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The Bone Parade

The Bone Parade

4.1 20
by Mark Nykanen

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Ashley Stassler is not your average artist. He has been wildly praised for a series of bronze sculptures that group families together, depicting them in moments of excruciating physical and emotional pain—but the art world has no clue as to how he creates such authentic, gruesome, seemingly tortured human representations. He assigns each family a number, and


Ashley Stassler is not your average artist. He has been wildly praised for a series of bronze sculptures that group families together, depicting them in moments of excruciating physical and emotional pain—but the art world has no clue as to how he creates such authentic, gruesome, seemingly tortured human representations. He assigns each family a number, and now he's up to number nine. What's in store for family #9? Cruelty and savagery that you can't even imagine . . .

The Bone Parade introduces a villain who is as methodical, calculating, and detached as any found in the best fiction. It's gripping. It's chilling. You might be too afraid to read on, but you'll never be able to tear your eyes away.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Starred Review
"...irresistible suspense thriller." Ashley Stassler's "...chokehold tale is told from his own crazed mind. Pages bronzed with horror."
"...the novel is deeply unsettling and exciting--a testament to the author's skill as a storyteller."
King Features
...this one is not just chilling, but clever, insightful, and even has an eerily funny serial killer.
Philadelphia Inquirer
Nykanen's . . . killer shines as he feeds off the family's emotional breakdown . . . should satisfy anyone hungry for a clever psychological thriller.
The creepiest page turner since The Silence of the Lambs . . . Smart and scary!
The Toronto Globe and Mail
This novel has so many twists even the most jaded readers will stick with it . . . descriptions are vivid and emotional.
US Weekly
The creepiest page turner since The Silence of the Lambs . . . Smart and scary!
Publishers Weekly
An award-winning former investigative journalist, Nykanen (Hush) falters in his second novel, a gruesome chiller that's an amalgamation of Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs. Ashley Stassler is a world-famous sculptor who abducts and kills entire families (cue the Red Dragon) in order to make the ultimate "art" from their dying flesh (remember Buffalo Bill?), and his ego is even bigger than his reputation ("I expect I'll not only be forgiven but I'll be more sought after than ever before. There'll be rock bands named Stassler, and my sculpture will sell for several times its original price"). Nykanen's spin on these Thomas Harris tropes gives the killer his own first-person POV and one of his latest victims a particularly disturbing case of Stockholm syndrome ("I clamp my hand over her mouth.... And then-I don't believe it-she slips her tongue against my fingers. What a wench.... I love her"). In a lackluster subplot, a junior art professor named Lauren Reed learns that her most promising student has gone missing during an internship at Stassler's Utah ranch. The connection is a hunky reporter named Ry Chambers, who interviews Lauren as well as Stassler. Nykanen loads up his tale with plenty of voyeuristic sadism on Stassler's end, while the predictable trysting between Lauren and Ry is all gushy romance ("her mouth opened as readily as leaves in the desert to an early morning mist"). Fans of Harris and other dark thriller writers may eat this one up, but no amount of good details or spine-tingling descriptions can replace original plotting and characters. Agent, Luke Janklow. (Feb.) Forecast: Despite its flaws, this has impulse-buy potential: Nykanen's grisly scenarios leap off the page and will likely hook browsers. Though its shock value may not translate into staying power, early sales could be lively. Author tour. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Nykanen's second novel (after the Edgar Award-winning Hush) opens as Ashley Stassler, a world-famous sculptor, is kidnapping a family of four destined to become his new offering to the art world. Using alginate-that icky stuff dentists use to make impressions of teeth-Stassler covers his victims to make a skin from which he can cast his bronze figures. (The people die during the process, but they, in Stassler's estimation, should be flattered that he's using them as a medium.) This is the ninth family that he has captured but not a typical one: he soon finds that the teenaged daughter is a budding sociopath like him. At the same time, Laureen Reed, a professor of art, has sent her most promising student, Kerry Waters, to Stassler as an intern. When Kerry disappears, Reed searches for her. Despite the allusions to Thomas Harris's Red Dragon, the characters here are underdeveloped and the plot predictable. By the end, the story takes off, but, of course, it's too late. For larger fiction collections and readers possessing strong stomachs.-Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Detestable, far from stylish, but irresistible suspense thriller, with no shortage of the grisly and ghastly. Nykanen, an award-winning ex-investigative reporter for NBC News, debuted with the fiendish Hush (1998), a story that turned on the theme of art therapy to overcome childhood autism and delighted in a sexual psychopath for whom murder was the lighter side of his joys. His second outing, however, is not easy to describe without giving away some of the better plot points that sell the work. Even so, most readers will foresee its gripping climactic episodes far, far ahead-there's only so much you can do with a heroine in distress on the desert. Outstanding is Nykanen's deep look into modern sculpture, which gives the story its weight, relish and richness. World-famous Ashley Stassler, the greatest living sculptor, is best known for his bronze groupings of figures in abject horror. He's working on his ninth grouping, which features the Vandersons, a family he kidnapped: slack-bodied Roger; shapely June; their sexually haughty teenaged daughter; and young Sonny-Boy. The Vandersons are cast in dental alginate and then turned into naked bronze figures straining to escape the oncoming and certain death flooding over them. How do they get so strained, with such definition of muscle and vein? Well, kidnapper Ashley puts the caged family on diets, then on strenuous workouts with barbells and exerciser bikes, while feeding them excellent fare. All we've left out in this description of the artist's working method is the sheer artistry he brings to pumping up the Vandersons' terror, which lends even greater definition to their tortured musculature. Meanwhile, the earlier families he's kidnappedand cast have been coated with lime, reduced to skeletons, and set up in a private parade of bones. Let us say that even this is the lighter side of Ashley Stassler, much of whose chokehold tale is told from within his own crazed mind. Pages bronzed with horror. Agent: Luke Janklow/Janklow & Nesbit

Product Details

Hachette Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

"They moved here from Pennsylvania. Harrisburg to be precise. Public records are extraordinarily revealing. I always use them. I simply don't want a family that's moved from one side of town to the other or from two streets over. Better they've made a big move, far from those who know them or might miss them in an hour, and evening, or on the day that follows. Give me a day and I'm gone for good. And so are they..."

What People are Saying About This

Ridley Pearson
Ridley Pearson, New York Times bestselling author
Artful and well written, the complex, macabre tale The Bone Parade, will leave the reader frozen in his chair."

Meet the Author

Mark Nykanen won four Emmys and an Edgar Award in his last four years at NBC News, where he worked as an on-camera investigative reporter. Nykanen has been an award-winning radio news director and talk show host at KDKB Radio in Phoenix, as well as a public television reporter and news anchor in Arizona. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Bone Parade 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
MissLisa002 More than 1 year ago
An excellent read! If you like pyschological thrillers, you will enjoy this book. The author really gets you into the plot. I had such a hard time putting this book down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My father in law who is an avid reader, picked up Bone Parade on his weekly trip to Barnes and Noble. He has since passed it on to me and it was so thrilling and gross at the same time that I could not put it down. It has traveled through our family and has been a constant source of conversation!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best twisted thrilled I've read
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is FANTASTICALLY twisted. Pure Brilliance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Non-stop action thriller that has you enthralled from beginning to end! So chilling but i could not stop reading it! Will not answer my doorbell again without serious trepidation.
fairygrandmother More than 1 year ago
Faced paced psychological thriller...can't put it down..it's like peeking through your fingers at a scary movie..you don't want to know but you really do want to know whats going on...don't forget to breathe
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best written books I have read in awhile. I think I may have found a new favorite writer! This is definatly a must have read for the fiction fan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a truly excellent horror story, with the lead character as creepy as they come! I loved it! Scary, exciting, and even sexy, it's a real satisfying story! If you love a great thriller--READ THIS ONE! You won't be sorry!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just loved this book. I've been reading horror novels for the last 20 years and haven't been this knocked over by a book in a very long time. I read the whole book in 2 days. Mark Nykanen is a true dark horror writer, and has given me hope since the passing of my next favorite author, the late great Richard Laymon. Mr. Nykanen gives such spine tingling descriptions of the most torturous, achingly painful and fear-inducing physical and mental trials, I actually felt some of the victim's fear. Your heart actually speeds up in time with the characters¿ tensions and fears, his writing is that crisp. His villain is suave, intelligent, and very much an everyday person on the outside-always the best 'monster' in books, for real people are indeed the scariest monsters of all. Great analogies between perception and reality in art and life, fantastic sexual imagery, and some true surprises and twists I couldn't have predicted. Do yourself a favor, if you're seeking a real creepy trip into a world so bizarre it seems real, buy this book. It is one of the best I've read in years. His other book 'Hush' is also incredible, with one of the cruelest psychopaths ever invented.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Bone Parade' takes the art of the thriller to a whole new level. The sexual tension that Nykanen creates with his deranged protagonist is frighteningly real. As a reader I found myself sickly attracted to the main character --turned on by what he was doing. Perhaps I too fell prey to his psycho spell! I was excited to read this new work by Nykanen. His first book 'Hush' was a page turner that scared me to death. Unlike 'Hush' which leaves you double locking your doors--afraid of the boogie man outside, 'Bone Parade' made me scared of my own inner thoughts. A real accomplishment .
Guest More than 1 year ago
This page-turner isn't just a normal thriller; it's also beautifully written, graceful and even eloquent. Yet at the same time it's filled with the hilarious black humor of its complicated and deeply disturbed protagonist. An unusally fine and textured novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very interesting book. The beginning just draws you in like on a rope and you cannot put the book down, but a little more than halfway through, it becomes too predictable and descends into just an ordinary suspense thriller. Overall, recommended for its intrigue and the 'very' compelling beginning.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I borrowed an advanced copy of this title from a friend after reading the back and thought it sounded wonderful. I was sort of right. I'm going to be honest, it wasn't an excellent book. I gave it 3.5 stars only because I had to add in the creep factor for how disturbing it was (which made it compelling). I overall felt robbed, it was headed in a great direction, but the ending was totally predictable and hollywood-esque. The disturbing parts make you wonder what Mark Nykanen is like but you marvel at how well written they are versus the lame ending. Worth borrowing from a friend but think before buying.