REVIEW – Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

Eight Perfect Murders starts off with a plot that aligns perfectly with the current era – it seems that a murderer is following a blog post that Mal wrote some years ago, detailing the “eight perfect murders” from classic thriller and mystery books.

The book is written somewhat as a memoir – we experience everything through Mal’s perspective. From his present-day investigation of the murders, to past memories featuring his deceased wife.

I was intrigued by the overall storyline – I was curious to see who the murderer was, and I definitely had my suspicions. However, although the reveal was surprising, I still found it a bit lackluster.

Regardless of my issues with this book, this was still a decent read. It’s slower than your typical thriller and has a bit of a noir feel to it, if that’s your cup of tea.

I won an ARC of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

REVIEW – The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

“…it didn’t matter how afraid or how careful you were – it could always be you.”

The Sun Down Motel pulled me in from the dedication page – anything that mentions Murderinos is sure to be right up my alley!

Carly, our main character, is set on investigating the unsolved disappearance in her family. 35 years ago, her aunt vanished without a trace from her night shift job at the Sun Down Motel. We learn, through dual timelines, that the Sun Down has a little bit of a…ghost problem, a knack for attracting unsavory characters and for facilitating questionable behavior. It also has a history of tragedy and violence. However, that doesn’t seem too out of place in Fell, NY. Fell is…odd. It gave me straight-up Derry, Maine, vibes. It often felt like an episode of the Twilight Zone.

“The world was different at night. Not just dark, not just quiet, but different.”

The parallels and transitions between past and present are excellent. The story is good. It’s a bit tighter at the beginning (and spookier) before focusing mostly on the investigation of a number of unsolved murders. This will likely be a memorable book for many readers, not because of it’s (somewhat predictable) twist, but due to it’s not-so-common premise – a little bit of a ghost story and a little bit of a thriller.

“Some of us like the dark. It’s what we know.”

REVIEW – Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey

{Available March 3, 2020} Woman on the Edge is a twisty thriller that is actually incredibly sad. This book kept me guessing until the last few pages! Our main character, Morgan, is kind of an idiot at times (she puts herself in some dangerous situations!) but she’s also very brave and selfless.

The chapters from Nicole’s perspective become more disorienting and sad as the book progresses. You can’t help but feel for her, and for sweet baby Quinn.

This is a quick read, perfect for devouring in a sitting or two. I would recommend having something light on hand as a follow up – although it’s a pretty standard thriller, it’s likely to leave the reader slightly emotional at the end.

I look forward to reading more from this author!

Thank you Simon & Schuster for the NetGalley ARC.

REVIEW – Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth

{Available March 10, 2020} Unfollow Me starts with a chilling email to Violet, a social media influencer with more than one million subscribers on YouTube.

We learn early on (from the perspective of our two main characters – Lily and Yvonne) that Violet’s social media presence has inexplicably vanished, and no one knows where she is or if she’s okay.

These characters are OBSESSED with Violet – a woman they’ve never met, but think they know due to her constant vlogs of her daily life. It’s very relevant to society today, how many “influencers” have turned into micro-celebrities. They have fans, they have haters, they might even have stalkers. It also gave me MTV Diary vibes (throwback! Remember: you think you know, but you have no idea?!)

Details are revealed as the story progresses, and we do get chapters from Violet’s husband’s point of view as well. However, the majority of the book is confusing (not necessarily in a bad way). I found myself wanting to read more just so I could get some answers and find out wtf is going on.

Unfortunately, the ending was a little lackluster for me. I still enjoyed the book, and enjoyed the perspective it gave on “influencer” culture!

Thank you Crooked Lane Books for the NetGalley ARC.

REVIEW – The Other People by C.J. Tudor

Let’s get one thing out of the way first. This is my first C.J. Tudor book – and it will NOT be my last, not by a long shot. A TL;DR summary? It’s like if Stephen King wrote The Face on the Milk Carton.

What can I say about The Other People? Go in as blind as possible. I had no clue what was going on in this book while I was reading it, and it was such an enjoyable ride! It’s a little disorienting (especially at first). It’s super atmospheric, and honestly a little depressing. The whole vibe just felt very gloomy and hopeless and sad.

The writing – wow. There are a lot of great little snippets and passages throughout this book that are so reminiscent of some of Stephen King’s best bits from his best books. C.J. Tudor NAILS it. If you’re a King fan, you’ll probably be a Tudor fan. (and vice versa! Like the Tudor books you’ve read? Pick up some King!)

This is the first book in quite some time where I have had theories while reading. Not just vague ideas of where it was headed, but straight up THEORIES like pinned to a corkboard and connected with a string.

I had a friend ask me while I was reading this, “It’s supernatural, right?” Ummm…well. I’m not going to tell you. Maybe? Maybe not? Trust me, it’s better if you just don’t know.

There are a lot of connections in this book. A LOT. Some are easy to deduce. Others? Not so much. Honestly – just stop reading my review and go read this book.

Thank you Ballantine Books and Goodreads for the giveaway win.

REVIEW – The Chill by Scott Carson

{Available February 11, 2020} A supernatural thriller blurbed by Stephen King? I knew I had to get my hands on this one. And oh man…this gave me probably the STRONGEST book hangover i’ve had in months. I ended up finishing it sooner than I anticipated because once I passed a certain point in the plot, I couldn’t stop reading.

This book grabbed my attention right from the start. Focused on the Chilewaukee Reservoir (or “the Chill” as the locals call it), the novel revolves around an interesting cast of characters, including a sheriff and his son, a DEP officer and her “sandhog” father, and an engineer/inspector who has come to town to evaluate the state of the dam containing the Chill.

There are some strong supernatural vibes early on in this book, some of which reminded me heavily of The Shining (but in a great way, more of a homage vs a plot point being yoinked from someone else’s work). Add a sprinkle (just a sprinkle) of an old-timey cult, and some chilling (sorry…) descriptions of rushing, relentless waters, with secrets buried beneath the surface.

It’s a little slow-going for a bit, but right at the halfway point it takes an unexpected turn and dives right in to straight up nightmare fuel territory (at least for me. One major thing i’m afraid of? Dark, deep water. Guess we can now add dams to my list of fears). Much like a King novel, the real horrors in this book are grounded in reality. Basically, I ain’t afraid of no ghosts but I AM afraid of things that can actually kill me.

Thank you Atria and Emily Bestler Books for the ARC!

REVIEW – Grace Is Gone by Emily Elgar

From the suspense-filled prologue, to the chilling ending, Grace Is Gone is sure to be a popular thriller.

Murderinos and true crime junkies will have a good idea of where this story is heading (you might be able to figure out from the premise what it’s based on). Not a true crime fan? Then enjoy the ride – it’s full of twists and turns!

The one thing I didn’t love? Jon, one of our main characters, is kind of an idiot. The majority of his problems are self-inflicted, and I found it difficult to feel bad for him.

Even though I knew approximately where this plot would end up, I still enjoyed the book. Elgar’s writing is solid throughout, and even exquisite at times.

Thank you Harper Perennial for the free book!

REVIEW – The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

“There’s always a moment right before bad things get worse. Split second. Blink of an eye.”

Karin Slaughter is the QUEEN. Full stop. Her writing is incredible; it’s real and it’s well-researched.

“Some people got calm when they were in control. Will had been out of control enough times in his life to find calm in chaos.”

I had only read her standalone books before picking up The Last Widow. It’s the ninth book in the Will Trent series, but the first i’ve read. I immediately fell in love with these characters – ALL of them. Will, Sara, Faith, Amanda. Needless to say, I am so excited that I have eight other Will Trent books to read!

This. Book. I am a relatively calm reader. As someone who reads a lot of thrillers, a lot of Stephen King, a lot of murder-y books, I tend to not be too shocked by much. This book had me reacting to it AUDIBLY. And I loved it. Between the “holy shit!” and the “that’s right you dumb…” (well, you know), the story kept me on my toes. The beginning where Sara gets kidnapped (it’s in the synopsis, so no spoilers here) was HORRIFYING. I felt like I was there. The atmosphere in Georgia in the summer, the smells, the sounds, the FEELINGS. Slaughter’s writing is vivid, and I don’t say that superficially. I felt transported inside the story and, at times, almost wanting to Google some of the people and events because it felt that REAL.

I don’t want to say too much because some of the things in this book will hit you hard if you don’t see them coming, and it’s so worth the experience.

I’ll say it one more time. Karin Slaughter is the QUEEN. Believe it. Read her books.

REVIEW – The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

The Turn of the Key is one of the buzziest thrillers in recent months. It’s a little slow at the start, but once Rowan was settled into her new nannying position, I immediately felt bad for her. Unreliable, disturbingly intrusive technology! An unruly, nasty child! Ghosts?!

This book creeped me out a bit – it’s my fault for reading the suspenseful parts while home alone. The twists didn’t shock me too much, but there are some DARK revelations.

Needless to say, Ruth Ware’s books get better and better with time. I’ll definitely pick up whatever she writes next.

For what it’s worth, this is a solid 3.5 for me.

REVIEW – Run Away by Harlan Coben

As usual, Harlan Coben has written a wild ride of a book. Run Away hits you right from the beginning and holds on tight until the very end (it slows down a bit towards the middle, but the pace picks right back up).

“It was his fault, wasn’t it? Of course it had to be in some way. The butterfly effect. Change one thing, you change everything.”

There are so many twists and turns that dismantled the many theories I had about where the story was going. And where it ended up? Whoa. This book is DARK. It might be a bit far-fetched and a little crazy, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of it.

“There’s part of everybody that’s hidden.”

I honestly couldn’t read this fast enough – I devoured it in less than 24 hours. It’s a fun, thrilling read, with a heartbreaking theme of parental love. What would a parent do to save their child? How far would they go?