Cutter and Bone

Title: Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg

Author: Newton Thornburg
Title: Cutter and Bone
Publish Date: 1976
Genre: Crime Fiction
Page Length: 480 pages

Cutter and Bone, written by Newton Thornburg, is a captivating crime fiction novel published in 1976. Set against the backdrop of 1970s California, this enthralling story explores themes of disillusionment, justice, and morality. The novel follows the lives of two friends, Cutter and Bone, as they become unexpectedly involved in a dangerous murder case. Thornburg’s renowned ability to craft complex characters and plot twists intrigues readers and provides a thought-provoking narrative.

The story unfolds through various sections, each contributing to the plot’s advancement and character development. The following summary provides a chapter-wise breakdown of the key events, characters, and themes.

Part 1: “Cutter”

Chapter 1:
The novel sets off with Richard Bone, a disillusioned journalist living in Los Angeles. Bone reconnects with his old friend, Alex Cutter, who is now confined to a wheelchair due to a tragic accident. Cutter is cynical and embittered, revealing his deep resentment toward society. They decide to confront Bones’ wealthy attorney girlfriend, Mo, about her alleged involvement in a murder.

Chapter 2:
Bone and Cutter pay a visit to Mo while she is hosting a party. They confront her, but she denies their accusations. However, Bone becomes increasingly convinced of her guilt and starts investigating independently. Meanwhile, Cutter meets Valerie, a young woman with ties to the murder victim.

Part 2: “So Is So”

Chapter 3:
Bone continues his investigation, discovering links between Mo and the murder victim. He infiltrates a party at Mo’s father’s luxurious mansion, gathering more evidence against her. Meanwhile, Cutter develops a close relationship with Valerie and grows more detached from Bone.

Chapter 4:
Valerie reveals her reason for connecting with Cutter – she is seeking revenge against a group of powerful men, including Mo’s father. Bone confronts Mo again, but this time she seduces him, leaving him more confused about her involvement in the murder.

Part 3: “These Chains”

Chapter 5:
Bone discovers Mo’s intimate connection to a wealthy businessman known for his powerful influence. He starts to unravel the intricate web of corruption surrounding the murder victim. Meanwhile, Cutter and Valerie embark on a passionate affair.

Chapter 6:
Bone attends a swanky charity event and attempts to gather more evidence. Infiltrating the elite circles, he realizes the mesh of deceit runs deeper than he initially thought. However, his determination to bring justice only leads him into further danger.

Part 4: “Certain Good Reasons”

Chapter 7:
As Cutter and Valerie’s relationship intensifies, their pursuit of revenge becomes intertwined. While investigating a lead, they encounter an unexpected twist that threatens their plans. Meanwhile, Bone’s obsession with Mo grows stronger, clouding his judgment.

Chapter 8:
The plot takes a dark turn as the trio’s search for truth leads them to dangerous individuals. Violence erupts, leaving Cutter and Valerie in mortal peril while Bone confronts Mo one final time. The climax reveals shocking truths and brings unexpected resolutions to the intertwining storylines.

Throughout Cutter and Bone, Thornburg masterfully explores themes such as disillusionment, the corrupting power of wealth, justice versus morality, and the fragility of personal relationships. The complex characters, driven by their flaws and desires, keep readers engaged while highlighting the blurred lines between right and wrong.

Newton Thornburg’s Cutter and Bone remains an important work in crime fiction due to its adept portrayal of societal disillusionment and the search for truth amidst corruption. This captivating novel compels readers to question their own moral compass and consider the consequences of pursuing justice in an unjust world.