The Bone Field opens a new series from Simon Kernick featuring Detective Inspector Ray Mason alongside old favourite Tina Boyd, who has left the Metropolitan Police for a new role as a Private Investigator.
From the outset Mason appears like the stereotypical Met Detective – an irascible loner with a tendency for ignoring orders which has got him kicked out of the national anti-terrorist unitand back to investigating the more standard range of London’s criminal activity. However, the central theme of The Bone Field presents Mason with the opportunity to explore the disappearance of Kitty Sinn; who vanished while backpacking in Thailand with her boyfriend, Henry Forbes, back in the 1990s. Apparently Kitty stormed off following a heated row with Forbes, and that was the last anyone saw of her.
Over two decades later Mason receives a phone call from Forbes’ solicitor offering an off-the-record meeting, and new information concerning the girl’s disappearance. The offer is dependent on Forbes being given freedom from prosecution, and witness protection. But while Mason goes out to phone his boss; the solicitor and his client are shot and Mason gets a bashing when he tries to stop the killers fleeing. This suggests that Forbes was correct in fearing for his life if he told the police what he knew about Kitty’s disappearance, and the powerful people involved. And that’s just for starters, as soon the body count starts to rise.
Excavations for a new housing development on land sold by a private school just outside London uncovers a body, which bears a resemblance to the long lost Kitty Sinn or is it someone else? Further searches uncover another body; this time a 13 year old girl who disappeared from a nearby village back in 1993. So just how did Kitty Sinn find her way back from Thailand and what ties her death to that of the 13 year old?
Mason’s initial investigations focuses in on the school grounds, where he notices a pentacle with an “M” carved into the wall; the same symbol he had found tattooed on Forbes’ arm. Mason then breaks into the home of the school caretaker who was employed at the school when the two girls disappeared and who was later convicted of sex offences concerning teenage girls. Once again he arrives too late. The man is found hanging, and Mason gets another beating from another uninvited guest. Worse still, he is suspended and taken off the case, but not before he has contacted Tina Boyd and asked her to contact Kitty’s best friend at university, who now lives in France. The friend had been reluctant (and for good reason) to talk to Mason about Kitty, and her relationship with Forbes.
Boyd travels to France and contacts Kitty’s friend who suggests Kitty might not have traveled with Forbes to Thailand. Immediately, Tina and Kitty’s friend also come under attack. They flee, eluding their assailants by jumping off a ravine into a lake. Tina survives and gets back to London with the information for Mason. Kitty's friend fares worse, as sometimes being a good Samaritan has consequences.
Mason and Boyd pursue their investigations covertly, which take in Kitty Sinn’s family background uncovering links to Forbes, and possibly one of London’s most fearsome criminal Oligarchs. It won’t come as too much of a surprise to learn that Mason and Boyd also form a romantic attachment, which will no doubt provide the cement for the further titles promised in the series.
Judging by the pace, the twists and the turns that energise The Bone Field, it could be a series well worth following.