I’ve been a huge fan of Simon Beckett’s work. His David Hunter series has always been great, the setting brooding and gray – the perfect thriller setup, with a very human, easy-to-associate-with protagonist. So when I saw that he had published other standalone books, I was intrigued.
And picked up Stone Bruises. Does it meet expectations? Read on to know.
Sean is running from something. He finds himself in France, where he abandons his blood-stained car on a backroad before starting his efforts at hitch-hiking to anywhere but here. But then his foot gets caught in an animal trap leaving him delirious, ill, and almost dead near a rundown farm. When he wakes up, he realizes that he’s been taken in by two women. Their father, the owner of the farm, is livid at having a stranger on his property. But his caretakers persist and Sean begins his slow recovery on the farm. Its solitude and seclusion are welcoming, promising to take him away from his own troubles. Until he realizes that that very solitude means that no one knows what’s happening on the farm… which means that no one will ever know if he never makes it off the land. What secrets does the farm hold? What secrets do its occupants harbor? Is Sean really safe on the farm? Or is it the lesser of two evils when compared with what Sean has left behind in the outside world?
4 out of 10 stars
6 out of 10 stars
7 out of 10 stars
2 out of 10 stars for its thrill
7 out of 10 stars
Part of a Series:
Not exactly a thriller, Simon Beckett’s Stone Bruises is more of a slow burn that has some surprises along the way.
What I Liked:
The basic story is interesting, with enough twists you don’t see coming.
What I Didn’t Like:
Stone Bruises really plods along slowly. It’s a slow-paced drama-suspense mix, with a higher percentage of the former. The characters are intriguing enough, but not so much that you feel a lot of (any) emotion when anything happens. The elements of suspense and mystery fall pretty flat – there is a lot of buildup, especially as the book shifts between past and present, but the revelations seem anticlimactic. This is also why the twists, although surprising at times, don’t hit all that hard either. Overall, it’s not a book that leaves you rooting for any character, nor against any. It’s oddly linear in its story-telling, going along at a slow pace until it just… stops.
Who Should Read It:
If you like slow burns centered around family secrets and mystery-drama, you’ll probably enjoy Stone Bruises.
Who Should Avoid:
If you’re looking for an edge-of-your-seat thriller or even something that is similar in mood and setting to Simon Beckett’s other works like the David Hunter series, you’ll probably not love this one.
Read It For:
A comfortable read that you can follow along easily enough but don’t have to be too invested in.
Although a disappointment, Stone Bruises hasn’t turned me away from Simon Beckett entirely. I still find him to be a great author, but I’d probably be sticking to his more graphic thrillers.
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