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  • Mandy McHugh

Bone Chase, Weston Ochse: A Review

Not many people know this about me, but when I was a little girl, I was terrified of giants. I dreamed about them storming into my city, bigger than skyscrapers, stomping on cars and coming directly for me. Maybe it was those old Mickey cartoons where they climb the beanstalk, or maybe I've always had an overactive imagination, whatever the case, I was intrigued to read Bone Chase on the premise and fun cover, and was soon lost in a world where giants might've walked the earth.

Ethan is an unemployed math teacher called back to his home town when his father starts ranting about a six-fingered man. After he suddenly dies, he finds a box and a mystery, joins with Shanny, an old girlfriend, and together, they embark on a quest to prove the existence of giants. In truth, I was wary to continue this after the first few chapters. Mysteries were handed to us rather than given rationale or reason. Ethan, a learned educator and man of facts, accepts things because his father left cryptic messages in a box. Without actually knowing anything about said box, he automatically makes wild assumptions and just seems to "know" what he's supposed to do. And the relationship with his ex goes from estranged to I love you in exactly three seconds. But the premise was interesting and I wanted to see where the mystery, even if it was ill-explained and a little outrageously executed, was leading. I'm glad I stuck with it. This was a fun, mindless read that asks a lot of questions without being preachy or dismissive. The inclusion of various texts was interesting, and I especially appreciated Ochse's handling of the translations. As a lifelong English major, I find etymology and translational discrepancies fascinating, and so much of this chase hinged on how words shifted meaning throughout generations, taking into account the people who were writing the texts and their motivations to do so. Ethan's journey makes more sense the deeper into his "mission" he goes, and along the way, we get some pretty insightful discourse on mathematical theory, global religions, PTSD, and friendship. Once I got over my initial disbelief of their relationship, Ethan and Shanny made a pretty good team, and I liked seeing the shifting power dynamics meeting the needs of their current task. Overall, Bone Chase is a fast-paced, fun, lose-yourself read with no short supply of wacky characters and humor to lighten the more serious moments. If I had to make comp titles, I'd say this is Da Vinci Code with a heaping of National Treasure. I'd recommend to anyone who loves mythologically or historically driven mysteries, or anyone who's looking for an escapist text with overarching theological questions. Thank you to Gallery/Saga and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

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