Public Figure. Loyal Husband. Serial Killer.
The final book in the Bone Field trilogy starts with Ray Mason, a ex-policeman, in prison awaiting trial for murder. What becomes clear very quickly is that Mason is a wanted man with several bounties on his head because of his actions in the Bone Field killings several years beforehand. Mason is unexpectedly broken out by a group claiming to be MI6 and is offered a new identity if he kills Alastair Sheridan, a member of parliament, who is also a serial killer. Yet, Sheridan is highly likely to become Britain’s next Prime Minister. What follows is a thrilling game of cat-and-mouse that never loses its frantic pace.
Mason is a fascinating main character as he is a good man with a strong sense of morality and justice but is now a killer. He promised justice for the parents of Sheridan’s first victim and this is what drives him. Yet, it is also what gets him into further trouble. He also brings Tina Boyd, an ex-cop, into danger. Tina is an incredibly well-written and intelligent character and the relationship between the two is fascinating and central to the book.
Sheridan is a truly terrifying character and a fitting enemy for Mason and Boyd. He is charismatic and appears to have the perfect life, having climbed the political and social ladders. Yet, underneath this facade, he is a sadistic killer and a sociopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He also has plenty of enemies who want to help Mason in his mission to stop Sheridan.
The most striking aspect of the book is its pace which is gripping and incredibly fast throughout. This pace is maintained throughout through narrative shifts between Mason’s, Tina’s and Sheridan’s perspectives. It’s incredibly well written and plotted throughout. Like any good thriller, we are given a real sense of good and evil and the chase between them. It gives us a very stark view of the British criminal underbelly. The early prison chapters are particularly effective as they are gritty and are a perfect introduction to the type of character and world of the book.
Although the book is the third in a series, it works incredibly well as a standalone. It’s the first of Kernick’s books I’ve read and I really wish I had read the previous books before this yet I thoroughly enjoyed it nevertheless. It’s a fantastic novel about the dangers of retribution, especially for those whom the justice system has failed. I also liked the political aspect of the book as Sheridan is seen as an untouchable figure because of his social and political standing, a trait of contemporary life that we are all questioning today.
The book is incredibly fast paced and intelligently written, yet it’s also a very quick and easy read, which is a very hard dichotomy to achieve.
About the author
Simon Kernick is one of Britain’s most exciting thriller writers. He arrived on the crime writing scene with his highly acclaimed debut novel The Business of Dying, the story of a corrupt cop moonlighting as a hitman. Simon’s big breakthrough came with his novel Relentless which was the biggest selling thriller of 2007. His most recent crime thrillers include Siege, Ultimatum, Stay Alive and The Final Minute. He is also the author of the bestselling three-part serial thrillers Dead Man’s Gift and One By One. Simon talks both on and off the record to members of the Counter Terrorism Command and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, so he gets to hear first hand what actually happens in the dark and murky underbelly of UK crime.