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Ink and Bone: A Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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Tess Gerritsen and Lisa Unger in Conversation
Tess Gerritsen: How did you come up with your main character in INK AND BONE, Finley Montgomery?
Lisa Unger: When I was writing FRAGILE, I ran into a character I wasn’t expecting, psychic Eloise Montgomery. I thought: Oh! A psychic! Even if she’s a fraud, that’s still interesting. But my characters have minds of their own and she only had a small part to play in that book — yet she stayed with me. She’s had a couple of books since then, three short stories, and in my upcoming INK AND BONE we meet her granddaughter Finley, who has powers of her own. Eloise’s story has told itself in a way that I wouldn’t have expected, and it has led me down some roads I didn’t imagine I'd go as a writer. This is, of course, the joy and the magic of writing. So I was struck while reading PLAYING WITH FIRE that you, too, had walked into some of the same territory. Was it a character, or a story, or curiosity about something else that led you there?
Tess Gerritsen: It was a nightmare! I was in Venice for my birthday, and after a night drinking a bit too much wine, I had a freaky dream. I dreamt I was playing my violin. A baby was sitting nearby, and as I played a dark and disturbing melody, the baby's eyes suddenly glowed red and she turned into a monster. I woke up wondering what it meant -- and knowing there was a story here. Something about the power of music to haunt and to transform people. That day I wandered around Venice and ended up in the old Jewish quarter. There I saw memorial plaques dedicated to the Venice Jews who were deported to death camps during WWII. That's when both parts of the novel came to me -- a story about a 1930s Jewish composer whose haunting melody will nearly destroy the life of a woman violinist 70 years later. I'm already a violinist (strictly amateur) with a lifelong love of music, and that knowledge helped inform the musical aspects of the story.
Was there anything from your own life that worked its way into INK AND BONE? Some part of yourself that slipped into the character or plot?
Lisa Unger: I have an enduring fascination with the idea of psychic phenomena in the Jungian sense, that it might be considered a natural extension of normal human ability. In my other life in publishing, I had a chance to work with psychic John Edwards. In a weird way, though this was many years ago, he was the inspiration for Eloise Montgomery. The fictional town in which INK AND BONE is set, The Hollows, first showed up in FRAGILE, which was very loosely based on a real event from my past. Though I didn’t see it at the time, The Hollows shares certain similarities with the place where I grew up. So, in a lot of ways I suppose I’m dreaming on the page, the real and the imagined get twisted into fiction.
Tess Gerritsen: I’m intrigued by the fact your character in INK AND BONE was inspired by your work with psychic John Edwards. I love hearing about the research. It is the part I enjoy most about writing, because I can delve into new worlds. As a writer I've attended autopsies, watched the CT scan of a mummy, and scouted Boston for the best places to dump a body. What lengths have you gone to get the details right?
Lisa Unger: Most writers are explorers. I like to think of myself as a spelunker, shimming into the dark spaces between things I don’t understand to try finding answers. So, yes, research (and life) is an important part of the process.
I’ve taken a concealed weapons course (and absolutely hated the feeling of firing a gun). I’ve interviewed a woman who claimed to be a ghost hunter. One of my closest friends is a retired Federal Agent who, if he doesn’t know the answers to my million questions, can always find someone who does. I lived with a New York City police officer for eight years – okay, so that was a relationship, and a pretty bad one at that. But in the end I just wound up with a good knowledge of police work and fantastic recipe for roast pork -- which I guess is something. I’ve been lava tubing in Iceland (not sure where that’s going to turn up, but I’m guessing it will). Recently, I’ve become obsessed with birds. I’m an information junkie. I’m constantly reading non-fiction in all areas with a special focus on psychology, addiction, trauma, biology and the brain. For me, more than the nuts and bolts of procedure, its human nature and the mind, and where those things intersect with nurture and spirituality, that fascinate me. Much of INK AND BONE is laced through with those themes.
What themes do you find come up again and again in your novels? Have you ever been surprised by a recurring question or idea that surfaces without your realizing it?
Tess Gerritsen: I too hated firing a gun. I was painfully aware that if I was the slightest bit careless and didn't stay in control of where it was pointed, someone could die.
When I'm writing, I'm thinking primarily about characters and plot, and it's only in retrospect that I understand what the theme might be. You asked whether I've been surprised by recurring questions that seem to surface in my books, and the answer is: yes, absolutely.
When I was a child, I adored a family friend named Uncle Mike, who served very much as a father figure for me. He was a gentle soul who counseled me about school, life, and love. Then when I turned eighteen, Uncle Mike was arrested for murdering his sister-in-law. I was stunned because I never saw that violent side of him, and it led me to question whether anyone is who they seem to be. That's the theme I return to again and again -- which smiling face hides the monster? In a way, it's a universal theme for crime writers, the evil that lurks in the hearts of seemingly ordinary human beings.
Lisa Unger: When I was fifteen, a girl I knew was abducted and murdered. We lived in a small, supposedly safe town, the kind of place you move to give your kids a happy, suburban upbringing. And then, on a day like any other day, a girl walking home from school fell victim to a monster. I never saw the world the same way again. The theme of the lost girl runs through almost all of my novels in one way or another, never with my intending it and always obvious to me only after the book is done. I think most of us are metabolizing fear on the page, and looking to put order to the chaos we perceive in the world. Maybe that’s why people read crime fiction, as well — because there’s a beginning, middle, and an end where some kind of justice is served. Not always so in the real world.
I’m writing pretty close to the bone. I follow the voices in my head, and so far they’ve all been pretty dark and twisted, wrestling with questions of identity, struggling with everything from addiction to body dysmorphic disorder to hauntings. I have a voracious curiosity about people and all the different things that make us who we are. If someone else turns up with something different to explore, I’ll certainly honor that. For me that’s the joy of writing, following character voice wherever it takes me.
“Ink and Bone is like The Sixth Sense on steroids—a dark, dazzling tale in which the light manages to shine through on things that really do go bump in the night." —The Providence Journal
"Lisa Unger is building a sense of place for The Hollows that rivals Stephen King's Castle Rock for continuity and creepiness." —The News & Observer
"I experienced something pleasantly heartbreaking while reading Ink and Bone, Lisa Unger's latest mystery-thriller. This horrific, fast-paced novel succeeded in drawing me in by taking possession of my senses and controlling the emotions I thought were mine. Literally... a true nail-biter." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Unger makes the spectral realistic because anything can happen in The Hollows, and does. In her storytelling, the supernatural jump starts a story about fragile families seeking peace and fulfillment.... Without over violence, Unger delivers a frighteningly real villain who is able to hide in plain sight. Ink and Bone is a welcomed return to the haunting The Hollows." —Sun Sentinel
"A gut-wrenching tale of horror and mystery.... Strong characters and stellar writing make this a wonderful mix of small-town life with the supernatural." —Associated Press
"Unger builds the tension to high intensity.... Little by little, the truth is revealed to Finley and to the reader—a dark side that winds through the Hollows like the long-abandoned mines that snake beneath its surface.... Ink and Bone takes the reader into dire places, but into the light as well. And Finley? My psychic vibes predict she'll be back." —Tampa Bay Times
“Those voices appear on the page, and without much prompting become the interesting, dimensional characters that make her books so thrilling.” —Sarasota Herald-Tribune
“For those who like intense psychological mystery at its best. Unger provides." —The Florida Times-Union
"Lisa Unger has written the sort of novel that fans of Stephen King and Peter Straub used to eagerly anticipate. Many of her previous books have been dark, but this one is a full-fledged dive into the deep end of the horror pool. The result is an effective and unsettling supernatural tale that will leave you reeling." —Bookreporter.com
"Lisa Unger takes you to dark places then shows you the light. The universe she has created in The Hollows—the dead and the living, the haunted and the haunting, the lost and missing—resonates so deeply, it’s a world I want to go back to again and again and am always a little heartbroken to leave. In Ink and Bone, we return to The Hollows once more, and Unger weaves a story that casts a captivating spell, and will leave you feeling haunted long after you turn the last page." —Jennifer McMahon, author of The Night Sister
"Engrossing, atmospheric, and fast-paced, for fans of dark and twisty psychological suspense, Lisa Unger's Ink and Bone is not to be missed." —Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author of Most Wanted
"Instant page-turner! A race-against-the-clock thriller that brings together grieving families, small town secrets, and a troubled teen whose ghosts aren't just in her past." —Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Find Her
"This is as chilling a tale as any the ingenious Lisa Unger has ever come up with. I've still got shivers!" —Robert Masello, #1 Amazon bestselling author of The Einstein Prophecy.
“Engrossing. . . the tension is palpable. Unger straddles the fine line between thriller and horror, making this a very exciting and riveting read, sure to appeal to a wide range of readers, including Kay Hooper or Stephen King fans." —Booklist (starred review)
“Unger's beloved characters continue a deftly balanced story that's supernatural without a creepy aftertaste.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Bestselling author Lisa Unger knows a thing or two about building suspense, and she piles on the twists in her latest thriller, Ink and Bone." —BookPage
"From Harlan Coben to Lisa Scottoline to Lisa Gardner to the team here at Suspense Magazine, we all say that Lisa Unger should be on your bookshelf." —Suspense Magazine
"Fans of the supernatural and psychological suspense will find this story entertaining." —Library Journal
Praise for Crazy Love You:
“Sharply drawn characters and occasional rest breaks of humor . . . Unger is adept at evoking the eerie, but she’s also capable of droll sociological commentary on the urban scene. . . . After reading Unger’s sinister thriller, anyone cavalier enough to think they can easily put the past to rest (and even live companionably with the dead) will think again.” —Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
“Exhilarating and gut-wrenching . . . Proves to be complex and surprising in several ways, and Unger has a gift for telling a story with great characters while also manipulating the reader. . . . It’s crazy good.” —Associated Press
“At first I thought I knew where Unger was driving me, but then she slammed on the brakes, turned and drove me right off a cliff.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Nothing is what it seems in this creepy romance novel.” —The Oklahoman
“Manages to keep us guessing.” —Raleigh News & Observer
“An extraordinary psychological thriller . . . Manages to do an incredible amount of things, all of them well, including a truly unique romantic triangle and the blurred lines between unconditional friendship and romantic infatuation. . . . A simmering tale of romantic obsession and angst in the tradition of Body Heat or Fatal Attraction, laced with the noirish spirit of James M. Cain. Wonderfully crafted and beautifully executed.” —The Providence Journal
"Crazy Love You kept me reading like a madwoman, desperate to find out what happens next. This is a haunting, compulsive tale that will have you under its spell long after you've closed the book." —Tess Gerritsen, author of Die Again
“Unger’s skillful portrayal of complex and traumatized characters make her latest psychological thriller one that will keep readers engaged from start to finish. . . . This imaginative tale . . . may be the author’s best work yet.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Riveting . . . This is a complex, intricate story, yet the pages fly by as Ian, the most unreliable narrator since Nick Dunne in Gone Girl, leads us on a wild ride in this superb psychological thriller. Unger is at the top of her game here.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Darkly compelling psychological thriller.” —Family Circle
"Scores another bull's eye with this one. Classic Unger and a surefire hit." —Kirkus Reviews
“Emotionally involving . . . Unger skillfully keeps the reader off kilter as she delves into the psyches of Priss and Ian.” —South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"Suspenseful . . . Will keep readers hooked." —Publishers Weekly
“Crazy Love You ups the ante. Every time I thought I had a handle on what was really happening and why, [Unger] gave the plot another sly twist that left me scrambling to catch up. . . . Has enough supernatural elements to remind us of Stephen King territory.” —Tampa Bay Times
"Page-turning psychological suspense."—DuJour Magazine.com
“The psychological and paranormal dimensions of Crazy Love You are superbly drawn, endlessly fascinating and extremely frightening. The undertow of despair might not be safe for novice word-swimmers….A book so richly textured.”—Florida Weekly
“A deeply layered and finely textured novel about a special relationship that has taken a dark turn. It is a novel of obsession, unrequited love, loneliness and the rage that comes from not fitting in.”—BookReporter
"Mesmerizing and unnerving from its first pages to its stunner of an ending, Lisa Unger's Crazy Love You is a tale you won't soon forget." —Megan Abbott, author of The Fever
"When I tell you I could not put this book down, I mean I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN!!! It is dark and twisted and captivating and full of endless surprises. I promise you're in for a wild ride." —John Searles, author of Help for the Haunted and Strange But True
“With Crazy Love You, Lisa Unger has outdone herself. I’ve been a fan of hers for years but this is hands-down my favorite book she’s written. It has all the twists and turns we’ve come to expect from her, along with a delightfully unreliable narrator, and a psychological depth that is as poignant as it is shocking. People like to exaggerate claims of reading a book in a single sitting. I did—cover to cover without once rising from my chair. It’s that good.” —Gregg Hurwitz, author of Don't Look Back
“Unger pulls off a bravura feat. . . . Readers will … savor the pleasure of being guided by Unger’s sure hand along a deliciously twisted narrative path. Another scary winner from an accomplished pro.”—Kirkus Reviews
Praise for In the Blood:
“In the Blood is an absolute corker of a thriller that cements Lisa Unger's status as one of the brightest stars in the game.” —Dennis Lehane
"Reading In the Blood is like grabbing a live wire. . . . A shocking, unputdownable thriller." —Karin Slaughter
"In the Blood is a riveting new thriller from Lisa Unger. Dark and haunting, with a deadly twist that you won't see coming 'til you're hit between the eyes, this book is a winner." —Linda Fairstein
"In the Blood is a psychological thriller that played me--in the best sense--from beginning to surprising end. I guarantee Lisa Unger will pull the rug out from under you more than once, so hold tight." —Andrew Pyper
“Deeply plotted and complex and carries an undeniable momentum. Lisa Unger’s enthralling cast of characters pulled me right in and locked me down tight. This is one book that will have you racing to the last page, only to have you wishing the ride wasn’t over.” —Michael Connelly
“A thrilling story that affects complicated and nuanced people. But it’s also a sensitive meditation on the very nature of family and community and the ties that bind us to one another.” —Laura Lippman
“Riveting psychological suspense of the first order. If you haven’t yet experienced Lisa Unger, what are you waiting for?” —Harlan Coben
“I read Black Out in one hungry gulp and spent the rest of the night trying to calm my jangled nerves. This is a stunning, mind-bending shocker with moments of sheer terror — one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year!” —Tess Gerritsen
“Suspenseful, sensitive, sexy, subtle … The best nail-biter I have read for ages. Highly recommended.” —Lee Child --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Top customer reviews
Lisa Unger brings us back to The Hollows, a quintessential New England small town not far outside of NYC. The town has a mix of long time residents with roots from as far back as the 1600's and new residents, mostly families leaving NYC searching for a more tranquil life. This mix gives the town a mostly cohesive yet fairly economically diverse population. Jones Cooper ( former Hollows police officer and current private detective) is back investing a missing child case. Eloise (a psychic who he often partners with) isn't feeling a connection to the case but her 20 year oldgranddaughter Finley (who seems to have developing 'gifts' similar to Eloise's), is picking something up so she introduces them and hopes a new partnership develops.
As they search for the missing child, they discover a couple other missing persons cases which may or may not be related. In the meantime, the family of the missing child struggles to make it through each day of not knowing what happened to their sweet, spunky girl. Finley works on coming to terms with her 'gifts' as well as other nagging issues such as what to do with her ex boyfriend Rainer and a troubled relationship with her mother. Eloise has her own issues; what may be next for her and her love interest Ray (also a returning Hollows character) and how to help Finley learn to manage her abilities..
All this plus a search of an old mining tunnel system, a possibly haunted woods and an intriguing mix of technology, modern life and centuries old superstition makes a winning combination.
WHAT I LOVED
Ink and Bone has all my favorite elements of a thriller: a potentially haunted setting, flawed yet mostly decent characters, lots of hidden agendas, a good plot and a nice dose of creepy. Yes, there is most likely something wrong with me...
I loved the combo of Finley and her grandmother Eloise. They were kindred spirits and were a great support for each other. Eloise brings out the best in Finley.
This book has strong female characters. Gotta love that.
I like my thrillers with a lot of action but I also think they are best when they explore what is going on inside the characters heads. It makes it all the more interesting, this book delivers on both.
WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE
I guess my only real complaint was near the end when everyone 'just happened' to converge at the same place at the same time. It seemed a bit contrived but it was necessary for the plot resolution so I decided to pretend not to notice and just enjoy my reading experience.
Great book of you're a Lisa Unger fan. If you've never read Lisa Unger, still a great read.
The writing was concise, dramatic and emotionally captivating. I fell in love with all the characters and have bought older books featuring them. Ink and Bone is a dark thriller, with one foot in another world and the other foot, agonizingly, stretched into the minds of those experiencing pain, loss and even madness.
For those who enjoy a richly drawn glimpse into the world of mystery and suspense, Ink and Bone is a must read.
than you need to follow the plot and you can be irritated by the digression ,but her ability to
convey a tense situation in prose is superb. Also the psychic element with the lost girls is
something which is like McMahon you either enjoy or you stop reading. Unger is still sometimes not clear as to who is talking to whom but its the digressions which still are too much for my taste. Unger is not an ordinary thriller writer .
Abbey Gleason is taken after a savage attack while hiking with her father and brother. Where is she? Who has her? Is she still alive?
Finley Montgomery moves in with her grandmother, Eloise. Finley goes to college and Eloise helps her to understand the ghosts that come to her and with her dreams of events that have occurred. Eloise is a psychic and works with the police department at times.
Finley keeps hearing this sound in her head and she has to fight to get it out. It's connected to things that are not so good in The Hollows where they live. There is evil in The Hollows.
Merri and Wolf Gleason are the parents of Abbey and her brother Jackson. Merri wants to try to hire a detective one last time to find Abbey. It seems everyone has given up hope after 10 long months. Merri wants detective Jones Cooper and psychic Eloise Montgomery on the case. Eloise decides that Finley needs to do this case and with trepidation, she does.
This is a hard one for Finley. She hasn't done anything like this before and the things she sees has her crazy with worry. She wants to find Abbey, but what she and Jones eventually find is worse than what they could have ever imagined.
Finley finds a lot of ghosts in those woods. But will she find Abbey?
I really enjoyed this book! I was on the edge of my seat many times yelling "Go, Go, Go! Hurry."
It was a tough and sad revelation all around. There was a twist that I should have seen, don't they always do that? When they find out the whole story though, it's just so very sad. But don't let that stop you. If you want to read a great murder/mystery/thriller, give this book a try. It's all that and a little bit more.
I usually don't read books with psychic characters so that was new for me, too. I didn't expect to like it but it wasn't over the top. The author made it believable and acceptable. These weren't superficial characters.
I'll read the rest of the series now, but wish I had read the books in order.