• White Bones

  • Kate Maguire Book 1 (Unabridged)
  • By: Graham Masterton
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lennon
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (139 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On an isolated farm in southern Ireland, a decades-old grave houses the dismembered bones of 11 women. Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire of the Irish Gardai is used to bloodshed, but these white bones speak of unimaginable butchery.

Not far away, a young American tourist is at the mercy of a sadistic killer. His tools are a boning knife, twine, and a doll fashioned from rags, nails, and fish-hooks. The murder of his victims is secondary only to his pleasure at their pain.

As more and more victims are ritualistically murdered, Katie Maguire finds that she must solve an ancient Irish mystery to catch a terrifying present-day killer.

©2013 Graham Masterton (P)2014 Audible Studios

What listeners say about White Bones

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Intolerable torture scenes

I had to return this novel after about an hour's listen. The detailed scenes of torture are lengthy and intolerable. The narrator's rendition of what she thinks is the voice of a young American woman is also torturous (otherwise the narrator is fine).

6 people found this helpful

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Could be great book instead of great disapointment

What disappointed you about White Bones?

Sexual scenes and scenes of torture.are GRAPHIC. The sexual scenes are so detailed that that they could be used in an OBGYN text book. I needed a shower after reading one chapter. The scenes of torture including details of being skinned alive and legs amputated
in minute detail are stomach turning.

.I found myself skipping chapters. This is a well written book take out the scenes of torture and sadism I would be hooked if it turned into a series. Believe me I am NOT easily offended, I am not squeamish, sex, when its part of the story is just great. Torture in detail is another story.You need a strong stomach, not prone to nightmares and enjoy porn to enjoy this book

What other book might you compare White Bones to and why?

Broken Angels by same author.

What does Caroline Lennon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Excellent pronunciation of the Irish language. Caroline is great.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger and disappointment. Terrible ending great story, ruined by unnecessary scenes of sadism, crudity and violence

Any additional comments?

Dont buy this book if you are easily unnerved.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

gratuitous gore

What would have made White Bones better?

The graphic descriptions of sadistic violence were distracting and seemed unnecessary. I find stories that leave some of these details to the imagination and focus on the forensic analysis to be far more interesting.

What could Graham Masterton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

As stated above, there were elements of the story that were interesting; however, I found the descriptions of the sadistic acts to be unnecessary.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Several of the characters were interesting.

Any additional comments?

I recommend against downloading this book if you are sensitive to butchery and extreme suffering. I have read six of Chelsea Cain's Archie Sheridan/Gretchen books and found them to be gruesome, but enjoyed the series. White Bones far exceeded my threshold for gore.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Love Katie Maguire. Compelling if imperfect story.

Where does White Bones rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Graham Masterton is a really masterful storyteller, and the twists come fast and furious. A few choices are more over-the-top than I like in my mysteries (prefer them slightly more real,) but I can't imagine he'd ever be a wasted listen. Love his ability to set up Cork as a place in time, and to draw a series of interesting characters.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Katie is a great character. She makes unique moral choices - more interesting than a lot of authors would allow- and her morality is very particular to her as a character. I like her doggedness. Masterton isn't afraid to let her screw up, either, which makes her all the more real. The ultimate villain of this piece is interesting too. Not entirely unexpected when revealed, but still worth it.

What three words best describe Caroline Lennon’s voice?

The narrator's voice is dramatic but also soothing with its Irish lilt. It's honeyed and unique. HOWEVER, I really feel that she hams it up awfully with the American characters. Their accents are SO BAD that it unfortunately ruins some really important scenes. Seriously. A suggestion of an accent often works better than when narrators try to fully do an accent (this must happen to British listeners all the time, but my ear is tuned to North American. Sorry, British listeners! Wow!) The end of the second book implies that there are more American characters to come so I hope this is fixed.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Masterton shows his roots as a horror author - BOY is there some gore in here. Just a warning. I'm not squeamish by most measures, but something about listening to the torturous scenes in here was pretty difficult... He also likes supernatural subjects a lot.

Some lesbian stuff in both books so far has been kinda gratuitous from where I sit - much more a male fantasy than a true female experience. Not enough to wreck anything, just a little silly.

Any additional comments?

I listened to the second Katie Maguire book first. If you think you might listen to it, you might want to do this one first. It doesn't matter much in a lot of series, but there is some serious story arcing from book-to-book here, and the journey of this one was a little spoiled by listening out of order.

5 people found this helpful

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Torture

While the story line is good, the grizzly and graphic descriptions of torture is too much to bear.

2 people found this helpful

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Torture porn, cliche riddled

All dogs are black labradors, travellers can't be trusted, pathologists are pompous, great insights are revealed in dreams....
How I managed to finish this book is a mystery and I'm embarrassed to have done so. Don't waste your time.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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"I want more"

What made the experience of listening to White Bones the most enjoyable?

Mr. Masterton's imagination is full of darkness and he is not afraid to show it. Love it!

What other book might you compare White Bones to and why?

No comparison at all.

Which character – as performed by Caroline Lennon – was your favorite?

Kate Maguire

2 people found this helpful

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This book made me mentally and physically ill

Do NOT buy the audiobook. The book contains many horrible, brutal and grotesque torture porn scenes, which are unbearable to listen to as an audiobook. It was so traumatising that I couldn’t finish the book. Sensitive listeners should definitely stay away

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Irish myth

Interesting story, well written, well performed and well developed characters. Love this author, will read more of her books.

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  • MM
  • 01-14-20

Enjoyed listening

Loved it, kept me intrigued. I am looking forward to listening to/or reading Katie McGuire's next mystery.

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  • M
  • 12-07-15

I should have heeded the reviews!

I will be returning this one. However, its my own fault. I should have believed the earlier reviews. The book has some of the most graphic violence I have ever read. I am not easily shocked or a prude but just found it horrible and gave up after a couple of hours. Its a shame as I found the book really engaging otherwise. I also dont agree with some reviewers about the narrator. I thought she was great and would listen to her again.

If you like really, really graphic and detailed horror - this may be for you.

37 people found this helpful

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  • Kathy
  • 08-06-13

Good story but some graphic torture scenes

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The story and main characters are good but interspersed with chapters of torture that are graphic and gruesome. I'm about a quarter through and wondering whether I can finish it.

Would you be willing to try another book from Graham Masterton? Why or why not?

Yes

What about Caroline Lennon’s performance did you like?

Good

Could you see White Bones being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

I sincerely hope not.

Any additional comments?

I'm appalled by the method and description of torture which is in contrast to an otherwise good story. I think the different aspects of the book would appeal to different audiences. Unfortunately one audience would be serial killers .......

35 people found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 07-25-13

An Uncomfortable Story Brilliantly Read

What did you like best about White Bones? What did you like least?

The pacing of the story was good but the excessive, Repetitive gore made for an uncomfortable read. Once the picture was painted of the fate of the girls the author could profitably have left things to our memory. Gore for gores sake does not make for a good book. Unless you like large amounts of detailed violence, give this a miss.

What was most disappointing about Graham Masterton’s story?

The most disappointing was his over-reliance on detailed description of torture. Suspense and atmosphere can be built up quite effectively without going into intimate detail, especially when an element of repetition of scenes creeps in. As it is it created a one-dimensional story of horror and depravity when the author has more tools in his armoury, which he could deploy.

Which character – as performed by Caroline Lennon – was your favourite?

Katie was a sound character around whom other books can be centred. However, she would lose credibility if every book presented her with sick repetitive violence. One hopes that the author has it within him. Otherwise - see the last section.

Did White Bones inspire you to do anything?

Be very careful about reading, or listening to, anything by this author.

Any additional comments?

The only reason why I stayed with this book was the reading by Caroline Lennon. If it had been read badly, I would have given up upon it. Ms Lennon's skill lay in her ability to create her own tension by avoiding histrionics. Diction was good, pacing was excellent and she created tension by, at times, an almost matter of fact reading, detached might be better, which allowed the story to unfold naturally. I don't mean to suggest that it was flat and uninvolved, anything but. The real skill lies in creating tension, holding the listeners attention, in a seemingly effortless, understated, way. That takes real talent.

A brilliant reading.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Jill Murray
  • 04-04-16

Not for the faint hearted!

An excellent read but not for the faint hearted as it is nauseatingly gory at times. Really had me hooked and this is not my usual choice of book.
However, i think the end was a touch inconclusive.
Potentially leaving leeway for a second Kate Maguire novel?

14 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Petra
  • 02-09-16

Sinister thriller not for the faint-hearted

White Bones introduces Detective Katie Maguire. When the bones of 11 women are found on an isolated farm in County Cork in Ireland, Katie is initially told to drop the case as the deaths date back to 1915. But then a young American tourist goes missing and her body turns up on the same farm.
I've been hesitant for a while now to start this series because of the mixed reviews and mentions of 'supernatural', but it turned out to be a really solid Irish crime procedural and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The plot centers around old Irish folklore/myths rather than the paranormal elements I was expecting and that added a really interesting aspect to the story. Mr. Masterton has previously written horror novels and while this certainly shines through, I didn't find any of the details overly gory, but I think more sensitive readers may.
The author also provides plenty of background on the main character of Katie Maguire. By the end of the book, you really feel you have a good picture of her as a person. She has to work hard as a female in a very conservative, male dominated environment and her personal life is under scrutiny which isn't helping her marriage.
The audiobook narration was done really well, and I appreciate that the narrator must have had a very difficult time switching from characters with Irish dialect to American accents. I loved the Irish lilt, the American accent felt a bit off (sorry).
If you enjoy rather sinister thrillers in an Irish setting and would like to explore some Irish history and Celtic mythology, I would definitely recommend White Bones.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Juliet
  • 04-11-16

Gruesome

This was just about the most gruesome book I have listened to. I hadn't read any Graham Masterton before and don't know if they are all like this. I could have done with a warning but having said that I did listen on to the end as it was compelling !

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen L
  • 03-28-16

Gruesome murders in rainy Ireland

If you could sum up White Bones in three words, what would they be?

Gruesome - rainy - Ireland

Would you be willing to try another book from Graham Masterton? Why or why not?

I'm not sure. I really struggled with the detail of the murders.

Did Caroline Lennon do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

Yes but I got a bit lost with the secondary characters of husband Paul and his dodgy dealings. I liked the relationship between the lead character and her dad, that was touching.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Couldn't. You couldn't eat your tea and listen to bits of this. You couldn't just turn off and go to sleep. I had to pace myself with this one!

Any additional comments?

I didn't fully get some of the plot & wondered if it was a bit flawed - I don't want to give it away to anyone who hasn't read the book but there did appear to be a few holes in the ending.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. S. E. Bellwood
  • 03-06-15

Scary but captured my interest

Bordering on the supernatural, this story kept me enthralled on a few dog walks! It was believable even though I don't hold with such nonsense! Quite horrific but tantalised me to try anticipate the ending. Super narration

7 people found this helpful

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  • sarahmoose2000
  • 07-31-13

Chilling

It's hard to categorise this as it falls into quite a few genres. Although there are supernatural elements to it, they actually feel real, if you know what I mean? If you believe in mythical tales, then you will find yourself justified, is what I'm probably getting at.

A son returns to his Irish home-farm to become the tenant when his dad dies. He's only just started work when he unearths eleven skeletons. The police are torn between possible troubles deaths or local folklore.

Quite gruesome in bits and for me an out loud, "Oh no!" moment two-thirds of the way through! Enjoy.

7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Odilon
  • 11-10-13

Quite gory and only alright as a read

Many here have criticised the narrator's rendition of this. I have to say that it's not the greatest, nor is it the worst. I find her voice very hard and agressive during the narration - and I can't work out why it should be. Her accents leave a good bit to be desired if one wanted authentic "Cork" accents but then again, how realistic is that?
So, what annoyed me more in this book (presuming you've no problems with gore) is the actual story. I find pretty unlikely that a lad who grew up in rural Ireland wouldn't know what Hurling is. After all he's come back to take over the family farm which his mother still lives on - so we're presuming he didn't go to the States as a two year-old. As for labradors whacking radiators with their tails like a Bodhran drum - pleeeaaaaase Angela Landsbury come back, all is forgiven - yep, it gives me that same cheesy pseudo Irish feeling! Those are just two examples that struck me early on. I then stopped trying to note them lest I give up on the book.
On the whole there's just something missing here. There's gore which isn't really necessary, the book doesn't even give me chills in the way some which don't have any obvious gore do, but mainly, the story is shallow and the characters hard to warm to because they're just not deep enough... everyone is somehow brushed over and lacking in authenticity. I also find quite strange the author feels necessary to mention the Detective Garda's gun so many times (unless it's going to play a role later?) as, although some Detective Garda do carry weapons, Ireland is not exactly New York.
It's not a bad book, but it's not that great either. (This was written when half way through and yes, I'm interested enough to keep going but probably wouldn't seek out this author again).

6 people found this helpful

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  • Shirley
  • 04-14-17

Gripping

A great read for those who like explicit violence. A little too gut churning for me however I was intrigued as to who would commit such a heinous crime and their reasons for it. I am torn between reading another ( see reviews for next books in series) or letting this be a great stand alone experience.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-24-16

White bones

Gruesome but good. enjoyable. Unique story, well narrated. Will read more from this author and listen to other stories narrated by Caroline Lennon. Great combination.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Richard
  • 03-18-16

Enjoyed thoroughly

Very enjoyable. Read some. Listened to most of it. Great natration. looking forward to hearing the next one.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lovelovebooks
  • 09-25-22

Dark, grissly interesting

I wasn’t sure about this book having read previous reviews. There were times when I skipped past the graphic violence as I couldn’t stomach it but I so enjoyed the character of Katie McGuire and her personal story. I will definitely read the next book in the series.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-20-22

Fantastic until the intersex/transphobic ending

I enjoyed this book until the last chapter or two.
There was some gross language from the killer but I assumed it was to highlight just how deranged he really was.
It wasn’t until the final reveal that I started to think that maybe the author is just bigoted.
The reveal that villain is in fact intersex was disappointing. Intersex people have been villainized throughout history and this book simply perpetuates those harmful ideologies.

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  • Diane
  • 08-30-22

Good Irish mystery

Intriguing story, good characters, gruesome details at times, but a really different storyline. Well read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Niall
  • 08-29-22

Great story & narration

A very enjoyable listen that had me riveted til the end. It has a nice sense of place too.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-21-22

gruesome but it kept me hooked

This was a rollicking tale, a good female main character.
there is some suspension of belief required, and some decisions and thinking that is just not logical or normal in light of the other things going on.
BUT, overall it is full of suspense, fast moving, atmospheric and I was compelled to keep listening.
Good narrator
I skipped the gruesome scenes as they really are excruciating.

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  • Fiona
  • 08-19-22

Utterly brilliant

Clever, interesting and what a stomach churning yarn. I loved it. I do hope someone makes a film…. Off to buy his other books

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Catherine
  • 08-18-22

Shame about the incredible bigotry at the end

I really enjoyed this book, admittedly I had to skip through some of the goriest bits and the conclusion was a total surprise - mostly because it was so deeply offensive and bigoted. I had to check to see when this book was written assuming it was from the 80s or 90s but no!