Book Review: The Escape Artist
High White Sun

Book Review: Bone Music

The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.


Bone Music’s story by Christopher Rice is not a classical melody, but more like hard rock. The scenes are riveting and realistic enough that there is an element of believability, alternating between a thriller and the fringes of science fiction.

Rice considers it a “sci-fi cross over where it has a gratified fantasy dusted in the grit of existence. What was extraordinary:  the drug that makes Charlotte able to do incredible things and the pharmaceutical company that is so wealthy they have infinite resources including their paramilitary units.  The drug attacks the process in the brain to prevent fright so that Charlotte is not paralyzed by fear and can actually fight. Also, throughout the series an ongoing question will be why does the drug only work with Charlotte, allowing her a three-hour window where she is capable of absolutely Superhuman strength.”

This consuming read has the heroine trying to overcome her tragic past by rebuilding her life and overcoming her trust issues.  The intensity begins from page one when a husband and wife team of serial killers abducts a nine-month-old baby after brutally killing its mother.  They raised Trina, hoping to include her in their viciousness, grooming her to follow in their footsteps.  Yet, she could not even kill a bird and felt remorse.  This shows that environment is not the sole basis for serial killers since Charlotte refuses to kill. Luckily for her, at the age of seven, the FBI raided their hideout.

Throughout her life Trina had to be under the suspicion of some who felt that she was complicit in the murders, labeled as “The Burning Girl.” She attempts to bury her past by changing her name to Charlotte Rowe, and baring her soul to psychologist, Dylan “Cole,” who was pretending to help, but actually had his own agenda.  He gives her a supposed calming pill, which is actually an experimental drug.  It transforms her adrenaline when triggered by a sense of fear, allowing her to have super strength. Now able to gain back her confidence with a life ruled less by fear, she decides to use her extraordinary ability to fight evil, a serial killer known as the Mask Maker, with the help of the pharmaceutical company that makes the drug.

As the story unfolds Charlotte transforms from a paranoid and insecure individual to someone who gains strength, confidence, and a small amount of trust.  She returns to the town of her childhood, Altamira, California, where she enlists the help of those who she knew, including a high school peer, Luke, who would bully her, but now wants to make amends by helping.

Wanting a superhero with some flaws, Rice notes, “She does everything one step at a time.  She is strong, determined, resilient, smart, but has a dark side.  When her grandmother died she became grief stricken.  Since then she had built walls, but once she decides to make the most of a bad situation and gets a new purpose she is starting to bring the wall down and allow people into her life.  After she changed her name from Trina Pierce to Charlotte Rowe she found her own voice.  Changing her name was a way to say ‘I can set my own course,’ and make my own identity.”

Just as those in the military, Charlotte feels that it is her duty to protect others. “I wrote that the people Charlotte goes up against are fundamentally evil, and she feels they must be stopped by her.  I have to say, as I was writing this I did not feel much remorse for the people who died at Charlotte’s hands.  Just as with the military, people should not be weighing in and creating a social media jury system on every combat situation. Especially, since they have no sense of what really went down, and we are not willing to make the sacrifices our men and women in the military must make.  I think Charlotte realizes she will go after the worse of the worst and I compare her to the special forces of serial killer trackers.  I address through Charlotte when absolute force is justified.”

This is a fast-paced story that has very engaging characters.  Readers will root for Charlotte to succeed emotionally and with her quest to rid the world of evildoers.