A New Zealand crime thriller

Nalini Singh is mainly known for her fantasy novels. I review her Psi/Changeling novels here which is a series I have been working my way through for some time. She has also begun to write suspense/crime novels of which the first was A Madness of Sunshine which I review here. Her most recent crime novel is Quiet in her Bones.

This novel is set in New Zealand. Aarav is of Indian heritage and is a very successful novelist. He has been in a car accident and has returned to his father’s home to recuperate because the doctors will not allow him to be alone. His father is rich but Aarav is estranged from him and is suspicious that he is somehow responsible for the disappearance of his mother who left the family home when he was younger and who has not contacted them since. The police unexpectedly find the car that Aarav’s mother fled in. It has been hidden in the bush for ten years and it looks like the car crashed on the night she left. But Aarav’s mother’s body is not in the driver’s seat so who was with her and what happened on that night ?

Aarav finds himself starting to investigate what happened by talking to friends and family. They live in an exclusive area and there are few suspects. The problem is that everyone has secrets and that Aarav is still having side effects from his accident which means that he is not always sure what is real. This is an interesting way to tell the story because everything is seen from Aarav’s point of view which is not always reliable. He also has a child’s memory of what happened the day that his mother disappeared.

I enjoyed reading this story. I thought that the author included lots of interesting secrets to make it harder for Aarav to work out what was going on. My only criticism is that I thought that there were too many suspects. I am used to reading crime novels with a healthy cast of characters but, on occasion, I lost track of who was who – maybe a diagram of the area with a list of characters’ names might have helped.

The landscape and environment of New Zealand was important to the story and the location worked well for the story but I also liked the inclusion of his mother’s home in India especially as contrast. Aarav’s struggle with his next novel and the consequences of success was well done too and I liked the tension between him, his father and his young stepmother as well as the love he had for his sister. I am not a great fan of amnesia as a plot device but Aarav’s fragile grip on reality made the book more exciting.

A good crime novel and one which I really enjoyed.

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