Masters of Bone and Blood

Masters of Bone and Blood - Craig Saunders I received an ARC copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Another very good title from Darkfuse, which is publishing very original dark fiction that defies any genre categorization with each new work.

Very unusual book that plays fast and loose with mythological figures in an alternative realistic setting. Gods and Demigods appear among mortals in what at first appears to be a noir mystery, with our main character, a detective of course, being a personification of Death himself, which tells us right away that this story will be anything but run of the mill.

I wasn’t always engaged in the emotional arc of the story, but that is always subjective and maybe even a result of my mood or things not even related to the story, yet I could not deny the imaginative power of Saunders’ vision. That is saying quite a bit. I already knew that Saunders was a very good writer from his very good novella, Dead Lift, that was published last year by Darkfuse, but was surprised at how different this work was from Dead Lift, which was a gritty and realistic emotional wringer of a story.

I don’t want to put in too many details of the story line because I feel that detracts from the enjoyment—because there are plenty of surprises here, especially in the character of Solomon and his son. That particular story line was a real mind-blower. However, I do feel that I need to give the potential reader a sense of what to expect in reading this fine novel. I hate to compare one author to another, but if I were to say “this story will appeal to readers who like X author” I would say that this particular novel would be a big hit with fans of Neil Gaiman because of the deft and original treatment of mythological/biblical characters, the sheer imaginative power and world building, and the skill of the prose. There isn’t an off note in here.

Four and half stars.