Book Review: Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand

Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand is an atmospheric Historical Fiction surrounded in a world mystery by a deadly serial killer of young girls. The story takes place in 1915 fair grounds in Chicago about twenty years after the World’s Fire fire and the serial killer H.H. Holmes, with it’s own serial killer to deal with. The history is a big part I was constantly reminded of the nonfiction work The Devil in the White City which covered the 1893 Chicago’s World’s Fair. The history and the rides at the time were really neat, The book only covers one in detail Hellsgate ride I could almost imagine it. The book is LGTBG friendly with it’s lead character Pin who is a girl who lives as a boy and struggles with her feelings about girls and one girl in particular Glory. I have not read a great amount of LGTBQ books but I found this one really nailed the questioning of ones self. A special thanks to Netgalley and Mulholland Books for giving me a copy, Curious Toys was published on October 15 2019.

The Plot: Pin is a 14 year old girl who lives as a boy, it started for safety but she likes it and prefers it, her mother is a fortune teller at the fair. The both live on a shack on the fair grounds. Two years’s ago Pin’s sister was lost, she had a form of down syndrome, and has never been found. Pin runs drugs for Max, a he/she act where one side is a man and the other a woman. Pin is always curious and noticing things adults don’t she is sensitive to young girls and strangers. She watches a young girl in a yellow dress get into a ride with a man and never get out, the man she doesn’t get a good look but is sure what she’s seen. She sneaks into ride and discovers a body. Pin is the only one who cares as the body brings even more people to check out the ride and the fair, Pin is willing to risk her life but she might have to risk something more important to her identity.

What I Liked: Pin as a character was fascinating, wish we spent more time with her, and her crisis. I liked the little twist with Glory and who she turned out to be. I liked the Charlie Chaplin bit especially the bit about the cops questioning him being ashamed at the way they are portrayed in his movies. I liked the climax it was pretty exciting. The killer was good the reader was left to fill in a lot of their reasons for the crimes. I did like the flashback of the killer, even at the time reading it you didn’t know who’s flashback it was. I did like the Fatty Bacon cop character and the date scene he had. I love, loved, the part about Pin wanting to expose the killer put to do it in a way she could keep her identity as being a boy, I found that really powerful. I liked the language and found it fitting of the time period. This was one of the coolest covers with all the images about the book is has, it was one of the reasons I selected to request this novel form Netgalley.

What I Disliked: The character of Henry Darger I didn’t care for a hospital janitor that isn’t all there, slightly crazy, that looks out for young girls and has a club protecting them. His character was not needed and it kept the reader away from Pin. I would have liked his character a little more if his slight bio was at the beginning instead of at the end. I didn’t like that the story jumped around having 7 different character’s narratives. Pin, the killer and maybe one more character was all you needed, though I did like being in Charlie Chaplin’s head briefly it didn’t serve a narrative purpose and could been in the newspaper. I figured out who the killer was early, I saw where the novel was pulling me and saw through the misdirection. There was not that many possible suspects, so I found it easy to make the leap. I wanted better descriptions of all the people and things it keeps talking about boater hats, which I had to look up to know what they looked look then see it in the words on the page.

Recommendation: I would mildly recommend this to a reader searching for a LGTBQ character in the early 1900’s and the questioning of one’s self and identity was really good. If you like historical fiction of the early 1900’s, I love Charlie Chaplin and found that part fascinating, as the description of the Hellsgate amusement park ride. I rated this novel 3 out of 3 stars. I found there were some really great moment and some not so great moments that it balanced out.

Book Review: A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs

A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs is two books in one, a novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky and a short novel My Heart Struck Sorrow. Both stories challenge idea of death and hell on earth. They both involve the past and choices made, fro the better or worse. Both stories have good wrap ups and ending that will leaving you thinking for a bit after the story has ended. My Heart Struck Sorrow was the new story The Sea Dreams It is the Sky has been published before. I enjoyed My Heart Struck Sorrow quite a bit more. Chuck Wendig author of Wanders does really cool foreword to the book. Thanks to HarperCollins Publishing and Netgalley for letting me read an Advanced Readers copy of A lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs in exchange for an honest review. It was first Published on October 8th 2019 with an expected mass market publication on October 29th 2019.

The Plot for The Sea Dreams it is the Sky:Rafael Avendano, a former poet, has escaped Argentina and now lives in Spain. The Poet now wears an eye patch has now goes by the Eye, it is a mystery to how he lost it. He meets Isabel a Teacher of poetry in Spain, and originally from Argentina knows a little of his work but found it crude and juvenile. She and most of the world thought Avendano was dead, during the takeover of Argentina. She befriends him as he is called back to Argentina in hopes of a reunion. Isabel watches his apartment in it she finds a secret manuscript telling just how he lost his eye, she keeps getting mysterious notes with just a latitude and longitude on them, pointing to a place in Argentina.

The Plot for My Heart Struck Sorrow: Cromwell needs a distraction from the recent deaths of his wife and son, he with his partner Harriet find that distraction as there job being part of the library is to go through a collection bequeathed to it. The Parker estate is one such donation, they are excited to too into the collection since Parker was a member of the Library of Congress in the music division collection folk songs and stories. Cromwell and Harriet discover a secret room that was locked away, of Parkers last assignment. Where Parker went searching for a particular song about a man and hell.

What I Liked: Both stories blend fact and fiction pretty seamlessly. Both stories are about lyrics in a song or in a verse of poetry, and the writing in both are really great, the folk songs especially, I could almost here them. The endings in both stories really work well, and end a in a very full circle way that I always appreciate. I really loved the characters in My Heart Struck Sorrow, they felt very real and grounded I understood their obsessions. I really like the work with the untrustworthy narrator. The flow in My Heart Struck Sorrow is so good such an easy read.

What I Disliked: The story flow of The Sea Dreams it is the Sky is so slow in the middle I loved the first couple chapters but then it slows down so much. My Heart Struck Sorrow is almost double The Sea Dreams it is Sky but it took me much longer to read Sea Dreams, because of the flow. I also had a little thing with The Sea Dreams it is Sky and it’s use of pronouns, sometimes I was confused with it and had to read passages over as a pronoun is switched to a dream person.

Recommendations: I will recommend this collection of two tales for a perfect October read, my favorite by far being My Heart Struck Sorrow. My rating for stories is The Sea Dreams it is Sky 3 out of 5 stars and My Heart Struck Sorrow 5 out of 5 stars. I would highly recommend this to readers who like historical horror, or horror with a great deal of real life with a twist. I rated A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs 4 out 5 stars.

Wrap Up: September 2019 Book Reviews

Hello all, only 3 months left in the year, this whole year is flying by.  I read 5 books this month, one book (Dark Age) took me half the month to finish but it was so good.  I had two five star ratings which I haven’t done too often, I read two ARC’s from Netgalley.  I continued my retro read by read book five of the classic Goosebumps Series.  I had a record number of comments this month thank you so much, I do read them all.  Wrap ups are my favorite I can’t wait to check what everyone in the wordpress world is reading.  Happy reading everyone, October is next month I’ve saved so great horror for next month.

5 Star Reviews:

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – This follow up The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo another 5 star review from me.  Daisy Jones and the Six follows two rock groups rise The Six a good rock group that’s not great, and Daisy Jones the solo artist, with a soulful voice, that wants to write her own material but does not have the clout. They come together when Billy the lead singer writes a duet and needs a female singer, he never planned on her joining the band and that’s what happens as we get to read about how the group only put out one record. It’s sex, drugs, and rock and roll as we watch and listen to the rise and fall of Daisy Jones and the Six.

Dark Age by Pierce Brown – This is book five in the Red Rising Series, and manis it good there is so much going on plot wise, it’s filled with old scores and new scores. There’s lots of twist and turns.  This is Pierce Brown’s return to form, I was not a fan of Iron Gold rating it 3 out of 5 stars, but man did this book deliver on action and suspense. I recommend reading the series from the start since Brown does not do recaps.

4 Star Reviews:

Violet by Scott Thomas – This was a great slow burn horror, where the setting and descriptions put you on edge early.  This is a story about a forgotten imaginary friend that haunts the woman who was dealing with the loss of her mother at a remote lake house when created to return twenty years later with her daughter after the death of her husband.  Violet has one of the better climax’s for a horror novel. I received a free Advanced readers copy from Inkshares publishing and Netgalley.

Goosebumps: The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb by R. L. Stine – This story had a fun take on the old mummy creature, and a lot of facts how the real mummy’s are made. I fear closed in spaces and this story really got to me once it gets going it doesn’t stop.  I thought the twist was pretty good. This spooky story moved into the second spot on my rankings of the first 5 goosebumps books in order so far.

2 Star Review

Cold Storage by David Koepp – This is Koepp’s first novel he’s known for being a screenwriter of Jurassic Park, Carlito’s Way, and Spiderman.  The novel’s bad guy is a killer fungus, if you read the novel as a B- Movie with gross visuals and bad dialogue you will have more fun with it.  It had some nice moments but the story was told very clunky.

 

 

Book Review: Violet by Scott Thomas

Violet by Scott Thomas is a dark, creepy, and haunting tale of horror about despair and loss. The story is a slow burn with an exciting climax, and a meaningful epilogue that puts a nice bow on the story. This story is not exactly gothic but it feels very influenced by that horror genre. The story moves a bit slow but once it gets going and all is revealed this story finds it’s flow. This novel has about twenty songs mentioned in it I was pretty familiar with most of them, I approve of Thomas’s character’s musical taste. I would recommend the reader to listen to The Beatles “Blackbird” since it is featured and lyrics heavily used in the story. Thanks to Inkshares Publishing and Netgalley for providing an advanced copy of Violet by Scott Thomas in exchange for a honest review. Violet By Scott Thomas Published on September 24 2019.

Plot: Kris after dealing with death of her husband decides to take her daughter Sadie to an old Lake house that her family has owned. The lake house has significance that this is the place where Kris’s mother passed away and she remember’s being happy her and getting over her death. When Kris and her daughter get to the house she is shocked to find it rundown since her father gave it to a realtor to take care or and rent. Sadie is shocked when the realtor explains her father’s last words were let the place rot, the realtor tries to persuade her to take another rental, but Kris is determined and wants to fix the place up with her daughter. Sadie deals with the death of her father by barely speaking. Kris see’s Sadie start to actually have fun again. Kris starts remembering her time here and it was not as happy as she remembers. When Sadie develops a imaginary friend it’s fun and it reminds her of the one she had when she was here. Sadie’s imaginary friend is very secretive, Sadie’s not supposed to tell her name but when he accidentally reveals the name it was the same of when Kris was a little girl, Violet.

What I Liked: The atmosphere created at the lake house and the town, having just read IT by Stephen King, and it reminded me of the under the surface creepiness that is just under the surface.  The cover for this book is so awesome, and fits with the story.  The songs worked well showing the joy the lake house could bring. The mystery of the the town and what is really going on with the Violet situation was really compelling, and I liked the outcome. The climax was really exciting and had me doubt how it was going to end, I saw one part of the ending coming but didn’t think the novel was going there, and it did and I was pretty satisfied. The epilogue actually has meaning and is used really well, we’ve all read those books where the epilogue doesn’t serve a purpose, and it is nice when it does it nicely and really puts a bow on the story. I loved the character of Hitch the book store owner. I loved the hardware scene when Kris puts the hardware shop worker in place that keeps asking about her husband.

What I Disliked: At times the book was way too descriptive it has a paragraph dedicated to brushing teeth and the technique used as well as how condiments are put on a hot dog. (note: I did read an advanced reading copy, hopefully it was changed in the final version) The descriptions work when going into specific details about the house and certain items, but not on everyday task, which there was a couple of pages worth. The passing of the beginning was to slow, the novel is a slow build but it takes over a hundred pages for something to really happen.

Recommendations: I really enjoyed this book, despite the slow start, this is a really good horror novel that sets the creepy tone early. If you like Gothic horror I would give this a try, because it’s close and the pacing is mainly that slow build. This novel also has a mystery that I really enjoyed, so if you like mysteries this could be a god way to get into horror. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars. This is my first Scott Thomas I have Kill Creek on my TBR and I’ve heard good things, and it is a faster paced book in compared to Violet.

Book Review: Cold Storage by David Koepp

Cold Storage by David Koepp is the first novel from a well established screenwriter, some of my favorites are all adaptations of novels and comic books like Jurassic Park, Spiderman, and Carlito’s Way. Cold Storage is a story that is all David Koepp. It kind of a serial killer piece where the killer was apprehended and thrown in a dark hole to be forgotten, but this serial killer is crafty and has been plotting their escape the whole time, and thanks to flaws to in the system it escapes, but the killer isn’t a person but a fungus. This book is about a killer fungus. Since he famously adapted Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park I can see a lot of attempts to mirror Crichton’s style, but where Crichton can explain the science so everyone can understand Koepp struggles with it. This book made some interesting choices in terms of choices and flashbacks. I started liking it more when I gave into the premise and viewed it as a SyFy original movie. I was given the advanced copy thanks to Harpercollins Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Cold Storage publishes on September 3rd 2019.

The Plot: In 1987 a super secret task force that investigates biological terror and threats is sent to a remote Australian village. Roberto and Trini of the task force meet doctor Hero to investigate the village. They find every member of the village of the dead on the roof tops with their chest burst out and a green fungal mold around them. The source seems to be part of a fuselage from a Skylab explosion in space. They save a a sample of the fungus and attempt to photograph it as the fungus jumps to the camera, and begins attacking them trying to find a host, the quickly find out the host goes to the highest point available for mass spreading. The whole village is determined a risk and is bombed and burned. The sample is frozen and kept in a deep dark hole where the temperature will remain at freezing. But thanks to global warming and the increase of temperature in Earth’s core in present day the fungus is going to escape. The government has long abandoned the storage facility in Kanas, but a regular storage units were built on top of it. Teacake a lovable loser works at the storage unit as security, and he finds out there is a lot he didn’t know about what is stored there.

What I Liked: The opening is a little clunky in terms of flow and information, but there is some nice surprising action and character work. I did like the character of Roberto his chapter’s always went by fast. I like that the fungus continues to evolve and get smarter. The character of Murphy’s job is you’re supposed to hate him and he did in spades. There’s a good twist at the end that really went with Roberto and how he feels about the fungus and it’s irradiation, that I really liked. I liked the fungus infected animals there were pretty terrifying.

What I Disliked: The character of Teacake he was annoying and stereotypical. The pace was really disjointed through out, there would be good momentum then the story would go off in a tangent. The flashbacks rarely served the story, so I found most of them distracting. Character’s dialogue was really generic, and had hardly any weight to it. The story was too simple would have served better a novella. Roberto was my favorite character but it takes him forever to get to the storage unit and into the action.

Recommendations: I would recommend this to people who like SyFy movies like Sharknado that are kind of tongue in cheek. I don’t know if the novel was going for this initially but if it would have embraced it, it could have been better. If you want a good science fiction I would recommend you picking up a Crichton novel. I gave this novel 2 out of 5 stars, it’s close to the 2.5 mark.

Book Review: The Passengers by John Marrs

The Passengers by John Marrs is a good Science Fiction book, that feels all too real and ask some pretty big questions. I love a good Science Fiction novel that look at the future and asks should we as a society be questioning this; and that is what John Marrs delivers with The Passengers, as he looks to the future and the dangers of self automated cars driven by A.I., it also looks at the growing power of social media and it’s influence in the future. This book reminded me of the Roger Corman film Death Race 2000 meets Stephen King’s The Long Walk all wrapped in an episode of Black Mirror. This could totally be an episode of Black Mirror for it’s take on society and social media alone. If you have read John Marrs book The One ( The One is being adapted into a 10 episode Netflix mini-series) it matches DNA so find your soul mate, you’ll get an added bonus, with that technology being is a small plot point in The Passengers which works really well on where technology is in the fictional near future. I really liked this book, but I was letdown by the ending, which veered off in a direction that didn’t seem to go with the beginning of the novel, it changed my sure to be 5 star review into a 4 star. I would like to thank Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for giving me the advanced copy for the American release in exchange for honest opinion. The Passengers by John Marrs has already released in the UK and is getting released on August 27 2019 in America.

The Plot: In the near future in Britain all cars have been fully automated making regular cars illegal. The cars now come with a seat that can swivel and media can be played on the windows, the car is operated by voice commands. The car death toll has gone down but they still happen, and have a jury decide who’s at fault for the deaths, Libby is a guest on that panel. Libby is a mental health doctor, that doesn’t trust the cars fully after watching a terrible accident a few years ago wipe out a family. Libby is the only civilian juror, the other jurors are medical professionals, government agent and clergy. So far since starting the panel no death has been the cars fault, the car are anti-hack proof, or so they thought. Today 8 people from different walks of life have had their vehicles taken over by a person on a automated voice calling himself the Hacker. The 8 passengers are all told they will die in 2 and a half hours as they reach their destination. The jury will decide who lives or who dies, Libby’s world is turned upside down when she knows one of the passengers, and the hacker knows about her as well. It’s a taut thriller ride that will put you in the passengers seat for the ride.

What I Liked: This novel does an excellent job with backstory picking and choosing when to reveal more about the characters at the right time. The twist and turns are through out this novel, keeping you the reader on your toes and not knowing who to trust. The humor comes in burst like the hashtag on Libby’s bad shoes as she’s deciding on someone’s fate, and others. Me being a Communication Major I loved the take of social media in the near future. I enjoyed the characters and their ups and downs. The technology of the cars was well thought out, and great twist involving that technology later. The hacker was a great puppet master type villain, until the ending , but until that point great character work. I do like that Brexit is now a thing marked in history as a milestone, that still affects Britain in the future.

What I Disliked: The ending is the only problem I had with this book, it’s not horrible, but it just didn’t fit at all, this novel is a smart tight thriller until the ending that is out of character and has a calculated character make a dumb mistakes and it took too long to get to the ending, once the rising action stops.

Recommendations: Despite me not enjoying the ending this is a worthwhile, often thought provoking novel, that looks at issues that could arise in our near future. I do recommend you check this one out. If you’re a fan of Netflix’s Black Mirror then you must check it out. If you like Science Fiction that challenges future technology, your sure to enjoy this one. I rated The Passengers by John Marrs 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: A Divided Mind by M. Billiter

A Divided Mind by M. Billiter is a good emotional piece about the struggles of a family dealing with one of it’s children being a schizophrenic. A Divided Mind comes out on July 27 2019, it’s being marked as a thriller and I don’t feel it fits that category, general fiction fits it better. The book does have one or two thrilling moments, but it is more of a think piece that show how an individual and his mother deal with the illness. The novel is mainly told through Branson who has schizophrenia and his mother as she deals with the diagnosis. I was not prepared for the humor in this piece, that really helps with the flow. It sometimes reminded me of a much serious version of C. D. Payne’s Youth in Revolt. I enjoyed this novel and found it very engaging. I would like to think Netgalley and Hot Tree Publishing for giving me a free advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Plot: Tara receives a call from her 17 year-old son Branson that he’s hearing voices as he blacked out and was found with bloody knuckles at school. Tara who is now a single mom thinks it is PTSD of her family surviving her first ex husband who was abusive towards her and her children. Branson is coy with telling people all the details about what he calls “shadow people” that will assassinate people he disagrees with in his mind. The voices have been getting louder and transforming. Tara sends him to a specialist that says it’s not PTSD but schizophrenia. The disbelief is strong and she doesn’t know how to deal, she finds a notebook of her son’s journal and reads all about a girl who has tormented her son, and decides to get revenge as she’s a college admissions officer for the university and creatively makes her not a candidate. Branson life gets more complex as he starts seeing a new person in his life, but are they real or not is what the reader will be asking.

What I Liked: The humor both Branson and his mom Tara have some wit to them in the form of internal thoughts. The struggle of Branson and his other personality be sometimes the only one he can confide in, but also wanting that person gone for his own health. Carson, Branson’s sister, solves so much of his mother’s problems, I loved her character. Dr. Cordova seems like the perfect doctor never rising to any bate of the characters but slipping out a smile when he can’t contain the funny situation or answer in front of him. I loved the story about how the kids were named, and I loved their names. I loved Tara’s revenge plot, and all that things that happened because of it. The cat creature was very scary and written really well and easy to visualize. I really liked the ending.

What I Disliked: The people in Branson’s life our way too accepting. There’s an instance where Branson steals something and a person that don’t know him helps him out, I found really hard to believe. I found it to easy to tell who was real and not in Branson’s mind, but the book acts like this is a mystery.

Recommendations: I will recommend this book as a good emotional sometimes humorous general fiction book. If you’re looking for a thriller you will be a little disappointed, the book is not with some thrilling moments and one okay twist but in my humble opinion not a thriller. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Aquaman & Justice League: Drowned Earth by Scott Snyder

Aquaman and Justice League: Drowned Earth by Scott Snyder is an epic tale of alien gods of oceans determined to see Earth’s ocean waters raise and drown the earth, after the oceans on their home planets have dries up or frozen over. Scott Snyder uses the type of story telling that I fell in love with his writing in the first place like his Court of Owls run on Batman, where he starts with a theme and then reinforces it in flashbacks and present action, what I love is there is an over arcing theme but also an individual comic theme as well, he handles this better than anyone in comics, it reminds me a lot of what Joss Whedon did on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel so well in the TV storytelling landscape. This novel feature to many character’s to name them all, If you read DC’s Metal comics or graphic novel’s this story is still dealing with those changes like Atlantis is no on the surface not at the bottom of the sea. I have not read DC’s Metal, I read Dark Days: The Road to Metal and was not a fan, you can find that review here https://readingwithmyeyes.wordpress.c… but this work does a good job of catching you up and actually got me excited to finally explore those titles. A thanks to netgalley and DC comic’s for letting me download this title, (Note : I was not able to open this title and had to purchase it) I’m an honest reviewer and did not let this reflect in my view at all of this title. It was released on April 16th of 2019.

The Plot: Aquaman, Wonder Woman, other Justice League members are searching are searching for a rumored Graveyard of the Gods. As legend tells this is the place the where gods would dispose of there human form, but it’s rumored Poseidon the actual god is down there. They find a graveyard of ships from the past that got lost in there searching. When they arrive they find something they did not expect, they find the entrance to the Graveyard of the Gods is opened with a trail of heat signatures. It is reveals that the Legion of Doom have released alien gods of the ocean from other planets that were trapped by Aquaman’s ancestors and they want revenge on earth. They start by a massive flood of the Earth then they release a new Kraken that infects the flooded waters where if the breathe in the water it turns you into a controllable sea creature who’s goal is to drive you into the waters to change more. Evacuations have started in Gotham with people going to the highest towers to get flown to higher ground, Jim Gordon in an emotional scene is dragged down to the water by sea creatures as he saves a family. Superman has a force wall over Metropolis that keeps most of the water back. Atlantis is the first place hit having only Mera and an imprisoned Ocean Master survive. Aquaman rushes full steam ahead and is easily defeated not knowing the true power of his enemies and his powers are taken and given to Black Manta Aquaman’s greatest foe and member of the League of Doom. Can the justice league survive and can a powerless Aquaman prevail a Drowned Earth?

What I Liked: The writing and theme work is so good the overall theme for Aquaman is exploring new oceans and ideas, plotting and finding the unknown. The Sea creature reminded me of Cthulhu like creatures and there were nods to the Trench. I liked that Flash get’s infected but is able to stave it off longer than anyone due to his metabolism. Jim Gordon turned into a sea creature is powerful and to his character. Ocean Master’s dialogue to Mera that convinces her to trust him to fight for Atlantis. The ending is pretty good and satisfying, there’s a real nice double cross at the end. Really nice character study on Aquaman in the Graveyard of the Gods.

What I Disliked: The art especially the wide drawings closeup are just fine but 80% I was just turned off by the art. There needed to be a synopsis especially on the Teen Titan book I was very lost on what they were doing and it took me a couple of pages to get oriented, I was a little bummed to only see one of those characters do anything further in the novel.

Recommendations: If you are up on current comics then you should definitely read this. If you are not you might be lost for a little bit because there is no real synopsis, but the writing is really good and it doesn’t take too long. If you’re a fan of Scott Snyder’s writing like in the Court of Owls, End Game, and White Knight then this is a great graphic novel that shows off his skills. I rated Aquaman & Justice League: Drowned Earth 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every Door By Riley Sager is his third new thriller. He wrote hands down my favorite novel of last year The Last Time I Lied and his debut for Final Girls had me on the edge of my seat in the first slasher/horror novel I’ve ever read. Lock Every Door follows adds a new horror in a hotel for the elite rich. The novel is dedicated to Ira Levin who wrote Rosemary’s Baby and this novel clearly used that as a starter for the hotel and it’s many super rich neighbor’s. The novel is tension filled having the character start off in a very dire situation and telling what lead to that situation. The theme of rich versus poor is vivid throughout and ask the the reader what would you do in this desperate situation. A special thanks to Netgalley, Dutton Publishing, and Penguin Group for an advanced copy of Lock Every Door by Riley Sager, for an honest review.  Lock Every door comes out in a month on July 2nd 2019

The Plot: Jules Larsen is hard up for a job, these past two weeks have been rough she got fired and caught her long term boyfriend cheating, she has no job and is crashing with her best friend Chloe, she is is in desperate need of a break ,and she receives one. A job through a craigslist ad offing to be an apartment sitter for The Bartholomew an upscale apartment all about privacy for the ultra rich staying there, there’s also a famous book Heart of the Dreamer that was a favorite of Jules and her missing sister Jane, that took place at the Bartholomew. The offer is this Jules stays in the place for a $1,000 dollars a week while the apartment is tied in litigation as a previous resident died and the family debates about what to do with the property, the catch is she has to stay over every night, can not bring anyone over, and can not speak to any of the residents. Jules agrees and is smitten with the glitz of the place and the atmosphere, Her friend Chloe has had reservations the whole time find and article about all the odd goings on at the apartments, Murder, suicide, and a sickness that killed many. Jules blows all this over until a fellow house sitter leaves unexpectedly, and nobody in the building seems to care why.

What I Liked: The history of the building was really well thought out and makes sense when all is revealed, there’s one really good twist that towards the end that played out really well, I saw it coming but Sager took it in a different way. The book really nailed desperation and the some times eyebrow raising choices you make during those times. I liked a majority of the characters especially Greta, Carlie, and Ingrid.

What I Disliked: I figured the main twist super early, the main villain wasn’t all that interesting, I was waiting for that mind blowing twist in all the previous Riley Sager novels and this one was just not there. I almost which the book wasn’t dedicated to Ira Levin because it follows a similar reveal to Rosemary’s baby if you know that novel at all you’re giving a way a twist, that I don’t know if my mind would’ve immediately went to with out the dedication.

Recommendations: I will recommend this novel I feel it’s the weakest out of the three but still a very good thriller that is very atmospheric. The twist that I came to love in Riley Sager novels are there, I guessed it but I think a lot of reader’s will miss what I read. I love Riley sager he still remains my favorite of the new authors and will eagerly await any new material he puts out. I can not recommend The Last Time I Lied enough. I rated Lock Every Door 3 out of 5 stars, it was close to 4 stars but felt it belonged in 3 stars.

Book Review: TH1RT3EN by Steve Cavanagh

Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh is a really good thriller with an amazing tag line, The Serial Killer is not on trial, he’s on the jury, that made me have to read it. This novel reminded me of the early James Patterson novels, when he was really good and wrote stuff by himself and did not have ghost writers. The novel has short chapters making it easy to digest and keep reading. The descriptions are just right enough to give you a mind picture. The twists and plot is very clever, there’s a couple twist at the end that I didn’t see coming, but was pleasantly surprised. This novel is the fourth in the series, but this is the first one that I have read, I would’ve preferred to read it in order, but I didn’t feel I missed much and was caught up in Eddie Flynn’s life very fast. A huge thanks for Netgalley and Flatiron books for letting me read an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for my honest thoughts on it. This novel is released on August 13 of 2019.

The Plot: Kane is a serial killer that is good with costumes and mimicry, when he’s first introduced he’s a homeless man with an agenda, we’re not clear on what his total agenda is but we know he ‘s stalking a mailman who delivers and receives packages from the court house. Kane’s real agenda isn’t the mailman, but the package from the courthouse, mainly the jury summons for a very important case. The case is one that is making headlines, involving Robert Solomon a famous movie star that is tried for killing his newly bride and their bodyguard who where found murdered in bed with their clothes off. Robert Solomon claims innocence and that he was not there when the murders take place. Eddie Flynn is a con man turned lawyer, that still uses his con man skills to win cases, his recent case was exposing police negligence as it arrested a client without grounds, in this case he has started a war with the police. That last case is why he’s hired as a attorney assisting the big boy’s of Carp law and associates, to go after the cops for negligence when a piece of evidence , a dollar, is collected from the mouth of one of the victims, which Robert’s DNA and the DNA of a serial killer that was executed. Kane gets on the jury determined to make Robert guilty by any means necessary. With the deck stacked against Eddie Flynn can he give Robert a fair trail.

What I Liked: The plot is really focused, and there’s no parts that I found boring or dragged. The twist will have you on the edge of your seat, there’s more than a few that were really clever, and twist I did not see coming. The character’s were written really well, the serial killer if you give into the narrative established that he studies and mimics peoples action and voice works well and is established early. The courtroom procedure worked really well and held my attention. The narrative of flipping back and forth between Kane and Eddie really worked and gave new perspective to the scenes.

What I Disliked: The serial killer’s motive didn’t seem to work for me totally, the killing of people who’s life had wind falls worked better than the 13 colonies thing, that was never really explained well enough. There’s flashbacks but they don’t reveal this obsession which I felt was needed. The dirty cops I felt were a little to sloppy with there plan to be on the force as long they had.

Recommendations: Despite this novel’s few flaws I really enjoyed it and recommend reading it. I’m a fan of James Patterson’s early work with Kiss the Girls and Along Came A Spider, and I think this fits right in, In those novels you know who the killer is, The flow is really fast, and the Twist are really good and jaw dropping. I plan of going back and reading the other three novels of the Eddie Flynn character, I enjoyed it that much. I rated this novel 5 out of 5 stars, there’s minor flaws but this novel really worked for me and was a lot of fun.