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Bone Machine
UK eBook
Bone Machine


Joe Donovan Book 2

The body is discovered in a disused burial ground. A young woman, ritualistically mutilated, her eyes and mouth crudely sewn shut. Her boyfriend is arrested and charged with the murder.

He might have a vicious temper and a history of violence towards women, but is Michael Nell really a killer? Michael's lawyer doesn't think so. She's hired Joe Donovan to prove his alibi.

Donovan's investigations lead him into the murky world of people trafficking and illegal prostitution. But when the second body shows up, he realises it's not just local gangsters he's up against - but a deranged serial killer. A killer obsessed with the city's dark history. A killer who leaves clues pointing to his twisted plan. And if Donovan and his team can't decipher those messages in time, a killer who will kill again.


I wanted to write a book that asked questions about cities. How their history informs the present, what part the inhabitants play, are the same things repeated in the same places over the centuries . . . that kind of thing. The publishers wanted a serial killer book. The challenge was to see if I could do it without glamorising the killer, fetishizing his methods or turning the whole exercise into violent torture porn - my sympathies are, and always will be, with the victim - and also incorporating the city itself. The sexual slavery trade was also getting headlines at the time but the scale of operations wasn't getting the serious coverage I thought it should. And that was making me angry. And of course Joe Donovan is still on a quest to find his son. What if I combined all this together?

I did. The result was BONE MACHINE.

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Bone Machine
UK Paperback


'A whiplash plot combined with contemporary issues results in that rarest of feats: a blockbuster with soul.'
   —Cathi Unsworth, The Guardian

'The book ends with a real punch of a cliffhanger ensuring that readers will want to return for the next instalment.'

'Waites' novel is rich in quirky characterisation, using popular culture to breathe life into his antiquated archetypes in a simplistic yet effective fashion. A highly entertaining, shamefully addictive read.'
   —The Crack

'A grisly crime thriller in which Waites' no-nonsense cop, Joe Donovan, investigates hookers, gangsters and corpses with sewn-up mouths. Granny wouldn't be impressed. We are.'

Pocket Books, UK paperback, January 2007, ISBN: 9781416502234
Pegasus, US hardcover, November 2007, ISBN: 9781933648354
Pegasus, US paperback, August 2009, ISBN: 9781605980539