CHRISTOPHER RICE — BONE MUSIC, A BURNING GIRL THRILLER — 2018
If you intend to take a pill, read this thriller first and ponder about the grave consequences that may come from that pill. There is no innocent pill in life.
This story is amazing. The main character is a woman who was an abducted girl when very young, abducted with her mother who was assassinated by the abductors who “adopted” the girl and raised her for a few years before being finally caught by the police with an impressive list of victims. She is Burning Girl because she burnt the clothes and things of the victims in the furnace of the farm where all that happened.
After her liberation, she was used by her father to make some money with books and films until she finally refused to go on in her late teen years. Later on, she sued her father to get a share of the profit of the books and films and with this share, she could start a new life under a new name because her years in high school had been hellish due particularly to a certain Luke who teased her, more precisely harassed her with her past.
In her new state under her new name, Charlotte Rowe, she is approached by a psychiatrist who little by little penetrates her personality and finally manages to give her some pills to relax her, at least that’s what he says and she understands. And that’s where the thriller really starts.
The book deals with many political stakes in our historical time when capitalism has become a faceless and mindless, probably soulless, exploitative system that uses the tremendous scientific progress of ours to colonize the world and control absolutely every aspect of our lives. We have become dependent on drugs, pills, and others, but we do not know what is in these drugs and we become drugged zombies who look normal, behave normal and yet are nothing but a shadow of what we would be without the pills. We are thus under constant blackmail from all pharmaceutical corporations that give us one no-choice choice: the pill for you to feel relaxed or no pill and constant tension.
But it is even worse when we add to this blackmailing the constant surveillance we are under due to modern technology that is exploited like a mine by hackers, no matter what kind: they can be illegal and not necessarily criminal; they can be plainly criminal; they can be from any state agency or department; they can be from our own country or from any country in the world, individuals or collective entities, benevolent organizations or organizations with intentions that go far beyond benevolence and can reach extreme evil intentions. Welcome to the constant control of invisible and unidentified forces in a society of consumers addicted to pills and medications.
When a pharmaceutical corporation has the means to distribute some drugs to practically anyone, to put anyone under surveillance via the Internet and with miniature drones you can hardly see since they have the size of gnats or mosquitoes, to literally have at their hired disposal full armies of trained soldiers and all kinds of military equipment and weapons, then this pharmaceutical corporation is a fascist dictator who can decide on the life or death of anyone who is on their path, road or highway, if not interstate to profit. The boss of this corporation in the book is supposed to have some humane intentions, but that is a fake illusion, a pipe dream, a reassuring lie.
The question of women, their being harassed or raped, brutally dealt with or even killed daily as a matter of no importance is a question dealt with here in the book. We all know what is happening today and how #METOO and other movements, including the senatorial big grand overture of the Kavanaugh hearing that is doing more than any other event to show how much such facts concerning girls and women are totally neglected and even rejected by those who have power in our society. And yet something is changing so fast and so deep that we can feel the earthquake under our feet and the tsunami will be coming immediately next. I am not sure the understanding in the book that a pharmaceutical corporation is supposed to produce a pill that will alleviate the fear and angst of women in the common daily situation of their minimized position is the proper discourse or solution. What on earth can we do for that bullying and harassment to stop, to come to an end, and the culprits to be brought down to their knees and made to pay some compensation for their wrongdoing, their criminal behavior?
The book though is optimistic because all those who help Charlotte Rowe are men, except for one female lawyer. They are all men who have either made amend because they used to be alcoholics and they have stepped over this alienation, or they were high school bullies and they also have stepped over this behavioral curse, or they are CEOs in some pharmaceutical corporation and they want to help women, though in this case, it is not for the sake of women but for their own sake called profit. At the same time, the two serial killers we are dealing with are two men. The first one is helped by his wife to abduct the women or men they abduct, and she will clean up the artifacts left behind by the victims after the husband has dealt with them with repetitive rape and murder. The second one is, of course, the Mask Maker Charlotte Rowe goes after in the last section of this thriller. We could also speak of the network of bikers that are thrown across Charlotte’s road one night after she has taken her first pill. They are all men and the only contacts they may have with women are defined as rape. We could also speak of Charlotte Rowe’s stalker and fan who is also thrown across her path on the same night but this time in her own home he has violated and his objective is to make her realize she is a genetically determined killer and she has to satisfy her genes under his control of course. We could also speak of the fake psychiatrist who is a victim of the same abductors as Charlotte Rowe’s, but he is a victim of abduction and the murder of his mother. These negative male characters are counterbalancing the optimism I was speaking of before. Men are prettily divided between good and evil.
If you like strong thrillers and powerful situations you have to jump into this novel. You will be surprised by the end, the very end, the epilogue that announces a second volume that is already available in pre-order.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU