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Quiet in Her Bones

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In this gripping thriller set in New Zealand, New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh takes you into the twisted world of an exclusive cul-de-sac located on the edge of a sprawling forest.

My mother vanished ten years ago.
So did a quarter of a million dollars in cash.
Thief. Bitch. Criminal.
Now, she's back.
Her bones clothed in scarlet silk.

When socialite Nina Rai disappeared without a trace, everyone wrote it off as another trophy wife tired of her wealthy husband. But now her bones have turned up in the shadowed green of the forest that surrounds her elite neighborhood, a haven of privilege and secrets that's housed the same influential families for decades.

The rich live here, along with those whose job it is to make their lives easier. And somebody knows what happened to Nina one rainy night ten years ago. Her son Aarav heard a chilling scream that night, and he's determined to uncover the ugly truth that lives beneath the moneyed elegance...but no one is ready for the murderous secrets about to crawl out of the dark.

Even the dead aren't allowed to break the rules in this cul-de-sac.

374 pages, Hardcover

First published February 23, 2021

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About the author

Nalini Singh

229 books24.5k followers
I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,006 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,069 reviews38.2k followers
November 28, 2021
Okay! This is good! This is fascinatingly riveting, twisty, mind spinning!

Unreliable, young, billionaire, fogged minded, broken 26 years old hero who had unhealthy relationship with his mother: the same woman: socialite Nina Rai disappeared with millions a decade ago and now her corpse has been found in the woods. The same clothes she wears the day she had disappeared! That means she never left her family! She had been brutally murdered.

And only person in the family who is dying to find the truth is her traumatized son, our tormented hero Aarav Rai: walking with his crutches : after the accident he survived from medical induced coma. He’s also recovering alcoholic, talking to his loyal shrink about his childhood traumas, dysfunctional mother and son relations with Oedipus complex vibes.

Nina was not an angel. She was drunk, cheater, blackmailer. She was vicious, passionate, voracious! But she was also loyal to her loved ones, doing everything to protect them. She wasn’t an exemplary great mother but you cannot deny her true love for her son.

Everyone has motives to kill her. Anyone can be perpetrator! Cul de sac neighbors Aarav knows for years give him suspicious vibes. All of them can have motives. As I told you: Nina wasn’t the kindest decent human being you can mourn after her loss. Even her douchebag, cheating husband didn’t waste any time to divorce her after the sudden disappearance and found a new loyal, ideal wife, step daughter to build a respectful family for public disapproval.

Aarav grew up without a mother, waiting for her come back for a decade. His inner turmoil, guilt, anger, resentment made him a great thriller author. With only one smashing hit novel, he already became a millionaire thanks to his nonstop royalty checks.

But now he’s obsessed to solve his mother’s case, physically and mentally incapable, consuming sugar products and gallons of Coke ( I wish he preferred real coke: Mexican one!!) , suffering from short term memory loss, dizziness, forgetting his appointments with his psychiatrist!

He finds his legs covered with dirt in the mornings as if he’s taken a walk at Pet Sematary! He confuses things and as we read the parts of his seances with his psychiatrist, we start to wonder if he could be a real psychopath!

Anyone could be the murderer of his mother. His father, his cul de sac neighbors including her ex best friends, lovers, the guy she blackmailed! Also Aarav can be the one who brutally murdered her! He needs to dig more to find the truth. But more he digs, more he starts to fight with his delusional mind. It seems like his story has no happy ending!

I’m giving 4.5 stars and rounding them up! The ending was a little predictable but it was still well executed. I only guessed some parts of it. Entire mystery was more complicated that I expected.

I loved the character analysis of the cul de sac neighborhood. They were well crafted, well depicted, fascinating!

It’s such a great traumatic, psychological thriller which is full of mind games, pushing us hard to differentiate the dreams and realities.

I loved this author and her previous works in fantasy genre. She proved that she can be also hell of an amazing thriller author with this gripping, unputdownable book!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this incredible arc copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
Profile Image for Chelsea *Slowly Catching Up* Humphrey.
1,390 reviews77.2k followers
February 6, 2021
This is a tough book for me to review, because I felt like the meat of the story was really well done and the writing was beautiful, but the pacing was a bit off for me. The inclusion of Hindu culture and the atmospheric aspect gave this story an ethereal quality that is very difficult to pull off, but Ms. Singh does it well. The case at hand was both complex and surprising in its reveal to me, which is always an added bonus. Overall, a solid read that I recommend to readers of slow burning mysteries and procedural type crime fiction.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for PamG.
765 reviews432 followers
February 20, 2021
I have seen QUIET IN HER BONES by Nalini Singh referred to as a crime thriller, a domestic thriller and a psychological thriller. I believe it is all of these. Add in a fantastic first two sentences in the novel and a setting in New Zealand and I was immediately hooked. Aarav Rai’s mother Nina disappeared 10 years ago when he was 16. Most thought she was just another wife tired of her wealthy husband. But not Aarav. Now her bones and car have turned up in a nearby forest. Was it an accident or murder or something else entirely?

Aarav is a successful author that never believed his mother would leave him behind if she was truly leaving her husband. He is also a very unreliable narrator who has been in a recent car accident. He’s having memory problems and is seeing a therapist, or is he? He’s definitely a memorable character that I will not soon forget. Since the book is from his point of view, what can the reader believe? What is real? Can he determine what really happened to his mother the night she disappeared? His father certainly doesn’t seem eager to find answers.

As we meet the secondary characters, nearly everyone seems to have a secret and most have a motive to kill Nina. Can Aarav trust anyone other than his half-sister? Their relationship feels like it is the only healthy one in the book. In this book nearly everyone has flaws and very few have virtues that are shown.

The writing gave me a strong sense of the neighborhood where Aarav grew up; which is where he is recovering from his accident. What is really going on in the neighborhood? There are a lot of secrets. While I guessed some of them, others were a surprise. This elite neighborhood is not as ideal and faultless as the residents would have you believe.

As the story line develops, several themes are apparent, including secrets, memory loss, infidelity, love, childhood traumas, unhealthy relationships, alcohol problems, and much more. The introduction of some Hindi words and cultural aspects added to the realism in the book.
Overall, this novel was unsettling and a bit creepy, but also gripping, entertaining and a bit over-the-top. However, it kept me fully engaged. What a dramatic conclusion! The epilogue wrapped up the loose ends and subplots nicely. While this is the first book that I have read by this author, it won’t be the last.

Berkley Publishing Group and Nalini Singh provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for February 23, 2021. This review was originally posted at Mystery and Suspense Magazine.
Profile Image for Liz.
1,917 reviews2,353 followers
September 14, 2021
This mystery takes us to New Zealand and Singh does a fabulous job of putting us in the scene.
Aariv Rai is a successful author at age 26. He’s temporarily back living in his father’s house after he was in a car accident. At age 16, he heard a scream and then his mother’s car driving off. She never returned. Now, her bones have been found in her wrecked car. Aariv decides he can’t rely on the police to find answers and starts his own private investigation.
His family was messed up -there was no love lost between the parents or Aariv for his father. His alcoholic mother had an unnatural attraction to her son. His desire to blame his father for his mother’s disappearance is strong.
It takes a while to realize Aariv is not a reliable narrator. He has memory loss, from both the night of his accident and the night of his mother’s disappearance. He also describes himself as a psychopath. I got a kick that as a change of pace, Aariv is addicted to sugar instead of anything stronger. Snatches from his therapy sessions are interspersed between chapters.
The story kept me engaged. It moved at a brisk pace and there were lots of red herrings thrown up. I was fairly sure I knew what had happened from early on and of course, I was wrong. Singh does a good job of tying it all up at the end.
Raj Varma did a great job as the narrator.
Profile Image for Kay ❦.
1,882 reviews589 followers
May 2, 2021

Quiet in Her Bones started out very promising and I had trouble putting it down. This is a mystery with New Zealand setting. It has Indian and a bit of Maori representation that give uniqueness to the story and easily my favorite area of the book.

Nina Rai had a toxic marriage and after a routine drunken argument, drove away on a rainy night with a quarter million dollars. Her Jaguar and remains were found in a lush steep slope of a regional park after missing for ten years. Her son Aarav, a successful crime author was sixteen at the time and can only remember bits and parts from that night, but suspects foul play.

Ultimately, Quiet in Her Bones didn't quite work for me with its slow burn pace, overwhelming number suspects and clues. Even the protagonist, Aarav is unsure of himself with memory loss, blackouts, and multitude of addictions. The mystery becomes murky and I can't say I care whodunit. The conclusion, a disappointing afterthought. If you like unreliable narrator and huge cast of characters this might be for you.
Profile Image for Rachel Reads Ravenously.
1,789 reviews2,134 followers
April 18, 2021
3 stars

Very brief review because I don’t have a lot of strong feelings about this book. I really liked the concept of this book, and the main character. But the execution was really confusing to me, the pacing was off and the whodunnit seemed to come out of nowhere. I will definitely be reading more by Singh, I love her PNR work.
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books306 followers
January 12, 2022
Arev’s mother disappeared ten years ago. Now her bones have been discovered and Arev is desperate to find out what happened. The thing I adored most about this book was the unique New Zealand setting that the author describes in such great detail (she has such an amazing way of painting the landscapes and countryside with words) and also because the narrator is the most unreliable of unreliable narrators. Arev has recently been in a car accident and suffered a terrible brain injury. He can’t remember what happened last week. He’s going from person to person, trying to piece together what’s been happening to him as he simultaneously searches for clues to what may have happened to his mother. It’s a bit of a thriller crossed with “50 First Dates” and just about everyone in the novel seems guilty.
Profile Image for Mike.
636 reviews51 followers
October 13, 2022
Set in New Zealand, Quiet in her Bones by Nalini Singh is a standalone crime thriller published in 2021. Ten years ago, Nina Rai, a wife of a rich industrialist, vanished without a trace. Her only son, Aarav was awoken that night by a scream, only to see the disappearing rear lights of her car. Now a bestselling author, he has never stopped wondering why she didn’t take him with her. Staying at his childhood house with his father, his stepsister and her mother, Aarav is recovering from a vehicle accident he cannot remember anything about. All the neighbours in the wealthy cul-de-sac have their secrets, as Aarav searches for the truth of what happened that night. Then, his mother’s car is discovered in bushland and Aarav’s brain trauma from his accident is exacerbated by sleepwalking, paranoia and awakening of lost memories. With its easy-flowing narrative and revelation of family secrets, this gentle slow burning mystery is an enjoyable enough tale with a three star rating. As always, the opinions herein are totally my own and freely given.
Profile Image for The Cats’ Mother.
2,009 reviews119 followers
February 19, 2021
Quiet in Her Bones is the second of Singh’s stand-alone New Zealand based thrillers. She’s best known for her two paranormal romance series, so this is something of a departure - I’ve read all of the Psy-Changeling books, gritting my teeth through the steamy romance aspects, because she writes great characters and plots, so I knew this would be much more my thing. I wanted to read A Madness of Sunshine but got declined an ARC and never got round to buying it. Fortunately I was approved for this one, because it’s brilliant.

Aarav Rai is a bestselling novelist who has moved home to his controlling traditionalist father’s luxury home in the upmarket Auckland suburb of Titirangi after a serious injury. Emotionally destitute from the loss of his beloved mother, who disappeared ten years earlier after an argument, Aarav is broken by the discovery of her bones in her car in the dense forest nearby - and when he learns that she was not driving and the police are calling it a homicide, decides to pursue his own investigation, but gaps in his memory and the suspicious behaviour of his neighbours mean he can’t trust anyone... even himself.

This was a beautifully written psychological suspense thriller - that term is overused these days where any book with an unreliable narrator is given that label, but this is the real deal. Aarav is an entitled self-absorbed unfeeling pruck, who labels himself a sociopath, but he adored his beautiful capricious alcoholic mother, and can’t believe he could’ve harmed her. There is a wide cast of possible suspects - this is longer than your average thriller and it meant a lot of characters to keep track of. I loved how ethnically diverse they were - which reflects modern Auckland, and that Singh doesn’t shy away from using Te Reo Maori in the narrative either, because Kiwis do. It’s a cliche, but the menacing Waitakare bush becomes a major character here, threatening our protagonist at various times, covering up past sins and keeping devastating secrets.

The mystery was very cleverly done; I had an inkling of what was going on but still didn’t guess who until the reveal, being led up the wrong garden path a few times. I liked how it was all wrapped up and all the relevant plot threads tidied up satisfactorily. I always like a “book within a book” trope too and wish I could read Aarav’s bestseller “Blood Sacrifice” to find out what the amazing twist was 😹 Some reviewers have complained about the pacing, and I agree it did slow in the middle section, but the final third had me gripped. 4.5 rounded up for the stunning descriptive passages which never get in the way of the plot. I’m definitely going to buy her other thriller now and hopefully will even get around to reading it!
Thanks to NetGalley and Orion Publishing for the ARC which allowed me to give an honest review. Quiet in Her Bones is published on February 25th.
Profile Image for Dianne.
549 reviews882 followers
March 23, 2021
This was a miss for me. Started out in a promising fashion, but too many peripheral characters and random oddly-revealed plot points made a jumble of this tale about a missing socialite, found murdered 10 years later, and her traumatized adult son. The story did not flow well at all.

Things I liked - Singh does a great job with creating atmosphere and describing the lush but claustrophobic New Zealand forest preserve setting. She also concocted a marvelously vibrant and capricious creature in the murder victim through her son’s recollections.

Unfortunately, not enough to save the overall novel for me. 2.5 stars, rounding up to 3 for the reasons given above.
Profile Image for Helen.
2,148 reviews12 followers
December 7, 2022
This was a compelling story for me, it really had my mind jumping from one thought to another, it is set in New Zealand and tells the story of Nina Rai and her son Aarav, Nina went missing ten years ago without a trace and there is 250 million dollars missing, did she run from her toxic marriage and leave her sixteen year old son or was there foul play?

Aarav is now twenty six and a best- selling author living in Auckland but after a car accident he is back in his old home with his father, step-mother and half-sister while he recuperates, then out of the blue a green jaguar with bones is found in the forest five minutes from their home, his mother has been found, now he is determined to find out who killed her.

Aarav is having issues after the car accident and there are many people who could have done this to his mother who live in this wealthy community the cul-de-sac is gated and the occupants are privileged and all have secrets but Aarav is having trouble with his memory but is determined to get the answers to his questions.

Aarav thinks of himself as a psychopath and there seems to be a lot of missing memory from the time he last heard his mother scream that fateful night, his story turns in many directions and leads me and himself on different paths but finally the truth comes out and I was shocked, This is a really good story one that had me turning the pages, I do highly recommend this one, Nalini Singh is a fabulous story teller.
Profile Image for Jeanette.
3,168 reviews541 followers
July 16, 2021
It wasn't gripping at all to me as the trailer states.

Too many characters in long long drawn out psychological angst therapy. The location was well done but still not at all unique. The various mores and ethnic group mixes in this wealthy ambiance started ok. The narrator to me was arrogant and unreliable at best. Not a fun read. The sloppiness toward continuity got so bad in the middle 100 pages that you could skip them and still basically have the very same book.

Not a fan of this writing style even more than the uneven plot progression. Nothing evidential happens until the final 15 pages. Worst pace to conclusion that I have come across this year. Only read this if you are a conceited mentally altered popular best seller writer or would love to sit and moan with him for his unresolved childhood. This was a read for a old workmate (an evaluation toward a list she compiles) and that's the only reason I slogged all the way.
Profile Image for Mara.
1,463 reviews3,553 followers
December 27, 2020
I'm somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars on this, as it has the amazing Nalini Singh writing, characters, & pacing that I adore alongside a set of tropes that are not as much my favorites. If you like a domestic thriller or an unreliable narrator, I think you will really enjoy this one. I was hoping for more of a small town thriller, so this wasn't as much in my wheelhouse, but I did very much enjoy the execution overall. I continue to be impressed with Singh's outings with this genre
Profile Image for Tanja ~ KT Book Reviews .
1,355 reviews174 followers
January 26, 2021
Hang on tight book friends we are jumping right in! With a knock on the door from cops, the mystery has already begun. Quiet in Her Bones is rich storytelling and a phenomenal premise. I was utterly absorbed and transported to New Zealand.

I can smell, see, and taste the forest, the dirt, and the trees. I think that's such an incredible tribute to the author. It's why I am, and will always be, a fan of Nalini Singh. She makes me want to visit this lush vastness of earth filled with scenic views and pounding surf and Black sands.

5 Cola filled stars!!
*ARC provided by the publisher

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Profile Image for Dee.
174 reviews7 followers
February 3, 2022
2 stars for 2 many characters & way 2 long... but enjoyed the NZ setting & culture
September 20, 2022
Nalini Singh’s Quiet In Her Bones is a stellar example of how a book is best left alone without any categories or labels attached to it… You can call it a crime thriller, there’s a murder in there, you can call it a domestic thriller, coz it’s all about dysfunctional families and their screwed-up lives, you can call it a cold case thriller, coz the investigation is about bones discovered after 10 years and then, you can also call it a psychological thriller coz the protagonist Aarav is the least reliable of them all and the narration messes up with your heads…. So there is all this and more in this outstanding work by the author but topping up every other thread in this thriller is the effects of loneliness and betrayal that Aarav feels and then of course the author highlights the disturbing patriarchy prevalent in certain sections of our society.

Quiet in Her Bones is a study of many things but adding some jaw-dropping twists in between the narrative spices up the story brilliantly. Aarav Rai is not a character one would immediately take a liking to, he is in his own words a sociopath, unable to find an emotional connection to anything after growing up in a turbulent household with an alcoholic mother whom he loves immensely. His recollection of events that happened on the dreadful night his mother vanished is not accurate and there are times when the author gets the reader going in circles trying to understand all the people living in the Cul-de-sac and the hidden secrets lying dormant behind many of these doors. As Aarav conducts his own investigation based on his spotty memory, he has no idea what Pandora's box he is gonna unearth.

The atmospheric setting of the novel is another factor that needs to be mentioned, Nalini Singh raises goosebumps with the description of the Waitakere bush that seems to become this looming menace waiting to pounce on you. I loved the relationship between Aarav and his sister Pari, there is a sense of innocence that warms one’s heart in their interactions.

Quiet In Her Bones is not your usual thriller, the pacing is also quiet slow which might be a dampener for many but the reveal of things at the end more than makes up for it as the author leaves the reader with a “jhatka”.

This review is published in my blog Rain'n'Books, ##Goodreads, ##Amazon India, ##Book Bub, ##Medium.com, ##Facebook, ##Twitter.
Profile Image for Kera’s Always Reading.
1,163 reviews38 followers
January 4, 2021
Quiet in Her Bones was a thriller with a promising story but with characters that I simply could not connect with.

Aaray was only a teenager when his mother left with $250,000 in the middle of the night. But 10 years later her body is found in her car in the vast, lushness of the New Zealand forestry in the very same clothing she was last seen in. Now Aaray is a novelist and is absolutely determined to find out who killed her.

This was beautifully written, and I absolutely loved all the cultural history Nalini Singh wrote into this thriller novel, but I was unable to connect with the protagonist. Aaray was at times a very unreliable narrator. He had so many of his own demons to contest with and it took away from his determination.

This book was all about secrets and lies and while I know it would work for so many thriller lovers, it simply did not hit the mark for me. I am quite critical with my thrillers, though. I want to most emphatically express that I found Nalini Singh’s writing style to be fantastic and I will happily read more of her thrillers in the future.
Profile Image for Maria.
471 reviews309 followers
July 12, 2021
Wow, what a roller coaster! This book makes you literally question everything, from who did it to the motives.

Our main character, Aarav, is entirely unreliable, and he makes us question mostly him, but everyone around him and the situations he presents to us. So ya, this was a total mind fuck basically, and I loved it!

Was I impressed by the ending? Not really (which is why I didn’t give this 5 stars). I just was expecting something else, and what really happened just left me feeling “meh”. But this story is worth it, and I truly want to read Nalini Singh’s backlist now.
Profile Image for Kalyn✨.
453 reviews58 followers
July 23, 2021
I wanted to like this, but it was quite underwhelming and boring for a book touted as a "gripping thriller." I enjoyed the location, cultural additions, a few characters (Shanti and Pari, specifically), and the narrator's accent— but that's about it.
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,119 reviews1,326 followers
March 13, 2021
Well, damn! I'm convinced that Nalini Singh has magical abilities because how else can you explain how she excels in every genre she writes? Having loved her suspense debut, A Madness of Sunshine, I was really eager for Quiet in Her Bones. This book was very different from A Madness of Sunshine, but it was still one of the most thrilling reading experiences I've had. I'll try to keep this review as vague as possible because I would hate for anyone who is interested in reading the story to be spoiled.

Ten years ago, Nina Rai, trophy wife of a billionaire, left her home only to never been seen again, leaving behind her young son, Aarav. Now her bones have been found in the forest area surrounding their elite neighborhood, clad only in the clothes she disappeared in. Aarav, now 26, has fuzzy memories of the night, but he is determined to find out if his abusive father was behind his mother's death.

Quiet in Her Bones is told in the 1st person POV of Aarav and wow! What a jarring experience that was! You see he comes across as an unreliable narrator with a chaotic mind as he is not only biased, but his memories were fractured as a result of his post-traumatic stress disorder from his mother's death and his girlfriend's suicide as well as his life-threatening accident that has left him on crutches. Not to mention, the man is also hallucinating. Through the therapy transcripts that the author share, we do begin to form a clearer picture of who Aarav is as a person - smart, arrogant, miserable, and deeply aggrieved - but you're never quite certain about the potential role he may have played in his mother's death. I never truly formed an opinion about his character. There were moments when I sympathized deeply with him as he had gone through the wringer, but there were also times when I was fearful and suspicious of him. Throughout the book, his love and devotion for his mother humanized him in a lot of ways, but it also turns into somewhat of an obsession as he becomes determined to figure out what truly happened that fateful night.

Socialite Nina Rai, though long gone at the time of the book, is an ever-present, living, breathing personality. It's brilliant how we get to know her as intimately as we get to know her son. I wasn't sure what to make of her at first. She seemed like a convoluted woman whose agenda was never quite obvious, but as we learn more about her and her background, it became apparent that this was a woman in an unhappy abusive marriage, but someone who cared deeply about others, particularly Aarav. Honestly, I found her to be admirable for how she handled her gross husband, and for the confidence she exuded. In the end, Nalini Singh made me feel devastated at her passing.

Nalini Singh's mysteries tend to be slower-paced, which I actually like because it gives me the opportunity to scrutinize every character who is introduced into the tale. It also helps to build up to the reveal quite nicely, amping up that tension as the book progresses. The whole book is just very atmospheric and I was definitely flipping through the pages as fast as I could. I was convinced that I knew exactly who the killer was, but the author surprised me with the reveal, so that definitely made the book even more exciting for me.

Anyways, if you can't tell, I had a blast reading Quiet in Her Bones. It's a quiet (ha!) and intense story, and what a riveting tale it is. I can't wait to read more thrillers from Nalini Singh. I will for sure be recommending this one to my suspense-loving friends!

CW: death, murder, suicide, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, statutory rape, depression, accidents, hospitalizations, drug overdose, alcoholism, parental emotional abuse

Relationship disclosure: Nalini Singh and I are mutuals on social media.
Profile Image for Vanessa Menezes.
419 reviews112 followers
February 21, 2021
When socialite Nina Rai disappeared without a trace, everyone wrote it off as another trophy wife tired of her wealthy husband. But now her bones have turned up in the shadowed green of the forest that surrounds her elite neighborhood, a haven of privilege and secrets that's housed the same influential families for decades.

The rich live here, along with those whose job it is to make their lives easier. And somebody knows what happened to Nina one rainy night ten years ago. Her son Aarav heard a chilling scream that night, and he's determined to uncover the ugly truth that lives beneath the moneyed elegance . . . but no one is ready for the murderous secrets about to crawl out of the dark.

This was such an intriguing and engaging read!

It was so well written. Narrated through Aarav’s version, who is definitely troubled by his mother’s disappearance, we follow his journey to find his mother’s killer. There are quiet lot of characters, which was slightly confusing at times because I had to recall who they are and what is their connection to the Rais’ and the plot.

But the entire build up to the ending was amazing. Even though I kept guessing who was the killer, as I always do, I was glad to get it wrong but definitely surprised with who it turned out to be!

Overall, an excellent thriller with a bit of creepiness included. Highly Recommended!

Thank You NetGalley and Orion Publishing Group for this ARC!
Profile Image for Douglas Meeks.
859 reviews231 followers
February 18, 2021
I am a unabashed fan of Nalini Singh but this book was not her best effort. The hero (for lack of a better term) seems to vacillate between brilliant and stupid due to supposed brain injury which leads us to many pages of nothingness and a lot of red herrings because you see everything from his point of view. The book was starting to get boring and repetitive around the 4th chapter and after the 5th chapter I skipped ahead to chapter 45 and the book got really good and I felt like I had missed nothing which says a lot about the pages between chapter 5 and chapter 45 and I read the remaining chapters like it was on fire and loved it. Here is the problem, how do you rate such a story? Those first 5 chapters gave me all the background I really needed to proceed to the 45th chapter. The story from chapter 45 was much more riveting and I could not put it down until the early morning hours. So I am giving it 4 Stars even though I skipped a large portion of the novel because I did not feel like I had missed anything. As a reviewer of 22 years this is something I have done maybe 5-6 times and almost never giving a very good review but there is always an exception to any rule and all I can say is I love it and I can't act like I didn't even with my skipping portions. 4 Stars and have to recommend the story, the manner in which you wish to read it is your choice.
Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
2,965 reviews630 followers
February 22, 2021
An unreliable narrator, a decade old mystery and a cul-de-sac full of suspects, held me captive. It takes a seasoned mystery writer to keep me guessing as to the murderer, and Singh did just that. I felt certain I had this solved, but Singh manged to surprise me.

Laced in the Hindu culture where reputation and appearance is everything we meet Aarav whose family lives in a privilege neighborhood. Their home is nestled in a quiet cul-de-sac that backs up to the woods. It’s a place where the neighbors exchange greetings and keep secrets.

One evening the police arrive and inform Aarav & his Dad that they have found his mother. She is still wearing the clothes she left in and didn’t make it any further than the forest surrounding their neighborhood.

Determined to discover what happened, Aarav interviews neighbors, begins digging into their financials and even questioning his father, but things are off with Aarav. He is taking his meds properly and is having migraines. He even loses time.

I love an unreliable narrator, and the author pulled me right in with Aarav. He is smart, angry and a bit cocky. He also feels at times he is losing control or coming unhinged. He also has memory issues which makes the listener question his thought process and perhaps even wonder if he knows more about what really happened.

Raj Varma narrates, and he brought this tale to life from his rich accent to the questioning, unsure tone he gave Aarav. He provided voices for secondary characters and enhanced the telling. I highly recommend listening as the story lends itself perfectly to this format.

This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer
Profile Image for Kate.
2,047 reviews308 followers
June 24, 2021
This didn't work for me whatsoever. As a huge fan of her two paranormal seriees and I really enjoyed A Madness of Sunshine and I expected something along the lines of that but what I got from what I read was a whole of nothing.

The protagnoist of the book is dull and the build of the plot of introducing all the key players bored to frigging tears. The setting in New Zealand and the background of Aarav and his Indian heritage.

For two days I have tried to finish the book and have been avoiding it. So that pretty much sums this all up for me.

This is me and not the book. I think.
Profile Image for Mackenzie - PhDiva Books.
413 reviews14.4k followers
May 3, 2022
Riveting, dark, and twisted—Nalini Singh’s Quiet in Her Bones is an atmospheric thriller that kept me hooked until the final page.

This is the second book I’ve read now by Nalini Singh and she writes settings like the best in the business. Both books of hers were set in New Zealand. In Quiet in Her Bones, the book is primarily set in a very private, very expensive neighborhood surrounded by thick forest. I pictured the forest having a slightly jungle-like quality compared to the US and I swear I could see all of those shades of vibrant green and the dark shadows where the car crash that starts this book off occurred.

Narrated by the son of missing socialite Nina Rai, Aarav is the epitome of a tortured protagonist. Unreliable narrator, even to himself—Aarav has some serious blocks in his memories as he works through the story to unpack his complicated family dynamics. Singh does an incredible job showing the duality of Aarav’s mother Nina in flashbacks. She was such a complicated character, despite not being present in the story in the current timeline. I felt Nina leapt off of the page, simultaneously glamorous, cold, fiercely loving, needy, and flawed. She was mesmerizing.

Ten years ago wealthy socialite Nina drove off in the night with a quarter of a million dollars and was never heard from again. The theories about Nina were wild, made even the more salacious by knowing the private, secretive, wealthy community she came from. When her car and bones are discovered buried in the forest not far from the house, it’s clear that the wild theories that she escaped her marriage are wrong. Nina never was free.

Someone knows what happened to Nina that night, but in this wealthy community where the members pay for the cloak of privacy designed to keep their secrets, the truth may be buried as deep as her bones were. As the story unfolds, Aarav unpacks repressed memories from that night and from his childhood. Due to an accident, he is living back at his father’s house and it seems he can’t escape the ghosts of his past. But is Aarav truly innocent? Is he a good person? Well, that’s for you to find out!

I enjoyed Aarav as the detective into his mother’s death, particularly since Aarav even seems to be investigating himself. The secrets he learns about his mother, father, and the others of the neighborhood alone are enough to make this story gripping. What truly grabbed me, though, was the enigmatic Nina. She was simultaneously fiercely strong and fragile as spun glass. I felt invested in each new memory of her.

And of course, in a neighborhood like the one in this book, the cast of support characters are just as interesting. The pacing on this was slower but steady, with tension and suspense creeping in around the story until the end. If you like atmospheric mysteries with complex characters, this one is for you!
Profile Image for Marnie  (Enchanted Bibliophile).
794 reviews119 followers
December 21, 2022
“Funny the things you saw when no one knew you could see them.”

New Zealand

Doing an alphabet challenge I needed a book with Q and this one was on my e-library for quite a while, so I thought why not.

To start with I’m not a fan of unreliable narrators. But some time in the past, something about this book made me add it to my TBR, but for the live of me I couldn’t figure out what it was.
Nevertheless, I did enjoyed the unique New Zealand setting, the Hindu culture, and the atmospheric writing in this one.
Profile Image for AlwaysV.
468 reviews
March 22, 2021
Loved this book so much. Five Exquisitely-Written Stars. I read it through the night. Just couldn't put this thriller down. Loved the creepy Waitākere Ranges Regional Park as a prefect crime scene. Loved this totally complicated thriller.

As a lover of the Impressionists ~ especially Monet, reading this mystery felt like walking into one of his masterpieces~ so I needed to move out ~ way way back out ~ so I could focus ~The story was a dreamscape of haunting colors & illusive subjects~ All hazy & insubstantial ~ & I was lost & captivated ~ yearned for some answers ~ while feeling awestruck & speechless.

I was drowning in Aarav's narration. He was definitely one of the most complex/confusing heroes~ yet~ an unreliable narrator. His memory lost didn't allow me to see what was real or what was his hallucination. As for his murdered mom, she was even more confusing & complex. Most of what I learned of her through his loving son's memories were often creepy. But it was clear she did her best to be the best mom to him ~ the best way she knew how. His flashback of her was superbly done! It flowed seamlessly into his present moment.

Was I able to solve the murder? Sadly ~ no. Aarav's abusive father was an obvious suspect, so I knew he didn't do it. It was tough when Nina Parvati Rai was practically a bitch in life. She was cruel & careless to the others' feelings. There were more than one suspects to choose from. It was ironic that the one time she did help someone instead of hurting or harming, she paid with her life.

Sharing one of my favorite scenes:

In that halter-neck one-piece yellow swim suit. She was crouched beside me on the beach, our hair damp and our skin glowing.

Her head was lifted in a laugh, no bite or anger in her.

This was who she could've been if Ishaan Rai had been a different man.

"Don't make up stories about me, Ari." Wicked laughter in my ear. "You know I had a craving inside me that nothing could fulfill. Maybe it came from a bachpan of never having enough, but I wanted everything." . . .

This was the mother I'd loved, the mother I wanted to remember.
Profile Image for Laura (Kyahgirl).
2,040 reviews143 followers
April 17, 2021
2.5-3; I liked this book for the most part. Its a real departure for this author, but something about it just didn’t click for me the way some of her other books have. I did like the way the author slowly revealed all the foibles of the people in the neighborhood and the main characters but I found it frustrating too.

Aarav was not really a very likable character and even though I admired his determination to investigate his mother’s death and his own missing memories, I never did warm up to him.

Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,575 reviews1,463 followers
April 8, 2021
Unreliable narrators can be so much fun as a reader. Do you believe them, are they just a mess and can’t be trusted?

Aarav is stuck in his familial home after an accident where he broke his foot and hit his head pretty hard. To say Aarav has some mommy issues is an understatement. His mother was a beautiful and cruel creature to his father and the people outside her inner circle but she was also a loving mother who just disappeared ten years ago without a trace. Her body is found dead in the car she drove off in and Aarav is ready to dig into the past to figure out what happened to the only woman who really loved him.
“Ten years was a long time for evidence to age and fade. For flesh to disappear. For everyone to forget that Nina Parvati Rai had been a living, breathing woman who'd loved music and cooking and had a mind like a computer.
In another life she could have been a professor.
In this life she'd been a rich man's wife.
Now she was just bones.”

Nalini Singh was able to spin a really good mystery in this. She took a rich community and a very exclusive cul-de-sac and turned all of them into murder suspects as Aarav tries to determine who could have had a role in his mother’s death. Was it the father he hates that only wanted a trophy wife and got a brilliant woman who pushed him every chance she got? Or, one of her lovers or their wives in a fit of panic or jealousy? Could it be one of the women sleeping his father, the kid Nina was blackmailing or did Aarav kill his own mother? There are a lot of suspects for such a small community and Aarav doesn’t trust some of his memories, as a writer with a head injury he isn’t sure if they are his memories or part of a story he was dreaming up.

The mystery itself is very good. Nalini fooled me to the very end. I enjoyed seeing the Hindi culture of both Aarav’s family and most of the community around them. His father is a piece of work but his stepmother and sister were so sweet and the relationship he has with them I enjoyed. It was interesting to be in the PoV of a character who you weren’t sure you could trust and who definitely didn’t trust themselves. Some of the pacing felt just a little off, but that could have been due to our unreliable narrator.

Overall, another really good murder mystery from Nalini Singh.
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