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The Bone Factory (Leisure Fiction) by Nate Kenyon
Review by Andrew Brooks
Leisure Books Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780843962871
Date: 30 June 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Nate Kenyon Home Page / Show Official Info /

Nate Kenyon fills the pages with dread and psychological angst in his new book The Bone Factory. David Pierce is desperate for a job after getting fired; his marriage is a little shaky from the stress he’s under, and he’s beginning to second guess himself while trying to avoid slipping into a major depression. A real-life horror story by anyone’s reasoning in today’s economic climate. If that were the only thing David faces before the last page is turned in Kenyon’s latest he’d be a lucky man. It’s actually getting the job that becomes his worst nightmare, and the events that unfold in a remote community in Canada are hellish indeed.

When David gets a job at Hydro Development he and his family are given a new lease on life. His relationship with his wife improves almost overnight, money is no longer the concern it was and he reasons the move might be good for his sometimes strange acting daughter. No spoiler here but his daughter Jessie experiences visions of the supernatural ilk. What he doesn’t bank on is the true remoteness of the Canadian wilderness and the immediate problems his new job thrusts him into. That, and the house the company finds for him which just became vacant after the prior tenants’ daughter was abducted by a psycho while playing in the nearby woods. Yeah. But due to the fact that no one else will hire him, David perseveres despite the sense that something is not quite right and that the new company he just started working for is under investigation by the Federal Energy Regulation Committee. Can this guy get a break?

But Kenyon doesn’t let up on David and his family, and things slide slowly from bad to worse. His daughter begins experiencing visions of the "blue man" (the aforementioned psycho killer) and his wife becomes near hysterical when she discovers the fate of the family that lived there before them. The pressures on David, from work and home (and most of us know the one-two punch that is!) begin to push David into a dark, hopeless place. And he thought things were tough before he got the job! Kenyon weaves multiple plot threads here and does it well, despite the book’s brevity. This is moody, dark horror with dread dripping from every page. And it makes for great reading.

As with The Reach, Kenyon displays a keen sense of pacing throughout. The psychological foreshadowing is balanced with the grisly action evenly, and the reader is allowed to delve into the characters before they're thrust into the fray. To me this is what makes a horror novel scary, not body counts or describing the most despicable acts unimaginable. But taking fleshed out characters with worries and hopes the reader can relate to, and then seeing how they respond when put in nightmarish scenarios. The more believable it is, as far as character reactions and responses, the scarier. Kenyon follows in the footsteps of Lovecraft, King, and Straub in this respect. But he’s his own writer, and he’s continuing to prove his mettle in the horror fiction world. I hope this guy never puts the pen down.

The Bone Factory is a solid read and I enthusiastically recommend it.

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