As I continue on my quest to finally catch up on all my backlog reviews, here is another block of them for books that were just blah or meh or ugh. You’re welcome.
Reviews in this post:
- The Girl on Mill Street by Peter Gilboy
- The 20th Victim (Women’s Murder Club, #20) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
- The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
- Killing For Sport: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers by Pat Brown
🔪The Girl on Mill Street by Peter Gilboy
Thomas & Mercer | 2017
Filed Under: Freud Says Shut Up
This was really just the most okay-est, maybe a little less. The ending has a nice little twist that definitely worked, but for the most part, The Girl on Mill Street is pretty mild for a novel that clearly wants to fit into the psychological thriller category. There’s no suspense, barely any twisty or thrilling moments. I’m usually a sucker for high-stakes murder trials, but somehow the author managed to even make that pretty boring. And I’m 100% blaming the narrator.
Told through the eyes of 19-year-old Annie Taylor during and after her father is arrested and put on trial for the murder of her mother, Annie as the POV narrator was decidedly a bad choice. If the whole disappearance, murder and trial had been written in 3rd-person with access to all the players, this would have had a chance to be a tight legal thriller. It might have also been a little more fleshed out, given an opportunity to feel more emotion, setting, whatever than just what Annie cared about. As it is, it’s a short novel, coming in at only a touch over 200 pages.
I was expecting this to have a little more power in the narrative because of the topic and themes, but Annie really killed all of that. Considering she’s 19, she talks and thinks with such a weird immature tone that it was really disorientating/annoying for me as a reader. I could not connect with her at all. Until I learned her age, I thought she was around 12-years-old. This was another case of a male author not knowing how to write a female character but in the weirdest fucking way. Annie’s speech pattern, her thought process and her opinions were not that of a young adult, but of a selfish, inexperienced child.
Annie’s father, and potential murderer, is a psychologist and so there were a lot of “insightful” moments about this, mostly in relation to Freud. None of it felt professional though. Anything on the topic felt like you were talking to someone who read Freud’s work once but never really studied the subject as a whole. There was just something weird about it, like when an anti-vaxxer does a Google search and then thinks they understand microbiology and tell you to “do your own research!” Bitch, you haven’t done any research either. A Google search is not research. A lab study is research. So, shut the fuck up.
Anyway, two stars for the reading experience. Half a star for the ending. It’s whatever.
The vibe for this one:
Book Source: NetGalley via the Publisher in exchange for a review
🔪The 20th Victim (Women’s Murder Club, #20) by James Patterson
Little, Brown & Company | 2020
Filed Under: They’re Still Writing More of These, FFS
I mean, what can I say? Y’all should know how I feel about this series by now. It’s just the most mediocre crime fiction meets soap opera ever. It reads like Patterson and Paetro aren’t even trying anymore. But, I guess why would you when you can just phone it in and make lots of money? Someone find me a job posting for a similar career and I’ll shut the fuck up about it.
The 20th Victim is the same old, same old that you get from the WMC. The four main women are moving closer and closer to just becoming Lifetime movie characters. The personal drama and multiple subplots are overdone and sometimes silly. It’s basically four separate stories, four separate lives, smashed together to create words on 300+ pages. That’s usually fine with me as long as the central crime is super intriguing, but I wasn’t too wrapped up in this one so this novel is really one of the most disjointed instalments in the series.
Three victims, three different cities, but the same killer and only Lindsay can figure it out, because of course.
Really, if Patterson and Paetro can’t find a way to inject new life into this series, it’s probably time to call Time of Death.
The vibe for this one:
🔪The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
Gallery/Saga Press | 2020
Filed Under: Die Hard Elk 2… With a Vengeance
I’m so sorry, but I did not like this. For me, it was so slow and mostly boring and far too existential. My brain no work good like that. And the fact that it was supposed to be a horror novel? Shit, I was not scared or unnerved even once.
There’s an elk hunt and some shit happens. Ten years later, four native men are hunted, haunted and tormented by an otherworldly entity that wants revenge for the elk hunt shit. And it’s not scary and there’s so much waiting for something to happen that it totally kills the pacing. I don’t know why I thought I would like this other than most of the reviews are glowing and I’m easily swayed by that. For me, however, I really struggled with the writing style, the pacing and scene choice. Really just the whole vibe didn’t work for me. Like, I didn’t understand what was happening half the time. Why are we at so many basketball games? Why is an elk playing basketball!? What is happening?!?
Maybe it’s all the fault of my weed-addled brain and not necessarily because the writing is bad or that the author missed the mark, but I really don’t get why everyone loves this. #bookstagram made me do it, and it was a mistake.
I had a lot of anticipation for the kind of novel this was going to be, and I was way off. This reads more like literary horror, which has never worked for my reading preferences. So, meh.
The vibe for this one:
🔪Killing for Sport: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers by Pat Brown
New Millennium Press | 2003
Filed Under: Insert Serial Killer Quote Here
First of all, this was published almost 20 years ago which I did not realize going into reading this, and now things make a little bit more sense. Because this shit does not really hold up.
The author was trying to provide a layman’s guide to serial killers and serial crime, but it comes off as if she thinks all her readers are idiots and all other Profilers are jokes that she has little respect for. Pat Brown is a Profiler herself, but she’s self-taught until she went back to school for criminal justice in 2007 – which is after this book was published. She does not come from law enforcement, but if my memory serves me, she experienced something in her personal life that pushed her down this path, thinking someone needed to be doing a better job than the cops currently were and it might as well be her. Not that I’m saying you need certain qualifications to be right or to garner respect in whatever you’re doing, but there’s something about her vibe that’s so pompous and self-righteous it’s just… not great. It’s a good thing the book was short.
Did I learn some stuff? Maybe, but I also feel like it was information that was already in my brain, floating around somewhere after literal decades of watching crime shows, crime documentaries, listening to podcasts, etc. The market is just so saturated with true crime that I’m not sure a book like this is relevant anymore unless you’re a person who has had zero exposure to the topic. But the audiobook was only four hours long and I needed something to kill the time.
All in all, this book is pretty basic. The language is dumbed down. It’s filled with quotes from serial killers, and it’s a sad day when you enjoy the quotes from the psychos more than you do the writing from the author.
And the bit about telling “feminists” not to get angry with her for saying we should protect ourselves from bad men?? I just… *smh*
The vibe of this one: