Uncomfortable Scenes: White Bones by Graham Masterson

I’ve been reading White Bones by Graham Masterson.

It’s splendidly written, in that there’s conflict going on in each scene, and the stakes keep getting higher.  I’m not finished with it yet, but I had to note that I was uncomfortable with one of the scenes. (Well, more than just that one, but it’s horrifying, nevertheless.)  See, I’m okay with being with the main character (woman police detective trying to solve multiple murders of women) and her problems. She’s sympathetic and there’s some arcing going on, so that part is copacetic. But then Masterson pops us into the world of one of the victims, and I didn’t really like going there.  Not one bit.

I admired the writing that was horrifying me, but then, did I really need to be in the room as the victim was tortured and killed? That’s not for the feint of heart, and I guess I’m feint of heart. I don’t shy away from blood, or even exposed bones. That didn’t bother me when I was doing ski patrol. Deep cuts to the bone, no big deal, let’s get a butterfly on that and ship ’em off to the hospital.  No, I’m not grossed out by blood or guts. I’d be a lousy medic if I were.

I think it was the horror of knowing the victim was going to die and the detachment with which the murderer went about his actions of dismembering her while she was alive and conscious.  It was knowing that there was no hope, that this was going to be a throw-away character and why did you put me in her head, then? Thanks a lot, author.

If you have any doubt as to the existence of evil, scenes like this will change your mind.