Per­sons, a hard­boiled Lon­don gumshoe, turns out to have a soft spot for kids and ‘skirts’ and finally takes on the case. In a qui­etly har­row­ing scene, he inter­views McKinsey’s indif­fer­ent boss, who acknowl­edges the man is a men­ace but shrugs it off, say­ing “I’ve met worse than him.” After stak­ing out McKinsey’s house (while Down­ton Abbey plays on t.v. and McKinsey’s wife and chil­dren cower in another room), Per­sons dis­cov­ers the step­fa­ther poses a threat far greater than he imag­ined, one that could endan­ger all Lon­don. He has to pull out all his tricks, includ­ing shed­ding his own human form, in order to fight him on any­thing like equal terms.

Ham­mers on Bone is a stun­ning descent into a night­mare unfold­ing against a back­drop of a diverse, work­ing class Lon­don. Khaw throws in a dash of humor, too, as Per­sons, although liv­ing in mod­ern times, likes to fla­vor his speech with lingo from another era that at times ren­ders him both com­i­cal and quaint.

With superb writ­ing and a grip­ping plot, Ham­mers on Bone is an occult thriller not to be missed.

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