NOTE: This book takes place in the fictional town of The Hollows in upstate New York. Several other books by Lisa Unger also take place in The Hollows. Two of the characters in this book also appear in Unger’s “Jones Cooper” series. This book does not exactly fit into a series with these other works by the author, they are loosely connected to one another. Reading them in chronological order would be the best way to have the stories flow together, but Ink and Bone can be read alone as an independent novel.
Despite its outward appearance as an idyllic small town in the mountains of upstate New York, The Hollows has dark elements — and dangerous people — lurking just out of sight. The town seems to exert a deep pull over some of its residents, calling them back over and over or making it hard for some to leave. Finley Montgomery is one of those people. Raised by a mother who hated The Hollows so much she had fled as a teen and hardly ever returned, Finley has known her whole life that The Hollows reached out for her, demanding she to return.
However it is not the town’s pull that finally brings the 21-year-old to live with her grandmother in The Hollows, it is Finley’s desperate need to understand and learn to control her gifts. Like her grandmother, and many of her female ancestors, Finley is a psychic with a deep connection to the dead, missing, or those in grave danger. She needs her grandmother — a world famous psychic who has helped police solve many cases — to help her learn to control how disruptive these “visitors” are, but more importantly to help teach her to interpret what they need from her so she too can help them.
In recent years, two child abduction cases have happened on the outskirts of town: the police have been unable to solve either case or definitely link the two cases together. When the mother of one of the girls taken the previous year, Merri Gleason, returns to The Hollows to seek the help of a private investigator Jones Cooper (who works with Finley’s grandmother) she sets into motion a series of events that draw in Finley into the case as well.
Soon Finley cannot keep her “visitors” out of her head and she knows without a doubt that they are trying to lead her to Merri Gleason’s missing daughter. Young and untested, Finley joins forces with the PI to investigate the disappearance of Abbey Gleason; the abduction of a young family two years prior; and man who has gone missing just that week. Although she cannot explain how, Finley knows these cases are linked and that her ghostly visitors may be able to help her solve one — or all — of them.
Finley’s instincts and the investigative skills of the PI Cooper mean that almost immediately they make some progress in finding the missing children, but the horror’s they are about to unleash might be more than they can bear.
Eerie, thrilling, and utterly unique, Ink and Bone was impossible to put down. I was simultaneously terrified and entranced by Unger’s story. She was able to take the elements of a traditional PI thriller and inject a supernatural, paranormal energy that made the story extremely compelling. I highly recommend the book…and I hope that Finley makes an appearance in Unger’s next book.