Book Review: The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi

The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi is about murder stories taken place before World War II. The Eighth Detective is a story within stories, it works as both a short story anthology and an over-arching narrative. The novel is very clever in the way twist are laid out, the end is filled with so many twists they actually where’s out their welcome. There are 7 short stories in this novel all involving murder and a mathematic formula to make a murder mystery work. The short stories are borrowed from mainly Agatha Christie stories, I’m sure for legal reasons the story could not mention her by name. The short stories are good with some being great, but I enjoyed the conversations after the stories more, where the story is broken down and discussed. Thanks to Netgalley and Henry and Holt Company for granting me a copy. The Eighth Detective was published on 8-4-2020.

Favorite Quote: “Chess is a cheap metaphor. It’s what men use to talk in a grandiose way about conflict.”

The Plot: Grant McAllister, a professor of mathematics, worked out a theory thirty years ago about how to create the perfect murder mystery stories. After the theory was published, he quietly wrote a book of 7 short stories testing the theory called The White Murders . The book has came and went, but now 30 years later a young editor Julia is interested in republishing the book and wants access to the Grant McAllister who lives a quiet life away as a recluse. Grant is real iffy on his past not really wanting to discuss it. They start reading his short stories and breaking them down after exposing little truth and some he can’t or won’t answer like the similarity in the title and the real murders called The White Murders.

What I Liked: The conversations on the breakdown of stories are so good. The first short story is really good and immediately had me hooked. There’s one short story that takes place on the remote island after the aftermath of one of my favorite Agatha Christie stories And Then There Were None. I liked this one it intrigued me because it would be so hard to figure out what happened, and the perfect place for murder. This story was the only direct clone the ending’s of The Murder on the Orient Express and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd are part of the perfect endings. The language and lines of dialogue are good and through out the short stories. The main twist is really good with how clever it is.

What I Disliked: The first thing that intrigued me was the comparison to the White Murders, it’s kind of answered but I wanted more facts. How do you not think or acknowledge Agatha Christie in the Foreword or Afterword. I thought at the end there was too many twist that did not involve the short stories we just analyzed.

Recommendations: I’m going to barely recommend this one, the short stories for the most part are good and the conversations after are even better. If you like classic murder mystery that involves thought and deduction and not forensics then this novel is for you. You’re never going to be as good as Agatha Christie but it is still enjoyable. This book is getting unfairly compared to The 7 and a half Murders of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton who reinvented the murder mystery and told it in a unique way, the Eighth detective just has a unique telling. This was another hard review for me to place, I kept going back and forth between 3 and 4 stars, but eventually settled on a number barely making it to the threshold. I rated The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi 4 out of 5 stars. I will look for Pavesi books in the future, I see a lot of promise in the writing.

Book Review: Florida Man by Tom Cooper

Florida Man by Tom Cooper takes a look the mythos of the crazy stories surrounding the various news story dubbed “Florida man” (this term was brought to my attention from the TV show Atlanta). This novel is awfully hilarious in it’s character studies of Floridian rednecks, Cuban refugees, and American Indians. Most of the stories involve sex, drugs, violence, theft, and sometimes all four. The novel spans for the 1960’s to present spending most of the time in the 1980’s. The novel has it’s problem but it is filled with so much charm, it’s hard not to fill satisfied when i finished it. I felt like the characters were straight out of an Elmore Leonard novel, but with enough originality to make them unique. Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for giving me a copy for review. Florida Man by Tom Copper is published on 7-28-20.

The Plot: When Reed Crowe was a teenager he watched a plane go down in the Florida Everglades. The plane was filled full of weed from Columbia, he thought everyone was dead but he was wrong. Reed Crowe took drugs and sold a lot, he sold enough to buy and build a seedy motel, an run down zoo and amusement park on the remote Emerald Island. He’s a beach bum that hired his friends to help him run the place, all who would rather do drugs and get laid. His world is turned upside down when a Cuban that goes by the name of Catface because of his scars, recognizes Reed when he gets his friend and employee out of jail. Catface was there in the 60’s when reed found the drugs, and blames reed for not noticing and leaving him stuck with the scars. This vicious gangster will stop at nothing to kill Reed.

What I Liked: The humor is constant through out, it sometimes guys doing horrible things but for the most part it is funny. Catface is scary and relentless, almost a pincushion literately, they character takes a licking and keeps on ticking. This novel is not known for it’s descriptions but I felt it described this character perfectly. Wayne Wade is another crazy character that would make so many bad choices but it was a train wreck that was entertaining to watch. I enjoyed the ending, it did something very unexpected, where I was super iffy if tis was the right choice but I was satisfied with the ending, that was very true to one character’s character.

What I Disliked: The descriptions are really lacking, it will name this exotic Florida animal and not describe it at all. The book has an over 10 year jump and doesn’t catch the reader up with anything that has happened in the last 20 years, which I found really frustrating. I did wonder the point of this novel about midway through, and it’s more of a character study than a narrative story.

Recommendation: This novel is not going to be for everybody, the beginning is a little bit of a mess with it’s weird time jump. I often wondered the point and where it was going. That being said, the novel is funny if you like show like swamp people, and shows about redneck culture then this book may be right up your alley. There is a trigger warning on violence and a character liking girls too young. I would slightly recommend this one on humor alone. I rated Florida Man by Tom Copper 3.5 out of 5 stars . This one is the most torn I’ve been on a review in a while, I will read another novel by Tom Cooper.

Wrap Up: July 2020 Book Reviews

Hello dear readers, July has come and gone.  This month I was able to read 10 books. 2 books were advanced reader copy thanks to Netgalley, 5 were from one of my favorite Graphic Novel book series Locke and Key, books that have made my favorites list off books read in 2020 with The Sun Down Motel and Home Before Dark.  I read one of the weirdest books ever called Antkind written by Charlie Kaufman.  I can’t wait to share some of these mini reviews with you.

 Five Star Reviews:

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is a nonstop thriller that mixes elements of a ghost story with a mystery. The pace was nonstop from the beginning, and did not let up as it reached the climax. The story is really fun, I enjoyed finding out more about the ghosts and why they haunted the Sun Down Motel. The twists are plausible and well thought out to fool the audience. This book has been hyped recently, and I have to say I really enjoyed it, it doesn’t reinvent the genre, just tells a good story in a way that is easy to read and picture. I recently put this book as number 2 in my favorite of the year so far.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager is a top-notch thriller wrapped in a ghost story. Home Before Dark reminded me of why I love Riley Sager so much, good writing that for the most part keeps me guessing while adding that level of believability, that it could happen that way. I felt like this book was a good return to form after I was let down by Lock Every Door which was released last year. Home After Dark offers two accounts one of a book written 25 years ago that is a nonfictional ghost story called House of Horrors that written by Ewan Holt that tells of the Baneberry House haunting of him and his family; the other is Maggie Holt that was five at the time of House of Horrors returning after 25 years to see what was real as her family won’t speak of the book.

Locke and Key Volume 5: Clockworks by Joe Hill and Art by Gabriel Rodriguez is the book that I have been waiting for finally getting a flashback to the past, one to colonial times where we get the origins of Keyhouse and the keys. There’s another flashback that will change everything you thought you knew about the villain, Zach/Dodge, and his origin. This book is easily my second favorite since the beginning. There’s a really good opening that had me hooked from the start. It wrapped up a lot of story lines and made complete sense. Stuff that was hinted at in the beginning got to become full circle. Almost every question I had was answered with great explanations.

Locke and Key Volume 6: Alpha and Omega by Joe Hill art by Gabriel Rodriguez. It’s the series finally, the Omega Key has been found and we know what opening that door will bring, creatures from another world that possess what they touch, but if the door is somehow closed, every creature has magic metal that can be used for more keys. I liked this one, a fitting ending; one of my favorite characters’ bit the dust. I do like that there’s a twist in Dodge’s end result, his plan wasn’t as obvious as an army; it’s more than that.

Four Star Reviews:

Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A. Stackpole takes the X-wing pilots out of the X-wing and has them go undercover on Coruscant. Wedge’s Gamble is book two in the X-wing Saga series that is a part of the Star Wars Legends series ( Star Wars Legends is a division that was considered cannon, but with The Force Awakens not following the trajectory of The established novels they were called Star Wars Legends). The last X-wing novel Rogue Squadron review, I used a Tom Cruise movie to describe it as Top Gun, this novel I would describe as Mission Impossible. Wedge’s Gamble refers to two things a plan to bring criminals from Black Sun to give the Imperials trouble on Coruscant and the undercover operation to take down the twin shields.

Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 by Joe Hill with Art done by Gabriel Rodríguez is a graphic novel that will open minds literally. This is my second time through the series, now that I know the ending, it fun piecing it together knowing all the character’s pasts and knowing all the keys and where they are hidden.

Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill art done by Gabriel Rodríguez This is a smaller story filled with a really long action piece and the rest is filled with long conversations. There are three keys discovered in this one, the giant key which makes you turn into a giant, the crown of shadows key, which has a key go into a crown which lets you control shadows, and the fix it key which can fix broken items in a cupboard, but can not fix the dead. 

Locke and Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Jill and art by Gabriel Rodriguez was the best story since the first volume, but the art was one of the weakest. This volume has guest artist Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbs do an issue, which is great at first I felt it lost the seriousness the previous books had set. I will say this has one of the most fulfilling climaxes I read in a long time, where everything goes to hell all at once and things are not the same

Three Star Reviews:

Antkind by Charlie Kaufman is a truly out of this world adventure about a film critic experiencing and trying to remember a film that last 30 days. It consumes him and his dreams as he figures out what was the film and what was his life. The book relies heavily on how film affects the watcher, and that the film can become a part of you. This book is deeply funny mind trip that only the writer of such films as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind could write. This is Charlie Kaufman’s first novel and it is a doozy. This is the kind of novel that I think could be heavily discussed in college literature classes, because there’s a lot to explore and debate about, what is part of the film and what is a dream?

Two Star Reviews:

Mayhem by Estelle Laure is a send up to the 80’s with a story about feminism and powerful versus powerless. This story is a mash up of plots from 80’s and 90’s movie plots Lost Boys, Sleeping with the Enemy, and The Craft. The results should be amazing but instead a lot of formulaic plot with ideas on feminism throughout that only take root at the end.

Book Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager is a top notch thriller wrapped in a ghost story. Home Before Dark reminded me of why I love Riley Sager so much, good writing that for the most part keeps me guessing while adding that level of believability, that it could happen that way. I felt like this book was a good return to form after I was let down by Lock Every Door which was released last year. Home After Dark offers two accounts one of a book written 25 years ago that is a nonfictional ghost story called House of Horrors that written by Ewan Holt that tells of the Baneberry House haunting of him and his family; the other is Maggie Holt that was five at the time of House of Horrors returning after 25 years to see what was real as her family won’t speak of the book. This book is high suspense with more twist than a Tilt-A-Whirl.

The Plot: Maggie Holt has just been called to her father’s will reading. Maggie’s dad is infamous because he wrote a book 25 years ago called House of Horrors about him and his family buying their first home the Baneberry house. The family only last 25 days as they were haunted by ghost. Maggie has asked her father and mother many times through her life what was real? What really went down? Even on her father’s death bed when asked all he could say was he’s sorry? Maggie is shocked when goes to the will reading and the Baneberry house is in the will to her. She still can’t believe he had it in his name still for 25 years, and shocked further still when she finds out her father visited one day everyone of those 25 years. Maggie who is in real estate plans to fix up the house and sell it, while also investigating what is real or not. Maggie unearths secret after, secret, was every word written true? or a clever lie?

What I Liked: The twist were really good I had a couple of the theories, but all were proven false, I liked the end. The narrative of bouncing back from Maggie to her dad’s voice was a little disjointed at first but I really enjoyed it as we would learn more about what was true. I liked the conspiracy theories that came out of the ending. I liked Maggie and the closure she got at the end. The snake scene is terrifying, both of them. I loved the ghost aspect.

What I Disliked: Petra and what was theorized especially in the beginning, and the justification being how much she is in the book, but she’s barely in the book. I thought there was going to be more than one alone time with Ewan, but that’s it. I liked everything else but I wanted more scenes of Ewan and Petra together.

Recommendations: I really enjoyed this one it’s a good mix of horror and mystery. The twist are good and through out, which makes for an easy fast paced read. This was my second favorite out of four that Riley Sager has written, and already can not wait until next summer to read another one. He remains the king of summer. I rated Home Before Dark by Riley Sager 5 out of 5 stars. Since I have read all other books written by Riley Sager here’s mr order of best to worst: The Last Time I Lied, Home Before Dark, Final Girls, and Lock Every Door.

Book Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is a nonstop thriller that mixes elements of a ghost story with a mystery. The pace was nonstop from the beginning, and did not let up as it reached the climax. The story is really fun, I enjoyed finding out more about the ghost and why they haunted the Sun Down Motel. The twists are plausible and well thought out to fool the audience. This book has been hyped recently, and I have to say I really enjoyed it, it doesn’t reinvent the genre, just tells a good story in a way that is easy to read and picture. This is a fast read that was a breeze to consume one afternoon.

The Plot: In 1982 Vivian starts working the nightshift at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, NY. The town is quiet but it has a string of missing and murdered young women, and Vivian is the next victim. She has been missing for 37 years when Carly her niece travels to Fell to investigate. She always knew her aunt was missing, but upon her mother’s death, she finds old news clipping about the crime that her mom would never get a straight answer. Carley’s investigation cause her to live in the same apartment as her aunt and take a job working the night shift at the Sun Down Motel. Carley discovers secrets of ghosts old and new. Carley wants the truth, but she may risk her life to get it.

What I Liked: I loved the ghost and their personalities. I love how focused this novel was, I felt no scene was wasted. I like the flipping back from 1982 to present day. I liked how the personalities of Vivian and Carley complimented each other. I liked the roommate Heather, how she still powered on after her panic attacks upon investigation. I loved the investigative photographer and the role they play in everything. This novel was about female power and I loved it!

What I Disliked: After the climax the wrap up took a little too long, but It didn’t effect my review too much, since I was so entertained by 90% of the story.

Recommendations: This is a really fun thriller that delivers. The narrative is easy to follow and the pace doesn’t let up. I wanted a decent mystery and I got a ghost story that is surrounded by a mystery, which was more than I expected. I rated The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Antkind by Charlie Kaufman

Antkind by Charlie Kaufman is a truly out of this world adventure about a film critic experiencing and trying to remember a film that last 30 days. It consumes him and his dreams as he figures out what was the film and what was his life. The book relies heavily on how film affects the watcher, and that the film can become a part of you. This book is deeply funny mind trip that only the writer of such films as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind could write. This is Charlie Kaufman’s first novel and it is a doozy. This is the kind of novel that I think could be heavily discussed in college literature classes, because there’s a lot to explore and debate about, what is part of the film and what is a dream? The book is 720 pages and should have been well over a hundred pages shorter, it has as many endings as Return of the King, I slapped my forehead once of reading more. This is a book that I see being really divided over, some loving while others put it as do not finish. Antkind is a cross between a Kurt Vonnegut novel and A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Thanks to netgalley and Random House for the copy. Antkind was published on 7-7-20.

The Plot: B. Rosenburger Rosenburg is a film critic that dives deep into the avant garde film. He goes to Florida to dive deep into the a 1908 film that is the first portrayal of a transgender on screen. Upon this trip he meets his neighbor that claims he was in the film, because he is a time traveler. As B. gets to know his neighbor he learns he is a filmmaker and has an animated film featuring puppets that know one has seen before. B. indulges himself and agrees to watch the film, the film that is untitled is 30 days long, it is about the past, present, and future. The filmmaker dies midway through the first watch, but B. is so committed now thinking this the greatest film that he has ever seen continues to watch (as a film critic his rule is to watch a movie 7 times). He doesn’t make it through the second viewing as the film burns up and B. is in a coma. He makes it his life’s work to remember everything, but he soon can’t tell his life from the film as it consumes him and his dreams.

What I Liked: There’s an on going joke about the character of B. being mistaken for jewish because of his name and appearance, that I never grew tired about. There a scene about Donald Tump (or Trunk) as he becomes to enamored with his animatronic robot from Disney’s Hall of Presidents that he orders one and it becomes his best friend. There’s a couple of scenes about Vaudeville duo Mudd and Moroony where a stage accident send one into a coma and changes his outlook on life and wants to play the straight man in the comedy act instead of the foyle. The compromise is two straight men, which is funny because how bad it is. I like the common debate does life imitate art or does art imitate life? B. is a film critic that loathes the films of Charlie Kaufman, and destroys everyone of his films. I like his nicknames for favorite directors. Theirs a lot of praise for filmmakers Judd Apatow and Wes Anderson. I liked a lot of the humor, especially the self analysis humor about his idiosyncrasy.

What I Disliked: Like all first time writers the novel is long and over bloated. I could trim 150 pages easily and have almost the same book. I don’t like the title, at the end of the novel it gets to the meaning of Antkind. The ending was all over the place I saw five times where it could have ended, and kept going and going.

Recommendations: I’m going to barely recommend this, the story is all over the place, it has strong metaphors about life and dreams, with bits of laugh out loud moments. The story is overly long, but there some diamond in the rough moments that really save it. I think literature majors are going to get a lot more out of it than I did; there is a lot to debate and discuss. I rated Antkind by Charlie Kaufman 3 out of 5 stars. This review rating tore me up I kept bouncing back and forth between 3 and 4 stars, but I thought the endings and overly long put it in the barely 3 stars category.

Book Review: Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks, is a fiction that is written like a nonfiction having a journal, expert interviews, and family interviews. The Legend of Bigfoot is something that I have always been curious about, this book does the research on past Bigfoot sitings and makes a story out of it. I like Bigfoot but I’m not a fanatic (note: though growing up I did name one of my dog’s Bigfoot), I think fanatics and believers will get a lot more out of this book than I did. I ‘m sad to say I found the first half of this book very boring, with me only connecting with two characters. At the end of this novel in the acknowledgements it was said that this was a failed movie script that got novel, the way it was written a movie would have worked better. The second half is a rip roaring action/survival that does not let up. The story turns into a man verse monster book. The action is fierce and unrelenting. In the end, the unbalance and the limited characters to truly root for, made the intense action too late to totally save this story from just more than an okay from me. Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks is Published on 6-16-20. Thanks to Netflix and Random House Publishing group Ballentine Del Rey.


The Plot: We learn early on there is a village up in the Rainer Mountains totally cut off from civilization thanks to an active volcano. The village was an experiment by tech savy artists and environmentalist, to live off nature and still be connected to tech. The village, Greenloop, is found burned down and torn to shreds with bodies of all but two members of the village who are declared missing with only a journal left behind. The journal explains that Greenloop was a attacked by Sasquatch. The journal, the journal writer’s brother, and various experts go over the tale adding insights, and analyze if it is believed to be true or not.

What I Liked: I love the man verse nature verse monster aspect. I wish this was featured through out the novel just not at the back half. The idea for Greenloop society was interesting. I loved the character of Ms. Monstar the tough older lady, artist that has seen war and knows how to survive, teaching the tech people how to go to war was interesting. I also liked the husband of Kate the journal writer that found himself as the village handy man. The brutal action, was a highlight of the book. You have never read about a Sasquatch being so vicious, it was kind of like seeing all the treats that Han gives to people about Chewbacca in Star Wars played out. The first arm rip off is a doozy. I didn’t really identify with Kate, the journal writer, but I do love the speculation of her brother, at what happened to her and the closure that he got through it.

What I Disliked: Too many chapters were dedicated to the research of other villages like Greenloop, at first it was interesting but it went on and on. It took too long for the Sasquatch to show up or even get teased. I did feel the ranger had too much information on the Sasquatch legend and mythical creatures in different countries. This book needed to have a conspiracy theorist who runs a Bigfoot watch to break up the science.

Recommendations: I think Sasquatch fans will like this more than I did, so I recommend this to them. This one is a hard one for me the beginning was hard to get through, then the second half was everything I wanted to ever see a Sasquatch do. I will barely recommend this one. I have not been this torn on a review in quite some time. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the Summer. I rated Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks 3 out of 5 stars. I have not read a Max Brooks all the way through, I have read most of the Zombie Survival guide, and love the satirical tone, World War Z has been in my TBR pile for so long. I liked the action in this and will one day read more Max Brooks.

Book Review: What Lies Between Us by John Marrs

What Lies Between Us by John Marrs is one crazy book, that you can’t predict or put down. Characters flip from being good to bad, as the reader learns more secrets. This book has some of the most cringe worthy scenes, not because of gore or anything horrid, but because you are reading about a character that keeps digging themselves into holes. This is family disfunction at its finest. What would it take for you to chain your mother in her room? The answers come quickly but the reasons behind them stay buried in lies. This is the second novel that I have by John Marrs, last year I read Passengers about driverless car taking 8 people hostage to murder them as people choose who lives or dies. Passengers rifted me while What Lies Between Us rocked me to my core. A huge thanks to Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for letting me read a novel that has taken my top spot in favorite books of 2020. The screen writes were picked up by Renee Zellweger’s production company, which would have a juicy role as the daughter who chains her mother, while exposing a lifetime of secrets and lies. What Lies Between Us is to be published on May 15th 2020.

The Plot: Maggie is believed to be a shut in that relies on her doting daughter Nina to get her through her days, then the chain is revealed. Maggie is not a shut in by choice. Her daughter Nina has been chaining her up in the attic which she soundproofed for two years. Nina is convinced her mom murdered her father years ago, and is determined to lock her up, in replacement for the last 21 years of her life since her father disappeared.

What I Liked: How crazy this novel got, there were many times where I was astounded of the places this novel went. There’s so many twist, I guessed a couple of them, but there were sometimes twist on twist. I enjoyed the ending, I felt like everything wrapped up in a very messed up bow. Never have I been so back and forth with characters, you will read one thing and be like Maggie had a point and then read another where I was like how could Maggie do that to Nina. The back and forth go almost to the end.I liked the side character of Bobby and how he fit in to the mother and daughter fight. The party scene was one of the most cringe worthy scenes I’ve ever read, and I kind of loved every minute of it. The scene was like a slow train wreck, you just have to watch. The way this novel was written getting into Maggie’s and Nina’s heads was perfect and helped explain a lot about the characters and their motivation.

What I Disliked: There was disappearance scene that the police don’t have a suspect, and we know the last text that go the person there and an incident that happened just weeks before the disappearance, I found it very unlikely that this character would not be the main suspect. The police go to the house but there were all these red flags that the police wouldn’t be ale to overlook. I hate that we never knew how high Jon was during the incident, or didn’t look into his appeals. I didn’t like the cover, it looks mediocre.

Recommendations: I really connected with this thriller and could not put it down. The only thing I would caution readers with is the characters given their reasons remain mostly unlikeable. I can still love a novel even if the character’s are difficult to like, but I know some can not. I think this is a can’t miss thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. I did not want to stop reading. I rated What Lies Between Us by John Marrs 5 out of 5 stars. So far this is my top book of the year.

Book Review: Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Long Bright River by Liz Moore was a slow burn mystery that uses a real town and the topic of addiction, to make this mystery compelling. The slow pace reminded me of In The Woods by Tana French and The Widow by Fiona Barton. The mystery is not as good as it could have been and takes a backseat to addiction, but addition and the characters that are dealing with it are what make this novel stand out. The novel isn’t a fun read it stays pretty serious while staying on the dangers of addiction and the effect it can have on those around you. This is not a novel of big twist, but tiny little ones that build up. I was glad to be wrong on my guess of the killer, and that twist was pretty good. Paula Hawkins wrier of The Girl on a Train and Dennis Lehane writer of Mystic River praise Long Bright River on the cover in blurbs.

The Plot: Mickey works as a cop in the Kensington, Philadelphia, a town where she grew up. Kensington is a placed rocked by the opioid crisis, it effected her mom, her father, and her sister. She doesn’t remember much of her parents who passed away when she was young, and raised by her Grandmother Gee. Mickey and Kacey had the same life but she became a cop and her sister a junkie prostitute. Mickey stumbles into a case of a dead young hooker, that is the start of a serial killing. As more girls off the street start showing up dead, her sister Kacey has vanished. Is it she the next victim, or is there something else? Mickey risk everything to locate her sister before it is too late.

What I Liked: I liked the characters, Mickey, Kacey, and Grandma Gee are all well rounded characters with real problems. I liked the way the opioid crisis was handled in the book. The look on addiction and the link of heredity was really great. I loved, loved the final scene of this book it nailed theme of addiction starting early so hard, that scene will stay with me a little while. I liked the look on community and how they come together and try to help. Kensington, PA is a real place with a real crisis, but the city is portrayed as broken down but still with a heart that I admired. I have had friends and family that have gone through addiction some have lived through it while others have succumbed; which made this story very relatable to me.

What I Disliked: Liz Moore chose not to use quotations on any lines of dialogue, which I found really distracting and had to read some passages over to understand it. This was a writer or editor’s choice but it didn’t work for me. The serial killer’s plot fell to the wayside for too long, I thought it could have dealt with that storyline together with addiction. The serial killer’s was not really compelling and didn’t do really anything to hide it.

Recommendation: I really think the character’s over the mystery make this novel one to check out. I found the difficult subject right on point and very real, which kept me reading. I think this book will allow addicts to look at what they put people that love them through, while giving the people that take care of them more insight into why addicts are addicts. I rated Long Bright River by Liz Moore 4 out of 5 stars. This was my first Liz Moore book, but I will soon check out more.

Wrap Up: Book Reviews April 2020

Hello dear readers, another month down. I read 9 novels this month, hit over 700 followers, thank you everyone. I read two graphic novels, three science fiction, one fantasy, one historical fiction, one young adult, and one middle grade fiction. I only read two books that were not in a series. One book was an advanced reader copy from Netgalley. My most anticipated read turned out to just be okay. My breakdown for this month is two 5 star reads, four 4 star reads, and three 3 star reads.

5 Star Reviews:

The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow – is Scarface and the Godfather rolled into one. You live as the good guys the bad guys and the people in between that are casualties of a 30 year drug war, in the USA, Mexico and Columbia. This story looks at both sides like I have never read before, it shows the good guys having to cross lines they never thought they could cross and the bad guys crossing those lines to keep what they have. The pace is break neck and so addicting. This is book one in the Power of the Dog series.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Two Volume 2 By Tom Taylor – is action packed with a lot of surprises and turns. This volume was a return to form it added the comedy back, some heartbreak, epic fights and happy reunions. Harley Quinn is a very bright spot in this volume, adding humor and heart, with her own twisted sense of humor. Batman is still in the shadows still recovering from what Superman did in year one. Superman goes from protector to dictator as he starts losing foot holds on his turf.

4 Star Reviews:

The Book Of Koli by M.R. Carey – is science fiction book after an apocalyptic battle where we tried to fix the environment but the world created trees that can walk and kill for nourishment. This book is the first book in the proposed Rampart Trilogy. This book is all heart, you can’t help but fall for Koli as he wants something more in this world, ad he manages to get a piece in the most unlikeliest of ways. The novel has a couple of good twists and turns and went in a direction I didn’t see it going. He is the unlikeliest of hero with a weapon to match. I read and reviewed this book thanks to Orbit and Netgalley for the Advanced Reader Copy.

Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind – is a fantasy that goes from juvenile light fantasy to brutal high fantasy full of sex and torture. Wizard’s First Rule is book one in the 15 book Sword of Truth series. The first 200 pages are the corner stone of fantasy mediocrity, A hero orphaned finds out he is really the savior all along, he meets the woman of his dreams that’s the key to the danger and his prophecy. The old healer in the village is really a powerful wizard that has been watching over him. The first 200 read like a Star Wars plot set in a fantasy world. Thank goodness this book is over 800 pages because those pages are original and go in directions I couldn’t have predicted, and I couldn’t put it down.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Two Volume 1 by Tom Taylor – it gets away from the Batman and Superman strife of who is wrong by adding the Green Lantern Corps. The epicness died down a little in this volume but the potential is still really high for a huge payoff. Out of all the members of the Justice League I’m least familiar with Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps, this graphic novel is heavy on those characters.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow 1 is a love story at its heart, that I found very beautiful, it dips into the science fiction by way of magic, and the time period of early 19oo’s makes it historical fiction as well. I liked the idea of doorways to another world, where some people want to explore them, while other’s want them destroyed. The story is told as a book with in a book, which took a little getting used to, once I got used to it I liked the storytelling more, and there’s a few surprises in this way of storytelling that really work for the narrative.

3 Star Reviews:

This Is How You Lose The Time War By Amal El-Mothar and Max Gladstone – is a science fiction love story featuring a spy vs. spy storyline with time travel agents. What happens when one time traveler writes a note to her rival? They start a letter writing correspondence through time. The novel flows like a poem as the time travelers try to one up each other with diction, prose, and literature. There where times when I was head scratching some of the words and what they mean.

The Girl Who Cried Monster by R. L. Stine – is Goosebumps book number 8 in the original series. The Girl Who Cried Monster is an updated take on the classic fable The Boy who Cried Wolf. The premiss is the same a girl is obsessed with monsters, always acting like they’re real, discovers a real monster, and no one will believe her. The tale runs pretty typical until the bonkers ending, which is so out there it ruins it a little.

The Toll By Neal Shusterman – is book three of the Arc of a Scythe trilogy. The Toll Ends the series in a fitting way exposes truths hinted at in Scythe and Thunderhead. This book expands the number of characters introducing a few new ones and expanding upon characters we have grown with. This book was my least favorite in this excellent series. I wanted to love this book as much as the others, but from chapter two, I knew this book was going in a different direction than I wanted it to. The novel eventually corrects course and delivers a satisfying ending to the series. My main problem is Citra and Rowan have been the main characters, and this book changes it to an ensemble story.