug 11, 2012 |
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The author acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
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Don't look for it on the map.
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