Books Read in 2022: Three-Star Horror and Mystery

Eve went back to Hamilton today and I am sad. I just realized we forgot to watch the sequel to Enchanted. We didn't do a puzzle. It seemed like her break was so long but it still wasn't long enough. I think Angus is coming back in a couple of days after his conference, so I'll have a gradual progression back to my cold, empty, joyless house where the only other person is my husband (kidding, it's okay, he never reads my blog). We did watch an episode or two of Modern Family, which we've both seen multiple times. I'll go for months without watching an episode and then she comes home and turns it on and I'm like an alcoholic back on a bender. So at least I have that to comfort me. However, I wouldn't counsel watching the series finale, where all the kids move out and the last shot is all the house lights going out and then the porch light going on, right after your daughter leaves again. 

January is generally a crappy month for me, but I have some things to look forward to - we're not circulating books at Broadview this week so I'm going to work a shift with Kate, my best new person from last year. Jody and I are going to watch the new season of Dead to Me. Drinks with friends. Taking my dad for blood work this week ha ha ha - seriously, I found a new place where they take appointments instead of the ducking useless online check-in system at our regular one. We'll see how it goes. I'll get back to you also on whether I successfully re-mount the cleaning and organizing horse after a couple of weeks on the reading and lazing horse. Dialing my bedtime back from two a.m. to something a little more reasonable should...maybe have happened a few days ago. 

 Three-Star Horror

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo: Synopsis from Goodreads: Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six months later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom with bleeding wrists that mutters of revenge. As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble, letting in the phantom that hungers for him.

-"He’d written his undergraduate thesis on murder ballads and folk-country, used that same thesis for his admissions writing sample, and had some intention of continuing with the research when he arrived. He’d cared about music, once, though he no longer had access to the emotion, which felt like it had happened inside a different person a long time ago.”

Thinking back, I'm not sure why I three-starred this rather than four, other than I am not great with Gothic, Southern or otherwise. The atmosphere here was palpable and cinematic - even now I can see Andrew climbing out of his beat-up car outside the house, and feel the hot wind coming through the windows on a too-fast car ride down back roads. I also appreciated the treatment of racism, particularly intersectionally as it applies to queer people of colour. But there it is - I liked it but didn't love it. I just had a conversation with a friend (HI KERRY) about how strange and wonderful the reading experience is - as she put it, "two readers, three opinions". Sometimes, as with rereading, it can be three different opinions even with the same reader.

The Resting Place by Camilla Sten: Synopsis from Goodreads: A spine-chilling, propulsive psychological suspense from international sensation Camilla Sten. The medical term is prosopagnosia. The average person calls it face blindness—the inability to recognize a familiar person’s face, even the faces of those closest to you.  When Eleanor walked in on the scene of her capriciously cruel grandmother, Vivianne’s, murder, she came face to face with the killer—a maddening expression that means nothing to someone like her. With each passing day, her anxiety mounts. The dark feelings of having brushed by a killer, yet not know who could do this—or if they’d be back—overtakes both her dreams and her waking moments, thwarting her perception of reality. Then a lawyer calls. Vivianne has left her a house—a looming estate tucked away in the Swedish woods. The place her grandfather died, suddenly. A place that has housed a dark past for over fifty years. Eleanor. Her steadfast boyfriend, Sebastian. Her reckless aunt, Veronika. The lawyer. All will go to this house of secrets, looking for answers. But as they get closer to bringing the truth to light, they’ll wish they had never come to disturb what rests there. A heart-thumping, relentless thriller that will shake you to your core, The Resting Place is an unforgettable novel of horror and suspense.

Did not, in fact, shake me to my core. I don't know if it the number of books I read makes it more or less  understandable that I often forget that I've read and not loved a book by a certain author and end up reading and not-loving another book of theirs. I mean, I might give an author another chance, but I should probably pay more attention. Similar to the synesthesia thing, the prosopagnosia caught my interest here - my daughter definitely has a degree of this, especially when it's two-dimensional like on television. There was a hilarious incident when we were watching The Holiday when she was yelling at Cameron Diaz not to get together with Kate Winslet's boyfriend when it was actually her brother - who mistakes Jude Law for Rufus Sewell, I ask you? Anyway, this wasn't terrible, but didn't break any new ground for me, and I will endeavour to remember that I should try not to read the author's next book.

And Then I Woke Up by Malcolm Devlin: Synopsis from Goodreads: In a world reeling from an unusual plague, monsters lurk in the streets while terrified survivors arm themselves and roam the countryside in packs. Or perhaps something very different is happening. When a disease affects how reality is perceived, it’s hard to be certain of anything… Spence is one of the “cured” living at the Ironside rehabilitation facility. Haunted by guilt, he refuses to face the changed world until a new inmate challenges him to help her find her old crew. But if he can’t tell the truth from the lies, how will he know if he has earned the redemption he dreams of? How will he know he hasn’t just made things worse?

I wanted to like this more than I actually liked it. I was drawn in by the description, and as far as it goes, it is a successful device, but it doesn't go far enough, in my opinion. Maybe it would have worked better as a short story with the actual nature of the syndrome held back until near the end. Maybe it would have worked better as a novel rather than a novella. A lot of it was a devastatingly on-point metaphor for a lot of the fake-news-conspiracy-theory crap that's been so prevalent over the past few years. I just wanted more story.

Just Like Mother

by Anne Heltzel: Synopsis from Goodreads: A girl would be such a blessing... The last time Maeve saw her cousin was the night she escaped the cult they were raised in. For the past two decades, Maeve has worked hard to build a normal life in New York City, where she keeps everything—and everyone—at a safe distance. When Andrea suddenly reappears, Maeve regains the only true friend she’s ever had. Soon she’s spending more time at Andrea’s remote Catskills estate than in her own cramped apartment. Maeve doesn’t even mind that her cousin’s wealthy work friends clearly disapprove of her single lifestyle. After all, Andrea has made her fortune in the fertility industry—baby fever comes with the territory. The more Maeve immerses herself in Andrea’s world, the more disconnected she feels from her life back in the city; and the cousins’ increasing attachment triggers memories Maeve has fought hard to bury. But confronting the terrors of her childhood may be the only way for Maeve to transcend the nightmare still to come…

Kind of disappointed by this one, to be honest. It could have been amazing, but the execution was a little lacking. I would have liked more scenes from the past - as it was it felt a little unbalanced. Then the present scenes glossed over a lot of things that didn't make a lot of sense, not least how a matriarchal cult would achieve such massive reach in a decidedly patriarchal world. There should have been a better explanation - or any - of why Andrea's husband and the other husband acted as they did. Part of the trouble was that I've just read too many horror novels for any of the 'surprises' to be genuinely surprising, but I can always get over that if the writing or conceptualizing is good enough. The ending was also telegraphed from a mile away, and Maeve allowing the possibility of that ending is just silly. 

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher: Synopsis from Goodreads: What Moves the Dead is Kingfisher's retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's classic "The Fall of the House of Usher.” When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania. What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves. Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.

First book by this author I didn't love, and it's all on me - it's exactly what it said it was. I am all for a good horror story involving fungi - see The Girl With All the Gifts or the Seanan McGuire story trilogy beginning with Spores. As I said, I just don't generally love Gothic horror - the wasting heroines, the palely loitering, the ever-present damp. I tried a Gothic retelling of Hamlet and didn't like that either, but I read everything by this author so I had no choice. I did love the non-binary main character - I just wanted them to be in a different story.

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon: Synopsis from Goodreads: In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate have abandoned the comforts of suburbia to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this beautiful property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the local legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. With her passion for artifacts, Helen finds special materials to incorporate into the house--a beam from an old schoolroom, bricks from a mill, a mantel from a farmhouse--objects that draw her deeper into the story of Hattie and her descendants, three generations of Breckenridge women, each of whom died suspiciously. As the building project progresses, the house will become a place of menace and unfinished business: a new home, now haunted, that beckons its owners and their neighbors toward unimaginable danger.

I waver on this author. I had decided to give her a miss for a while, then read one that I really liked, and got this one that I liked less. Aside from the patent ridiculousness of two schoolteachers building a saltbox house (I love the term saltbox house, though) on their own basically using Youtube videos, the rest of the story just didn't really move me, although I quite liked Olive. Again, not bad, but needed some tightening and Helen and Nate needed to be whole other characters for me.

 Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes: Synopsis from Goodreads: A GHOST SHIP. A SALVAGE CREW. UNSPEAKABLE HORRORS. Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed—made obsolete—when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate. What they find at the other end of the signal is a shock: the Aurora, a famous luxury space-liner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick trip through the Aurora reveals something isn’t right. Whispers in the dark. Flickers of movement. Words scrawled in blood. Claire must fight to hold onto her sanity and find out what really happened on the Aurora, before she and her crew meet the same ghastly fate.

Three-and-a-half. I mean, it's kind of Alien. I would say 'Alien in space' except Alien is already in space. The small crew dealing with a spooky space mystery. The corrupt space corporation. The description of the luxury space cruiser is intoxicating and I loved it. Claire is a good character, if a little trope-ish (strong, stubborn, trauma in her past), and I like the way her strangeness equips her to deal with this situation. The love interest was a little too saccharine and formulaic for me. The over-the-top unlikeability of the corporate shill could have used more subtlety. It was definitely frightening and kept me reading.

Three-Star Mystery

The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson: Synopsis from Goodreads: When body parts are found on the banks of the River Thames in Deptford, DI Anjelica Henley is tasked with finding the killer. Eerie echoes of previous crimes lead Henley to question Peter Olivier, aka The Jigsaw Killer, who is currently serving a life sentence for a series of horrific murders. When a severed head is delivered to Henley's home, she realises that the copycat is taking a personal interest in her and that the victims have not been chosen at random. To catch the killer, Henley must confront her own demons - - and when Olivier escapes from prison, she finds herself up against not one serial killer, but two.

I came to the rather abrupt realization in the middle of this book that I might be done with police procedurals. Maybe it's because of the way my view of the police has changed over the past decade or so, maybe I've just read too many of them, but first there's the formulaic and depression fact of the detective who can't balance work and personal life and catches a murder case and then it's all lack of sleep, lack of food, interviews, hunches, blah blah blah. I mean, yeah, fair enough if it actually happened that way, but does anyone believe that it does any more?
Then there's the whole Big Bad Brilliant Evil Guy who gets under the cop's skin and plays mind games and delights in the way it works. Surely an intelligent detective with years of experience could maybe get out ahead of this and NOT give the evil genius exactly the reaction he wants every time?
I actually enjoyed this well enough for about two thirds. The ending didn't seem to really match - I wanted some kind of big discovery, for the detective to have a flash of inspiration or something. I did like the parts about being a black woman high up in the police force dealing with racism and sexism.
It just might be that this isn't the kind of book I need any more of in my life.

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham: Synopsis from Goodreads: When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, Chloe’s father had been arrested as a serial killer and promptly put in prison. Chloe and the rest of her family were left to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath. Now 20 years later, Chloe is a psychologist in private practice in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. She finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to get. Sometimes, though, she feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. And then a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, and that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, and seeing parallels that aren't really there, or for the second time in her life, is she about to unmask a killer? 

In a debut novel that has already been optioned for a limited series by actress Emma Stone and sold to a dozen countries around the world, Stacy Willingham has created an unforgettable character in a spellbinding thriller that will appeal equally to fans of Gillian Flynn and Karin Slaughter.

The plot here was perfectly good. It was everything else that was just okay for me - the writing and the characters were not bad, but nothing really jumped to the next level. Would be fine for a plane or beach read. It's been optioned for making into a movie, which will be good if they can use the plot and get good writers for the other stuff.

These Toxic Things by Rachel Howzell Hall: Synopsis from Goodreads: A dead woman’s cherished trinkets become pieces to a terrifying puzzle. Mickie Lambert creates “digital scrapbooks” for clients, ensuring that precious souvenirs aren’t forgotten or lost. When her latest client, Nadia Denham, a curio shop owner, dies from an apparent suicide, Mickie honors the old woman’s last wish and begins curating her peculiar objets d’art. A music box, a hair clip, a key chain―twelve mementos in all that must have meant so much to Nadia, who collected them on her flea market scavenges across the country. But these tokens mean a lot to someone else, too. Mickie has been receiving threatening messages to leave Nadia’s past alone. It’s becoming a mystery Mickie is driven to solve. Who once owned these odd treasures? How did Nadia really come to possess them? Discovering the truth means crossing paths with a long-dormant serial killer and navigating the secrets of a sinister past. One that might, Mickie fears, be inescapably entwined with her own.

Kind of dumb but still enjoyable. Reminded me a little of when I started reading mysteries in the eighties, and the mystery was clumsy and convoluted and everybody drank a lot. I actually loved what a hot mess the protagonist was, compared to a lot of popular female mystery protagonists these days. She day drinks, she lives on burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches, never eats a vegetable, sleeps with more than one problematic man, and I'm here for all of it. I love her relationship with her parents, and I get why she would steal her mom's fabulous clothes often, although given her obvious privilege I don't understand why all her own clothes suck.
The mystery itself was absurd, and Michaela's job description beggars belief (as something that purports to be full-time and providing a livable income).Written by a black woman and featuring a black main character, which is fantastic, because mediocre mysteries should have just as much representation as everything else. 

Scrublands by Chris Hammer: Synopsis from Goodreads: In an isolated country town brought to its knees by endless drought, a charismatic and dedicated young priest calmly opens fire on his congregation, killing five parishioners before being shot dead himself. A year later, troubled journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy. But the stories he hears from the locals about the priest and incidents leading up to the shooting don't fit with the accepted version of events his own newspaper reported in an award-winning investigation. Martin can't ignore his doubts, nor the urgings of some locals to unearth the real reason behind the priest's deadly rampage. Just as Martin believes he is making headway, a shocking new development rocks the town, which becomes the biggest story in Australia. The media descends on Riversend and Martin is now the one in the spotlight. His reasons for investigating the shooting have suddenly become very personal. Wrestling with his own demons, Martin finds himself risking everything to discover a truth that becomes darker and more complex with every twist. But there are powerful forces determined to stop him, and he has no idea how far they will go to make sure the town's secrets stay buried.A compulsive thriller that will haunt you long after you have turned the final page.

If I hadn't read Jane Harper's The Dry, this might have rated higher. As it is, it wasn't terrible, but it sort of read like an attempt at being The Dry that fell slightly short, and was obviously written by a man. The sense of place is still there, and the oppressive depiction of a dead-end place full of people trying to scrape by. The romance is, for lack of a better word, icky. All we're told about the love interest, repeatedly, is that she's "beautiful", as if that's the only reason Martin is interested in her. The fact that he's forty and she's twenty-nine would be fine, I guess, except he says she looks so young and vulnerable she could be twenty-one - uh, was that the quiet part out loud? Also, ew. The descriptions of the baby were also pretty lame - he 'plays peacefully' or 'gurgles' nearby while Martin tries to seduce his mother. I got the impression the author has never actually been around a baby, or paid any actual attention if he was. These kinds of details matter, to me anyway.

The mystery starts out looking like it might pack the same punch as in The Dry, but it doesn't, quite. I appreciated that the protagonist wasn't overly glamorized. Basically, if I hadn't read as many mysteries as I have this would have been just fine. As it was, it doesn't quite rise to the level of the best of them.

Hades (Archer and Bennett #1) by Candice Fox: Synopsis from Goodreads: Twenty years ago, two children were kidnapped and left for dead. Raised by a master criminal, they grew up to become cops. Very unusual cops . . . Homicide detective Frank Bennett has an intriguing new partner. Dark, beautiful, coldly efficient, Eden Archer is one of the most enigmatic colleagues Frank has ever worked with—that includes her brother Eric, who’s also on the Sydney Metro police force. All of them are tested to the core when a local man discovers a graveyard of large steel toolboxes lying at the bottom of the harbor. Each box contains a grisly trove of human body parts. For Frank, the madman’s clues are a tantalizing puzzle. For Eden and Eric, the case holds chilling links to a scarred childhood—and a murderous mentor named Hades. But the true evil goes beyond the bloody handiwork of a serial killer.

Given that Candice Fox's Crimson Lake trilogy was one of my all-time favourite mystery/thriller series, I had quite high hopes for this. I see that it won an award for first fiction, which maybe explains some of it. It's maybe hypocritical of me to not love the trope of the cold, emotionless, beautiful cop when a strong female character should be right up my alley. It was just a bit too melodramatic, when the Crimson Lake books seemed so much more nuanced and layered. Fair enough if she improved fairly quickly.

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James: Synopsis from Goodreads: In 1977, Claire Lake, Oregon, was shaken by the Lady Killer Murders: Two men, seemingly randomly, were murdered with the same gun, with strange notes left behind. Beth Greer was the perfect suspect--a rich, eccentric twenty-three-year-old woman, seen fleeing one of the crimes. But she was acquitted, and she retreated to the isolation of her mansion. Oregon, 2017Shea Collins is a receptionist, but by night, she runs a true crime website, the Book of Cold Cases--a passion fueled by the attempted abduction she escaped as a child. When she meets Beth by chance, Shea asks her for an interview. To Shea's surprise, Beth says yes. They meet regularly at Beth's mansion, though Shea is never comfortable there. Items move when she's not looking, and she could swear she's seen a girl outside the window. The allure of learning the truth about the case from the smart, charming Beth is too much to resist, but even as they grow closer, Shea senses something isn't right. Is she making friends with a manipulative murderer, or are there other dangers lurking in the darkness of the Greer house? A true crime blogger gets more than she bargained for while interviewing the woman acquitted of two cold case slayings in this chilling new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel.

I didn't enjoy this as much as The Broken Girls. I don't think it was bad, it just wasn't really what I wanted. The pace seemed slower, the divide between the two points of view was a little uneven, and while there was some fairly good characterization and I liked Shea, there wasn't a lot of mystery although mystery seemed to be promised. The thread of stifled women and Beth's unfair treatment as a crime suspect was on point. I enjoy this writer and will keep following her work.

The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager: Synopsis from Goodreads: The New York Times best-selling author of Final Girls and Survive the Night is back with his most unexpected thriller yet. Casey Fletcher, a recently widowed actress trying to escape a streak of bad press, has retreated to the peace and quiet of her family’s lake house in Vermont. Armed with a pair of binoculars and several bottles of liquor, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple who live in the house across the lake. They make for good viewing—a tech innovator, Tom is rich; and a former model, Katherine is gorgeous. One day on the lake, Casey saves Katherine from drowning, and the two strike up a budding friendship. But the more they get to know each other—and the longer Casey watches—it becomes clear that Katherine and Tom’s marriage is not as perfect and placid as it appears. When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey becomes consumed with finding out what happened to her. In the process, she uncovers eerie, darker truths that turn a tale of voyeurism and suspicion into a story of guilt, obsession and how looks can be very deceiving. With his trademark blend of sharp characters, psychological suspense, and gasp-worthy surprises, Riley Sager’s The House Across the Lake unveils more than one twist that will shock readers until the very last page.

Ha ha ha ha whaaaat. If I recall correctly, this author was a bit of a miss for me on the first book, then two hits, then a messy but fun kind-of-hit, and now.... hahahaha what? I'm always up for a gender-swapped Rear Window, except maybe when it's yet another woman written by yet another man with a gender-ambiguous author name designed to sell more books and, sorry, he just doesn't write women that well in my opinion. They're always a quick read, but I will look more carefully at reviews before picking up another one of his books.

Look What You Made Me Do by Elaine Murphy: Synopsis from Goodreads:A gripping thriller about a woman who must help cover the tracks of her serial killer sister -- only to discover her sibling isn't the only serial killer in town . . . and they're both next on his kill list. Carrie wants a normal life. Carrie Lawrence doesn’t need a happily ever after. She’ll just settle for “after.” After a decade of helping her sister hide her victims. After a lifetime of lies. She just wants to be safe, boring, and not trekking through the woods at night with a dead body wrapped in a carpet. Becca wants to get away with murder. Becca Lawrence doesn’t believe in happily ever after because she’s already happy. She’s gotten away with murder for a decade and has blackmailed her sister into helping her hide the evidence—what more could a girl want? But first they have to stop a serial killer.When thirteen bodies are discovered in their small town, people are shocked. But not as shocked as Carrie, who thought she knew all the details of Becca’s sordid pastime. When Becca swears she’s not behind the grisly new crimes, they realize the town has a second serial killer who has the sisters in his sights, and what he wants is…Carrie.

I saw this and thought "oh, well, I liked My Sister the Serial Killer", and this is literally another my sister the serial killer book. But I already READ My Sister the Serial Killer, so why did I feel the need to try again? This was not a biting social commentary with incidental serial killing - this was an entirely ridiculous story of a bitchy gorgeous younger sister who uses murder for petty revenge and shallow satisfaction, and the doormat older sister who gets roped into helping. I guess how well Carrie is manipulated by Becca is well done, because it pushed all my buttons, but there were no surprises - it was all the ways the clever sociopath always manipulates the wallflower. The second serial killer should have juiced up the story a bit, which it did, but only a bit. 


We just finished Schitts' Creek, where they all moved away in the end and whoa. That was not the thing to watch on Friday when I was already feeling sensitive. Plus, full moon. All the feelings.

I don't read horror, but I am dabbling in mysteries a little. Since you have rated these all three-stars, I will wait for the higher rated ones!
Pat Birnie said…
I sure know how you feel about Eve leaving. The house just feels so empty. I hope it passes soon as you do have some fun things planned.
I like mystery/suspense but not horror. In your 3 star reviews you mentions similar books that you liked better; I have put a few of those on hold. Thanks!
Suzanne said…
Awww, I am so sorry that your house is feeling empty and lonesome. Of course it would. I hope Angus returning does help a bit. Modern Family is a balm, though. Good choice.

1. "Did not, in fact, shake me to my core." LOL. Legit snorting over here.

2. I read The Jigsaw Man and wanted to like it more than I did. While I don't think I'm yet over the police procedural (I just love them so much, and I am enjoying seeing how authors are beginning to adapt them to our changing perception of policing), I think there were some aspects of this book that just... didn't click. I can't even remember the ending, so I'm guessing your point about it not matching is apt. I also felt like it had a really strong, pervasive sense of atmosphere, which was good, but that the atmosphere was so heavy and dark and tense, I got kind of weary of it.

3. I also read A Flicker in the Dark and agree there was nothing super special. (Did you read Jar of Hearts? I thought Jar of Hearts was so similar but done so much better.)

4. Your review of These Toxic Things makes me want to read it.

5. Your entire review of Scrublands is hilarious. Love it. (Have not and will not read the book.)

Felt exactly the same about Cold Cases and House Across the Lake. Love reading your reviews!!

NGS said…
A good horror story involving fungi! I didn't even know this was a micro-niche, but I'm all on board for it. LOL. That's disappointing about the T. Kingfisher book - I've only read one of her books under that name and I loved it, but maybe I need to be discerning about which ones I pick up.

Your comment about what a hot mess the protagonist in These Toxic Things is reminded me of Kinsey Millhone. There's something about her frequent McDonald's runs and really terrible choices in men that made those alphabet books magical.

I don't usually read thrillers, so I haven't read any of these books. Why are there so many books to read? I'll never be able to read more than a miniscule number of books that exist!!
StephLove said…
I love "Fall of the House of Usher" and I'm interested in its influence on horror ( particularly The Haunting of Hill House & The Shining) so that one might work for me.

I hear you about missing the kids. Noah's leaving in a week, which is 3 days later than originally planned, so I'm happy for those bonus days.
Ernie said…
I'm so far behind in your book review posts. I read this post while on the bike this morning and vowed to hop off the bike and comment. Then I got distracted. Tank left for his semester in Ireland today and I was babysitting. Tank getting ready to go abroad is very different than Ed's same time last year abroad thing last year. I was much more NEEDED. All that to say, I very much relate to the kids heading back to school. Mine is gradual too. Ed was Sunday. Tank today. Mini on Sunday. My house won't exactly be empty, but it feels weird. That Modern Family episode was not well timed for you. Sorry about that.

I don't gravitate towards mysteries or horror. I feel like if I read some of these 3 star recommendations I'd be more impressed, because I'd have very little to compare it to. I'd have the bar set fairly low. I like the 'two readers three opinions' bit. I get that - sometimes I'm just not in the right frame of mind.

If I had to pick one to try, I might try the Book of Cold Cases. That's a big if though as I have a hard time just keeping up with the list for book club.

Oh, I know I had one more thing . . . I just finished watched the 3rd season of Dead to Me with my 2 girls. It was funny. I love the chemistry between the two women. I can't believe that's it. It's really over?

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