Struggling with the effects of early-onset dementia, Dennie Keeling now leads a quiet life. Her husband is dead, her children are grown, and her best friend, Sarah, was convicted of murdering her abusive husband. After Sarah’s tragic death in prison, Dennie has found solace in her allotment, and all she wants is to be left to tend it in peace.
Life remains quiet for twelve years, until three strangers take on a nearby plot and Dennie starts to notice unnatural things. Shadowy figures prowl at night; plants flower well before their time. And then Sarah appears, bringing dire warnings and vanishing after daubing symbols on the walls in Dennie’s own blood.
Dennie soon realises that she is face to face with an ancient evil – but with her dementia steadily growing worse, who is going to believe her?
|Publisher||Paperback||496||Titan Books||Horror||May 12th, 2020|
Whoooooo! This book… This book will make you utter ‘fucks’ and ‘oh nos’ and ‘ughs’ like no other.
Moccus is a Celtic god who was identified with Mercury. He is the boar- or swine-god of the continental Celtic tribe of Lingones. Moccus was invoked as the protector of boar hunters and warriors. Boar meat was sacred among the ancient Celts, and features in accounts of feasts in Irish mythology.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moccus
Bone Harvest is not your regular wham-bam-thankyou-mam horror where everything goes to pot quickly in a singular line with zero crossroads, making it a perfect drugstore horror shelf filler. Oh no. Bone Harvest is a folk horror you invest in. You give it your time and attention as it steadily, persistently and consistently excavates all the feels from your soul through your eyes. Yes, god damn it, I hate cannibalism elements- it’s the only thing that will forever make me so very queasy, but with this small caveat (and the fact cannibalism occurs only a handful of times *shudders*)- what is there NOT to love in this book? It’s a dirty little secret of nearly 500 pages filled with ancient mystery, historical and mystical air weaving its tendrils through modern day disbelief and it stands solid on a folktale. I mean, folktales are always somewhat the ‘unreliable narrators’ – sure, there’s probably a lot added for the passing it forward generation to generation around a campfire or what have you. But also- the story has to get its weight from somewhere, right? 😉
Hmm, let’s see what else have we got going on. I guess you could say sacrifice sits strongly in the centre of the whole story. Sacrifice of people, lambs, sanity, peace… you name it, Bone Harvest got it. You know, you got the occasional ritual orgy happening, what with fertility and natural urges driving the force of life. Yeah. So. You get the picture.
But there’s also a bit of balance to the utter madness. Some action taking place at the setting of allotments. People gardening, weeding, planting, harvesting. It’s the simple life. For some, a means to escape the struggles of everyday life, for others a serious hobby, the sticking of fingers in the dirt. And for others yet, the earth takes and gives the very life they live. Brogden really brings it all to life with skill and made me dream of a future of some sort where I could also wear wellies, and with cup in hand marvel at the various crops I have lovingly tended to. Did you know, allotments also make for perfect hiding places? You have the tool sheds where you can get up to all sorts of shenanigans… Like make a cup of tea, cut up a man or copulate… There’s also plentiful dirt to dig bodies into and so forth?
Yes! It all sounds very seedy, grim and horrible. I would even say Bone Harvest ticks the very box of all three. The prophecy has been fulfilled, Bone Harvest is The One in the Genre of Horror to deliver just what its purpose.
I have read previous work of Brogden’s as well – see my review of The Hollow Tree – and I can tell you one thing. This author puts everything into his books. There’s inspiration from the past, there’s the folktale, there’s the mysteries of bygone times, and he manages to build on a story by adding easily two to three more layers of complexity and conflict. Importantly, every chapter started perfectly with setting the scene, it was nearly peaceful and blissful and beautiful… until I was reminded what was really at hand.
In a nutshell- if you’re tired of speedy slashers and want a bit more substance to your horror, James Brodgen is your port of call and Bone Harvest will deliver on multiple fronts.