Posted in All Book Reviews

A thriller that checks all the points: A Review of The Bone Jar by S.W. Kane

A big thanks to NetGalley for a copy of The Bone Jar by S.W. Kane. A thriller with the perfect setting – old, abandoned mental institution, frozen river, the harsh winter months – The Bone Jar was an interesting read that is reminiscent of the works of two authors whose works I’ve loved – Tim Weaver and Tony Parsons. Read on for more deets!


Crime Thriller, Mystery


328 pages


Blackwater Asylum, located on the banks of the Thames, has been shut for years. A popular destination for urban explorers, the old asylum is known for its rumored psychological experiments and other horrors, as well as its continued haunting. When an old woman is found dead in one of the asylum rooms, it is up to Detective Lew Kirby to find out why someone murdered a fragile, elderly woman and took the trouble of staging her body at the asylum. With the help of urban explorer, Connie Darke, who has a personal connection to the site, Kirby goes looking for answers, only to find another body in the river. Kirby is faced with more questions than answers as he attempts to build the connection between both deaths, receives information from an old patient whose sanity is still questionable, and finds his personal life falling apart around him. Will Kirby find the answers he’s looking for before someone else dies?

Overall Rating:

8 out of 10


8 out of 10


8 out of 10

Primary Element:

9 out of 10 for its mystery; 7 out of 10 for its thrill factor

Writing Style:

8 out of 10

Part of a Series: 

Yes. This is the first book in the Detective Lew Kirby series.

Highlighted Takeaway:

The setting. S.W. Kane, according to her bio, is fascinated with “urban exploration and crime set in cold places”. She brings both these elements together really well, creating a setting that pulls you right in. Her descriptive narrative adds a whole new level to every scene and every event that takes place.

What I Liked:

I found the characterization really strong – S.W. Kane has created well-woven, complicated people that stand their own with every action and sentence. This is especially true for Detective Lew Kirby who is shown to be a quintessential good guy at his core, but with enough shades of gray to make him seem real and relatable.

What I Didn’t Like:

There was really not much to dislike in the book.

Who Should Read It:

Anyone who enjoys a good thriller or mystery. If you liked Simon Beckett’s Written in Bone (check out its review here), Tim Weaver’s The Dead Tracks (read its review here), and/or Tony Parson’s The Slaughter Man (yep, I reviewed that too and you can read that here), you’ll like S.W. Kane’s The Bone Jar.

Who Should Avoid:

Anyone who does not enjoy thrillers, especially those that tend to have a bit of a macabre setting and outlook.

Read It For:

The pace, and its ability to pull you in from the first page and not let you go until you’re done. For me, this was the start of another series that I’d definitely like to follow.

Get your paperback copy of The Bone Jar here, or get the audio book (CD-Audio) here.

Got some thoughts on The Bone Jar? Share them in the comments below, along with recommendations and suggestions of books that you think are a must-read.

Not a fan of mystery? How about some new sci-fi? Or a classic? Or a legal thriller? Here are some recommendations:

  • Sci-fi – Obscura by Joe Hart (find its review here)
  • Classic – 20000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (find its review here)
  • Legal thriller (with a healthy touch of social awareness) – A Time to Kill by John Grisham (find its review here)

Happy Reading!

And, as always, thanks for stopping by The Book Review Station.

This post contains affiliate links. The Book Review Station may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use these links to purchase books. Thanks!

– Rishika



Author and Book Lover

One thought on “A thriller that checks all the points: A Review of The Bone Jar by S.W. Kane

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