Keith Minnion has long been a force in the horror genre, both as an author and artist. He made his name as an illustrator for several magazines and publishers, most notably and recently for the Stephen King/Richard Chizmar novels Gwendy’s Button Box and Gwendy’s Magic Feather. His short stories have been making the rounds since 1979 and his two collections have garnered high praise.
His first novel The Boneyard, immensely readable and well-written, tears into ground that feels untrodden and fresh. Finding something new these days is tough; finding something that is both new and successful in execution is much tougher. This novel nails it on both counts.
The sky holds secrets that man had yet to figure. The boneyard exists somewhere above the clouds. To explain the bone worms and their lair would be akin to spilling the secrets of a macabre Santa. Just dive into the story with as little detail and expectation as possible. It is easily one of the strongest entries in the genre this decade, which happened to be a very strong decade for dark novels.
Back in 1921, a six-year old is taken for a bi-plane ride for his birthday. Something terrible happens up in the sky, in that boneyard that will scar the boy and his friend for life. Many years later, in 1983, the boys, now senior citizens, hole up in an apartment together, one trying to keep the other safe from what’s been seeking them for decades.
Detective Fran Lomax searches Philadelphia for the killer who’s been flaying open victims all over town. Left behind are gruesome crime scenes — yet no bones. Fresh off a breakdown, he knows this case could make him, or shatter his psyche for good. The deeper he plunges into the world of the bone worms, the stranger the case becomes and the edges of reality fray with each clue uncovered.
Part horror novel, part police procedural, part thriller, The Boneyeard will rattle the readers’ bones, at least while they’re still inside the body. Easily one of my best reads of this year. Minnion also created the dazzling cover.
Recommended reading for fans of great storytelling.