Review: Tideline by Penny Hancock

12923286

Plume | 2012

Original Title: Kept in the Dark


Ugh, what the fuck did I just read?

This missed the mark on being a psychological thriller in a big way – it’s basically borderline pedophilia fiction.

*shivers*

I just can’t even with this shit.

I was so uncomfortable the entire time reading this. I’m still uncomfortable thinking about it to write this review.

A quick synopsis: Middle-aged Sonia – unhappily married with a grown daughter – plies 15-year-old Jez with drugged alcohol in order to make him compliant so she can hold him captive in her home, because he reminds her of her first real love, Seb, who died when they were teens and *spoiler* also happened to be her older brother.

So, you know…gross.

Sonia gave me the worst case of heeby-jeebies I’ve ever had. She. is. so. fucked. up.

Continue reading “Review: Tideline by Penny Hancock”

Review: LoveMurder (Valerie Hart, #2) by Saul Black

31138734

★★★★

Orion | 2017

Can I get a hallelujer, Lort?!

I’m not the religious type, but give me a book like this and I suddenly start worshiping the Gods of Literature. You know – Stephen King, Agatha Christie and J.K. Rowling.

Six years ago Katherine Glass abducted, heinously tortured and killed young women all over San Francisco…until Det. Valerie Hart caught her and put her away for life. *cue the sound of prison gates slamming shut*

…But Katherine didn’t commit her crimes alone, and her partner – The Masked Man – who is probably even more deranged than Katherine, was never caught.

Now, the murders have started again, and left with each body is an envelope, addressed to Valerie, containing complicated clues and ciphers that will point the police to the next victim. Figure out the puzzle fast enough, save a life. But only Katherine Glass has the personal insight to decode the Masked Man’s clues, forcing Valerie to work with a killer.

Katherine promises she only wants to help – she’s never forgiven the Masked Man for leaving her high and dry. She just wants time out of her cell, maybe some mental stimulation. But can Katherine really be trusted? (I mean, obviously, the answer is “probably not”, but let’s just go with it.)

Continue reading “Review: LoveMurder (Valerie Hart, #2) by Saul Black”

Fave Five: My Favourite Villains in Crime Fiction

Omigod, you guys, it’s Friday! I can’t believe I made. Honestly I almost fell asleep at work numerous times. Anyone else feel like this week dragged on foreverrrr?

I say IT’S FRIDAY!!! like I’m going to party or something. No. You should know me better than that by now. I went to the Foo Fighters concert last Thursday and it took a LITERAL WEEK for me to recover from being up until 3:30 in the morning. That is not even a joke. I wish it were.

Welcome to your 30s.

Even if I did have a quicker recovery time like I used to, I’m an introvert. I don’t want to party. Ugh, what a nightmare!

busy bel powley GIF by Carrie Pilby The Movie

A blissful Friday to me looks more like laying in bed, eating low-calorie popcorn, and not worrying about how late I read or watch TV because I don’t have to be up for work the next day.

Paradise.

Continue reading “Fave Five: My Favourite Villains in Crime Fiction”

Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

“People turned a blind eye, though, didn’t they? No one liked to think about the fact that the water in that river was infected with the blood and bile of persecuted women, unhappy women; they drank it every day.”

33151805

★★★½

Riverhead Books | 2017

My favourite book of 2016 was The Girl on the Train. And yes I know that’s such a cliché thing to say in starting this review. And it’s such a shit thing to do – to compare these novels. And it’s not like I want to compare them, and I’m trying really hard not to, but I read this novel because I wanted to consume The Girl on the Train in order to have it inside of me I LOVED IT SO MUCH (shit movie though.)

So honestly I’m going to try to divorce myself, as best I can, from my previous experience with Paula Hawkins and just focus on the merits of this novel as a standalone piece of fiction, *whispers* but at the same time, I’m only here because of her first novel…

That said, I did like this. But I didn’t LOVE IT.

Quick synopsis: Small UK town. Nel Abbott is writing a novel about the many deaths in a local river nicknamed The Drowning Pool. Nel dies in The Drowning Pool. Was it suicide or murder?

“Beckford is not a suicide spot. Beckford is a place to get rid of troublesome women.”

I got off to a shaky start because of the sheer volume of characters and changing POVs. I think there are 10 different voices, as well as excerpts from Nel’s manuscript, that are essentially quick POVs of each of the women who have died in The Drowning Pool, bringing the grand total up to 14 voices (if I’ve not forgotten anyone.)

I settled in about 50% of the way through, finally getting a handle of who each character was and why their POV was important. There wasn’t a single time I thought a character’s chapter was useless, but I still have to question whether there wasn’t a way to write this novel cutting out half of them? Just to un-muddy the waters, no pun intended.

Continue reading “Review: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins”

Review: All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

“People hate to see other people happy. Remember that.”

35407871

★★½

William Morrow | 2017

Opening Hook: It must have fallen off a cliff.

Main Character: Wears polo shirts for the fashion, and eats oatmeal because he thinks it tastes good.

Plot Twisty-ness: Laced with Xanax.


For someone who has never read Peter Swanson before and casually likes to pick up a psychological thriller every now and again, this book will probably seem like a win.

But for someone (this girl!) who has read Peter Swanson before and been blown away but how he weaves a story, and also spends a lot of her time reading this particular genre, All The Beautiful Lies was a big ol’ *fart noises* letdown.

I’m coming away from the reading experience wondering “what was the point of this?” To be thrilling? To be thought-provoking? To be emotionally stirring? To be commentary on inappropriate relationships? It seemed to have aspirations to be all of those things, but the execution was sub-par, leaving the ideas undeveloped and abandoned on the page.

Continue reading “Review: All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson”

Review: And The Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich

“Rotting in your skin, rotting in your mind. You are rotting in this house. In this house you’ll die.”

28449150

★★★★

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | 2016

This book is a love story between sisters. It’s a love story about a boy who can’t love. It’s a story about a teenage girl trying to decide what decisions are best, while carrying guilt and confusion and stumbling through her reality, unsure and uneasy.

…But mostly it’s creepy AF.

Silla Daniels, and her mute sister Nori, arrive at their aunt’s decrepit mansion, La Baume, after having escaped their abusive father. They are looking for peace, for a place to call home, and they have pessimistic hopes that La Baume will be that for them.

…But, you know, it’s not.

Because something is off. Their aunt is odd. The house makes noises that fill Silla with dread. And the woods surrounding the property seem to be moving closer to the house; woods where something dangerous lurks. Something that won’t let them leave. Could it be the Creeper Man? As the food supply runs dangerously low, Silla starts to lose her mind. Because at La Baume, nothing is what it seems.

“He’s out there,” I say, turning back to the window. “Always watching. Getting stronger.”

I listened to this book on audio, and I have to say it’s probably the most interesting, engaging, well-done audiobook I’ve ever listened to. I almost felt like I was back in the days where there was no TV. Where families gathered around the radio to listen to shows. The narration was beautiful and bold, the production value filled my ears with so much tangible setting that I felt like I was there, an unseen observer.

Continue reading “Review: And The Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich”

Booknerd Wednesday: Female Sleuths You Need To Know (Other Than Nancy Drew)

Most of us ladies who are obsessed with crime fiction likely got our start reading Nancy Drew when we were young girls in pigtails; young girls who didn’t really want to play the games our friends were playing. We liked puzzles and being observant and maybe kids thought we were weird or awkward. We watched Goonies and Ghost Writer and read The Babysitters Club. We wanted to go on a mystery adventure and solve a crime! So we played at being Nancy Drew with our Sailor Moon “casebooks”, watching from our windows and writing down the neighbours’ activities as if we were going to catch them doing something sinister, like rolling a body into a carpet.

calm down bruce campbell GIF by Ash vs Evil Dead

And as we got older, we moved on to more adult crime fiction mysteries, but always gravitated towards Nancy like characters – Veronica Mars, Olivia Benson, Clarice Starling. Because Nancy had taught us it was okay to be into what we were into. We’ve never forgotten Nancy even though we have grown up. She’s frequently cited as an inspiration by writers and readers alike. Her name is mentioned in my “about” page for this blog, and I have been working on a collection of her books for a few years, picking them up from antique markets and used books store. (Only the old yellow paper covers, none of that plastic reprint crap.)

But let’s be real for a moment – in hindsight, Nancy was kind of boring, tame. A true basic bitch. She was rich and white and polite, doing her sleuthing in sweet collared dresses and Mary-Jane pumps with a perfectly coiffed flipped bob. Of course, the series started in the 1930s, so what do you expect? There wasn’t really any room for Nancy to change societal norms drastically, nor was there a market for it. Really, if you go back to those original books, you’ll find them to be shockingly racist and anti-feminist in a lot of their elements. Again, what do you expect from the time?

Continue reading “Booknerd Wednesday: Female Sleuths You Need To Know (Other Than Nancy Drew)”

Review: In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

“It was growing dark, and somehow the shadows made it feel as if all the trees had taken a collective step towards the house, edging in to shut out the sky.”

27834600

★★★

Gallery/Scout Press | 2016

This is an atmospherical oddball psychological mystery suspense novel that I liked….and at the same time I fucking hated? Like I’m so torn. Save me.

Here’s the problem. The main protagonist, Nora, is a fucking loser. I’m just going to put it out there. She’s a loser.

She’s 26 years old and still pining away for the boyfriend she had when she was 16. Come on! Ok, sure, it was a messy breakup, he broke your heart into a million tiny teenager girl shaped pieces and you never got closure. But how does someone never move on, like at all? Has she ever had sex with someone else? Gone on a date? Apparently not. So just…come on!

How many grown ass women are out there decidedly becoming Bridget Jones re-virginanized spinsters because their high school sweetheart peaced-out during a difficult time in your life? SHOW OF HANDS PLEASE…I won’t judge, despite what this review might suggest. I just need a headcount and to tell you to get over it! Find a man (not a boy) that knows how to work a G-spot and you’ll be over that high school flake in no time. Gotdamnit, NORA!

“I have not spoken to him for ten years, but I thought of him every single day.”

BARF.

Continue reading “Review: In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware”

True Crime Tuesday: The Cold Case of April Tinsley

One of the most fascinating things happening in the crime-solving world right now is the use of genealogy databases, like Ancestry and 23 And Me, to solve cold cases.

Most recently, and maybe most famously, we saw it this year when the Golden State Killer was finally apprehended after 40+ years undetected.

Privacy and ethics debates aside, I actually think it’s brilliant to be looking for matches this way if it gets more wastes of fucking oxygen off the street.

In the case I want to tell you about for this week’s instalment of TCT, the Fort Wayne Police Department ran testing on DNA evidence from a 1988 cold case using a genealogy database and came back with hits on two living brothers of the DNA source.

That’s ah-meezing.

What are killers supposed to do? “Hey, family? Please don’t give your DNA over to 23 and Me. The police might find out I’m a serial killer they’ve been hunting for the last 30 or so years. Okay? Thanks, great talk.”

sea man singing GIF

This is the Cold Case of April Tinsley.

Continue reading “True Crime Tuesday: The Cold Case of April Tinsley”

Review: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

29437949

★★★

St. Martin’s Press | 2016

I am feeling pretty meh about this whole thing.

I don’t know if it was the hype, or my standards are at some level not even I understand, but you guys seemed to effing love this and for me, it fell short of “special.”

It got off to a slow start. There’s an obvious underlying thread of unease to Grace and Jack’s marriage – her the beautiful housewife and him the successful lawyer – that you are quick to pick up on, but it takes quite a while to get around to just how nefarious Jack actually is. And by the time his true self is revealed, the story has taken on a stagnant quality.

Oh, more threats about Millie? Great. Did you want to use the word “perfect” a few hundred more times? Excellent. Grace’s friends are going to continue to think nothing is fucking weird as all hell? Okie-dokie.

So much focus is put on the small interactions, the paranoia Grace experiences in trying to figure out just how to act, and just what to say, in order to “win” against Jack, that it becomes quite tedious to read. And the plausibility is laughable (unless you’re really into it, which you might be!) – a high powered attorney who wins big and has his face splashed on the news, who probably works 60 hour weeks, also has time to monitor every single thing Grace does, to intercept all interactions, to feed her and care for her like a pet? How would any regular person have the energy for this – let alone a successful, busy attorney? …Even if he is a fucking looney-toon.

Continue reading “Review: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris”