Review: Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh


Title: Quiet in Her Bones
Author: Nalini Singh
Date of publication: 23 Feb 2021
Genre: Thriller

Author's links:

My rating: 4 Stars 


My mother vanished ten years ago.
So did a quarter of a million dollars in cash.
Thief. Bitch. Criminal.
Now, she's back.
Her bones clothed in scarlet silk.

When socialite Nina Rai disappeared without a trace, everyone wrote it off as another trophy wife tired of her wealthy husband. But now her bones have turned up in the shadowed green of the forest that surrounds her elite neighborhood, a haven of privilege and secrets that's housed the same influential families for decades.

The rich live here, along with those whose job it is to make their lives easier. And somebody knows what happened to Nina one rainy night ten years ago. Her son Aarav heard a chilling scream that night, and he's determined to uncover the ugly truth that lives beneath the moneyed elegance...but no one is ready for the murderous secrets about to crawl out of the dark.

Even the dead aren't allowed to break the rules in this cul-de-sac.


Nalini Singh is my favourite PNR author, her Psy-Changling series set the bar that I use to measure any other PNR against. She also writes contemporaries which are a hit or miss for me but still, I mostly enjoy them. This is only her second thriller. I loved the first one despite the issues I had with the resolution and who the murder turned out to be.

This book is thrilling and scary and amazing but once again I have some issues with the ending.

Aarav is one of the most unreliable narrator I have ever read and going on the journey to discover the killer with him was a wild ride by all means. I admit I didn't guess the killer till the very end and very much like Aarav and suspected everyone at some point.

Like Nalini Singh's previous thriller, this one is very atmospheric with a strong sense of place which I really liked. The murder mystery in a cul-de-saq neighbourhood of the rich was very engrossing and kept me on the edge till the last page.

I found the story scarier that some horror I have read, not so much because of the murder and some of violence that happens but because of witnessing Aarav's mind breaking, and seeing him not trusting himself, not knowing and not remembering, it was brutal and so powerfully presented.

I was on board with everything going on, though some aspects of the mother-son relationship made me uncomfortable, till the very end. It was easy to hate his father, it was more difficult to pinpoint my feelings for Aarav and Nina - there is sympathy and desire to help and protect. But also they lied and cheated and manipulated the others. They were not good people but complex ones - hurt and hurting but also caring and loyal.

I felt uncomfortable with the violence we see with regard to some queer side characters. It was not only them that get hurt in the story, straight characters also suffer abuse and violence, but I feel at least some of the violence towards the queer characters could have been spared (it was not queerphobia or gender-based violence, I need to clarify).

Now, the ending, on the one hand I had suspicions that didn't turn out to be true and I am happy and relieved about it. At the same time I felt the resolution of the murder mystery took the focus away from Nina. She was very much in the center of the story and her life and disappearance basically shaped Aarav the way he was. Going in the direction it went, the ending did a disservice to Nina in my opinion.

All in all, I had minor complaints with the story and feel this is a solid thriller with a compelling mystery plot, engaging written with a more or less satisfying resolution.

CWs: domestic violence, abuse, car crash, hospital stay, cheating, suicide, drugs, alcohol addiction (in the past), mental health issues, migraines, memory loss

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