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Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  598 ratings  ·  162 reviews
Swine Hill was full of the dead. Their ghosts were thickest near the abandoned downtown, where so many of the town’s hopes had died generation by generation. They lingered in the places that mattered to them, and people avoided those streets, locked those doors, stopped going into those rooms... They could hurt you. Worse, they could change you.

Jane is haunted. Since she w
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Keith Blodgett I haven't read Durst but I have read Pratchett's Mort (no E). There's not a hint of Pratchett's humor but the book is still very much worth reading. .…moreI haven't read Durst but I have read Pratchett's Mort (no E). There's not a hint of Pratchett's humor but the book is still very much worth reading. . . if you like the dark side of things.(less)

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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  598 ratings  ·  162 reviews

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Sci-Fi & Scary
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones is an undeniably gorgeous book. I was hooked pretty much immediately and basically did everything in my power to make sure I was able to finish it in one reading. (It being Mother’s Day had it’s advantages for once!) I was deeply enamored with Swine Hill, and the downward spiral of this little town as it struggled to survive.

Micah Dean Hicks does a great job with atmosphere. The hopelessness and despair that hangs over Swine Hill is so thick and rich it feels li
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
It’s refreshing to run into a genre novel that carves its own path, and that’s what you get with Micah Dean Hicks’ debut Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones. The novel's setting is Swine Hill, a town so saturated with ghosts that literally everyone has at least one haunting them. Jane has a good relationship with her ghost, who feeds her the secrets others hide from the world. Her boyfriend Trigger is haunted by the ghost of his own brother, whom he accidently killed. And her brother Henry’s mad s ...more
The hollow men dragged metal chains and lengths of pipe. Several voices poured from each mouth, the dead shouting over one another to speak. They remembered decades of violence long forgotten, thought of themselves as heroes for bringing it back. They would kill Jane and the pigs, tear down their houses, bring Swine Hill to rubble. They would burn down the world to show that it belonged to them.

This is going to be a hard book to review - it's not often you find something so completely new and b
Schizanthus Nerd
He was different, so people thought anything they did to him was okay.
This was one of the strangest books I’ve ever loved.

Swine Hill is a haunted town, where the dead outnumber the living. Downtown is overrun by ghosts and the main employer is the Pig City meat packing plant.

Most of the people Jane went to school with escaped as soon as they could to start over, but she’s stuck in a dead end job in this dying town. She can’t imagine leaving her parents, younger brother or the ghost girl who
Robin Bonne
Surreal and poignant. Jane, and her brother, Henry, live in a world where people can be haunted. Henry’s ghost is a sort of engineer/scientist that possesses him and uses his body to work on building and making his projects. He works at the pig slaughtering facility and creates a new race of sentient pig men. This causes tension in the town as the townsfolk are afraid of losing their jobs.

Although this is a surreal setting, the emotions that drive the characters feel real. I’ve lived in dying t
Thomas Wagner
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Usually, when horror fiction wants to portray the collapse of society, it goes big, with monumental apocalyptic epics like Stephen King’s The Stand or Robert McCammon’s Swan Song offering up humanity’s last hurrah on a Biblical scale. But the reality will probably be a lot less grandiose. Slouching towards armageddon, you might say. In his debut novel, Micah Dean Hicks delivers an ambitious, allegorically rich tale in a tight, 300-page package. On the surface a story about a haunted city, Hicks ...more
Stephanie (That's What She Read)
This is a hard book to rate. There is so much here. If there is one thing that's done well, it's the sense of atmosphere. The characters live in town that's dying and suffocating. They are haunted by literal and figurative ghosts. Our main character, Jane's ghost tells her what people around her are thinking and what their intentions are, while her brother Henry's ghost is a genius that takes him over and keeps him up building machines. There were a lot of big ideas at play in this book: views t ...more
The Captain
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Here be me honest musings. . .

The totally awesome cover is what led me to find out more about this book and the weird premise is what drew me in.  This book takes place in a dying American town called Swine Hill.  The only thing stopping the town from total annihilation is a pork processing plant whose workers have little hope and no resources to start anew.  Economic troubles would be bad enough
This goes way beyond "creative" - this is a bizarro book.

Remember American Horror Story - Asylum, the season set in an insane asylum with a mad Nazi scientist, a serial killer, human experiments gone wrong wandering the forest, alien abduction, angels.... I mean, it was everything AND the kitchen sink. Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones comes off the same way - there's so much going on that nothing gets fully explained/ explored in the story. This book has ghosts, people who can be possessed by m
Elizabeth Tabler
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you would like to read more of my review check out

Swine hill is a place that will hurt your body, wrack your soul at the altar of human selfishness, and destroy you. Imagine living in this place. Imagine working at the store or a packing plant here. Imagine having to share part of your soul with the undead. Hick's characters do, and for a short time, we readers also do.  Hick's has invented a story that is so rife with pain, imagination, and horrors that if you could take t
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
EDIT: I re-listened to this book recently, and I have been fighting with myself over the 4-star/5-star rating. I finally broke down and gave it a full 5 stars because I fell in love with the characters all over again.

Well. That was... an experience...

Characterization: AMAZING - I love the protagonist, I love her brother, and I love the Bleeding Man. (You'll see when you get there) EDIT: Having re-listened to this book, the characterization is SO amazing that I just HAD to bump the review up to 5
Oct 30, 2020 rated it liked it
this book has such an amazing premise but it slows waaaay down after the first act and never picks up again. like the first third of the book FLEW by and then the never explained alien(?) subplot was introduced and things took a huge turn for the not so good. also – this is personal preference – but i really can't vibe with books written in such a detached third person perspective. it can be used to a wonderful and almost cinematic effect in other cases but here it totally fell flat, esp. since ...more
What a strange book. I would say it started put really strong but ended relatively flat. It was one of those books that could have ended much sooner than it did, and I found myself annoyed at the fact that it just kept GOING. Sometimes it's better to know when to just leave better enough alone, because by the end of the book I felt like things just got chaotic and confusing. ...more
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Weird, creepy, and beautiful.
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
Sep 02, 2019 marked it as other
Recommended to Tucker by: Mariner Books

Many thanks to HMH for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

this cover is hella ugly

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Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review was originally posted on my blog Mad Book Love

There is just so much to unpack with this book, I don't know how I'm going to keep this review a reasonable length. While I can hardly say what it was I expected, I can say with complete certainty that it wasn't what I got. And thank the gods for that! This book wow'd me. WOW'D. Me. Now where to start, where to start...

The cover: in no way appealed to me. If you've read any of my reviews, you know how much I covet covers. Covers are meant
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones by Micah Dean Hicks is a novel that does not conform to any particular genre. It is horror and science fiction and dystonia all in one, and then it is not. But what it is, is wholly original and compelling and a novel not to be missed.

"...Swine Hill was full of the dead. Their ghosts were thickest near the abandoned downtown, where so many of the town’s hopes had died generation by generation. They lingered in the places that mattered to them, and people avoided
Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: publisher-sent
This book was not a typical read for me, but the publisher sent it, and so I read it. I'm glad I did. It was such a creepy story-- a mix of animal farm meets 1984 meets speaker for the dead. It's hard to describe, but it is most simply an allegory of our time-- of the dying small businesses in dying towns, and what it means to be left behind. Do we try to press forward and live our lives in the present and future or do we chose to live in the past with our ghosts? And when someone different trie ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A strange, eerie book. If you're looking to read something different, look no further. ...more
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
The first 140 pages or so flew by, but it became a struggle to finish it. Would not recommend.
Lisa Lynch
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Micah Dean Hicks' literary horror novel Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones is very bizarre.

When we get down to brass tacks, this book is about Jane and Henry, a brother and sister who are just trying to do the right thing and make their world a better place.

The problem is, Jane and Henry live in Swine Hill, a place defined by the slaughterhouse at its center and the ghosts that haunt absolutely everything in the town, especially the residents. Jane and Henry themselves are haunted. Jane's ghost r
Tori Gross
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was a little skeptical of Henry's creation, but I think this book was just what the doctor ordered. I cried for about the last ten chapters. Well done, Mr. Hicks. Well done. ...more
John McKillip
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Not bad. Not scary at all. A decently interesting read in my opinion. I lost interest towards the middle and had to force myself to come back to it. I'm glad I read it. ...more
Matthew Galloway
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a hard novel to categorize as anything more that "great!" It's definitely in the speculative fiction realm. There are ghosts and some pretty horrifying things that go on... But I don't know that it is really a horror plot (though I am probably in the minority on that, seeing as how many people on Goodreads have shelved it as horror). There's also kind of some magic with the possessions and there is some superscience. There's a lot going on here, but at the core it's mostly about a fractu ...more
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had to think hard about whether to rate this four or five stars, starting on four and eventually settling on five. In the end, how could I not give it the full five? It was my nomination for horror book of the year 2019 (admittedly I've only read two horrors so far), and I absolutely devoured this ghostly glory in the course of a few days.

I was hooked from the beginning, the pages flying past as if under the control of a poltergeist, as the town of Swine Hill seemed to build itself around me.
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
First off, let me start by saying that this book is unique. It will mess with your mind and not in a good way. However, this translate to a book that you must read. If you are a fan of horror books than you will want to pick up a copy today.

This is a family affair. Jane and her brother, Henry were not just the only ones trying to battle the evilness that encroaches on their town. While, I did find Jane to be strong; she was not the only strong female character in this story. Bethany kicked some
Feb 19, 2019 added it
Shelves: horror
Oh. Kay. You guys, this book is so strange, but also so good? I've seriously never read anything like it. It's sort of like a combination of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle x Animal Farm x Frankenstein + ghosts. It's dark and horrific, ghosts litter the streets and have followed people for years. It's super atmospheric, and while horror isn't typically my favorite genre, I sort of couldn't stop reading this. I don't think I can say very much without starting to give things away, but at heart it's a ...more
Tamara Edmond
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book yo! This book! This was literally one of the most haunting wtf, seriously wtf am I reading stories I’ve read. You literally feel the despair, grief and misery oozing from the pages. The prose and imagery is stunning and by the end of the book I felt a kind of sadness. It wasn’t sadness where It was too depressing to read but, this quirky tale gave me emotions. It’s not going to be for everyone but it was definitely an interesting different read for sure!
Michael Norwitz
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
The main character, Jane, lives in Swine Hill, a small Midwest town where a normal life has become almost impossible due to the omnipresence of hauntings. Some clever moments but the weirdness piles on top of more weirdness and by the end I'd gotten a bit tired of it all. ...more
Bryan Camp
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
All the creeping dread of one of Stephen King's novels about a small town cannibalizing itself combined with the poetic and resonant weirdness of Vandermeer's . . . well . . . weirdness. Wondrous, dark, and deep. Really looking forward to his next novel. ...more
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