Harper Collins, £16.99
Having just purchased a new home in Leeds, ex football player and rising radio star Matt Harper, is horrified to find a skeleton of a small child in the attic. His grisly discovery takes him back to the Summer of 1969, when he lived with his aunt just a few streets away, reawakening distant disturbing memories of the past.
As the police mount a nominal investigation into the skeleton, which is over 30 years old, Matt decides to start investigating himself. One by one he tracks down the other members of the gang of children he played with. But he is met by a stony silence born from a childhood pact that no one has ever broken. The deeper he probes the more disquieting things get.
Everyone admits to remembering Lily Fitch's meetings with her older "friend", and the hippie couple's baby that she wanted to rescue, but nobody seems to remember what actually happened that day. Is the skeleton the result of an unfortunate accident or did something more sinister play a part in the child's death?
'The Bones in the Attic' is a somewhat disturbing tale of childhood dilemmas. Many of us have buried childhood secrets - just not usually as horrifying as this. Barnard's portrayal of Matt Harper rekindling old memories and delving deeper into his past is well thought out and well portrayed. The plot might lead the more cynical reader to question why a disk jockey would take it up on himself to investigate a child's murder, but overall this is an enjoyable read.