Review: The Body Reader (Detective Jude Fontaine, #1) by Anne Frasier

28090850★★★★

Opening Hook:  The human equivalent of an animal caught in a trap

Main Character: Needs to get laid, but also doesn’t

Plot Twisty-ness: If a roller coaster was an onion


I have to say I really liked this. It’s dark. It’s interesting. There are so many layers to the story, to the mystery. It’s never what you think it is.

I’ve never read anything by Anne Frasier before, though I do have a few of her books on my TBR shelf. I will definitely be moving those books closer to the top of the list.

Det. Jude Fontaine makes a daring escape after 3 years in captivity. She’s not herself anymore. She’s been subjected to unknown tortures and horrors. She sees everything in the world with new eyes, including herself.

Clawing her way back to some semblance of mental health, Jude goes back to work as a Homicide detective, while trying to find new ways to just be alive. (Sleeping on the roof, for instance.) Everything about Jude is switched off after her return. She has no sense of humour, she is flat and unemotional. She doesn’t know how to exist anymore. And this starting point requires that the other plot elements, and secondary characters, have some A+ development. 

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Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

This is how you ends for you. “You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark,” you threatened a victim once. Open the door. Show us your face. Walk into the light.

35068432★★★★½

Crimes: 12+ murders, 50+ rapes, 120+ burglaries

Crime Fighter: A true crime junkie who should be alive to witness the conclusion of her life’s work

Plot Truthiness: Everything you could want to know without being a cop on the case


This is a beautiful work of non-fiction/true crime.

The East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker, the Visalia Ransacker, the Easy Bay Rapist, the Dollner Street Prowler, the Diamond Knot Killer…

This killer has gone by many names, but the one you’ll be hearing the most is the Golden State Killer. A term coined by the late Michelle McNamara, a true crime writer/junkie/amateur detective, whose life mission was to see this most prolific villain unmasked after a reign of terror that lasted more than a decade, and that he has been (was) getting away with for over 40 years.

Michelle McNamara died on April 21, 2016. She was nearly done her tome about GSK. Her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt, as well as Michelle’s research partner and a journalist friend, finished the book for her. They knew Michelle needed to see this published. It was her life’s work, her greatest obsession.

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Review: Any Man by Amber Tamblyn

35068781★★★★★ (times infinity)

Opening Hook: Lorena Bobbitt-esque

Main Character: Exceptionally unique voices

Plot Twisty-ness: Stunning in its simplicity, ravenous in its message.


This book is unlike anything I have ever read, and I am utterly emotionally ruined by it.

Seriously. This book has fucked me up.

I started reading this in the morning and I didn’t put it down until I read the last page that evening. I was completely obsessed, completely enthralled and emotionally enamoured.

I’ve taken a couple of days to think about this review because I want it to be coherent and not preachy, but I’m definitely about to go on a rant of epic proportions filled with long quotes, so buckle up buttercups.

This is the story of five men, all of whom have been the victim of a serial rapist known as Maude. It is the story of how the media handles rape, how society handles rape. How we speak about it, how we shame, how we lay blame. It’s about the questions we ask, how we ask them and the assumptions we make. How we try to make ourselves feel more comfortable in the presence of someone else’s trauma. How the survivors grapple with their new reality, and their upended perception of themselves, their relationships and the world around them.

It’s about gender equality and gender roles and gender assumptions. It’s about the groups we align ourselves with, the lines in the sand we draw as tribes. The hate we have. The resentment we have. How women feel about our social history and how it doesn’t matter until it happens to a man. It’s about how blind we are to our shared wants and needs. And how if we just worked together we could change things.

It’s also creepy with elements of suspense.

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Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

36750068★★★★★

Opening Hook: This is definitely not Wet Hot American Summer

Main Character: Turning tragedy and schizophrenia into art

Plot Twisty-ness: Will light a camp fire under your ass


I honestly didn’t think it was possible for me to love a Riley Sager novel more than I loved Final Girls, but then I read The Last Time I Lied and well, spit on my neck and kick me in the crotch, because this has usurped Final Girls as my favourite Sager read, if not one of my favourite reads ever. Period.

It’s true! I am crazy about this book! It makes me want to go to summer camp and investigate mysteries, but you know, it might look a little bit weird to be 32 at a sleep away camp.

Dear Husband, I am home sick. But today I went in a canoe for the first time. The tweens here are looking at me funny.

30 Rock Hello GIF

Sager is a world class writer. I do not say that lightly or without conviction, because if you know me or read my reviews, you know I’m a huge judgmental bitch. It’s okay, you can agree.

So, when I say Sager is the SHIT. I mean it. He breezes through the art of storytelling like it is the most effortless, natural thing in the world to him. An automatic bodily function.

Breathe. Beat heart. Write.

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Review: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

34845523★★½

Opening Hook: Let my attention wonder to playing mindlessly on my phone

Main Character: Three times the boring

Plot Twisty-ness: Existing, but tamed


After all of the glowing reviews I’ve seen for Mary Kubica, this was actually a bit of a disappointment.

Whomp, whomp

Someone has paid to have Mia kidnapped. Colin, her kidnapper, is hired to do the dirty work. But instead of taking her to his boss, he whisks Mia away to a remote cabin and keeps her for himself.

As one would if they were kidnapping another human being.

My god, doesn’t it just seem like SO MUCH WORK? Who would want to kidnap someone?

Like, I get home from work and all I want to do is take off my bra and lay facedown on my mattress while I make ughhhhh ohhhsd nooooo noises and eventually my husband asks me what’s wrong and I can trick him into rubbing my back.

The LAST thing I want to do, is come home from work and have to take care of a person chained in my basement, stinking up the place. Getting their dirty, unwashed butt on stuff. Then you have to empty their piss pots and make them food.

No, thank you. You have to be a special kind of psychopath to want to abduct someone for the “joy” of getting to take care of an adult sized baby.

I am far too lazy for that.

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Review: The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1) by Jane Harper

28220971★★★

Opening Hook: I didn’t want to be involved as much as the lead didn’t

Main Character: Reluctant hero, personality missing

Plot Twisty-ness: You know who did it


Ok I’ll do it! I’ll go against the majority on this one! HERE I COME MARTYRDOM.

But really, I have to say I found The Dry, to be, well, rather dry.

Yeah, the writing is technically good. The characters are fleshed out enough. The setting was different from the usual for me. There was a crime with mystery to it. Past and present story lines were interwoven, and that can be tricky to do.

So, on the surface it checked all the boxes.

But, I just found it kind of boring. Again, I gotta say dry.

I think perhaps I’m not a huge fan of cold case style mystery – where the predominant crime is old or closed. There’s no real crime scene to immerse yourself in. There’s no immediacy to the investigation.

And both crimes in this book fit this category, but the attention each was given felt lopsided. The murders of the Hadler family was the most recent, it is what pulled Falk back to his shitty hometown. This is what he’s supposed to be investigating, it’s where the red herrings and misdirection come into play, but the characters seemed too emotionally focused on the death of Falk’s friend Ellie from 20 years ago, while no one cared too much about Luke except for his parents.

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Review: Caged (Agent Sayer Altair, #1) by Ellison Cooper

36743024★★★★

Opening Hook: Jigsaw meets the Unabomber

Main Character: Baggage fees at the airport are getting expensive.

Plot Twisty-ness: Forgot to slip the reader some DMT.


Okay, here’s my issue, I really over-hyped myself for this one.

I heard “police procedural” and “FBI agent” and “serial killer” and just lost my ever-loving crime fiction booknerd mind, expecting to fall rapidly in love with this; for it to be everything I need a book with those descriptors to be. I consciously recognized that I was doing it, in the moment, and I made a decision to allow myself be hyped for this. Which in any other circumstance, would have been against my better judgement.

…and almost immediately once I started reading, I needed to readjust my expectations because I knew I would be massively disappointed otherwise.

So no, this was not the mind blowing read I wanted it to be. BUT it was still good and I’m definitely on board for this as a series.

It has a very dark atmosphere with a Criminal Minds vibe. Profilers and some bureaucracy, but mostly disturbing puzzles that need solving. And this completely connected with me, bringing together a lot of my favourite things, especially the psychology behind murder.

It’s heavy on the procedural, medium on the twists (focused on the science side of the evidence, and less on physical events) and low thrills. But that’s pretty typical for procedurals.

There are some explosions, traps and tricks and disturbing content – namely puppies and kittens in danger that will definitely stir your feels if you are anything like me.

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Review: Orange is the New Black – My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman

8141503★★

I, like most people with a Netflix account and a pulse, love the Orange in the New Black tv series. And it just so happens that the new season premieres this week!

I picked this book up for that reason alone – I was curious about the real story after binging the current season in 13 hours.

Consider me a fan of the TV show, only.

Where the show excels is in the treatment of each and every woman – their individual lives are honoured, never discounted, or treated as the token bit player to Piper’s privileged white girl. They are real and honest and palpable. All walks of life given equal value, time and courtesy.

But this book was…not that.

It came across as such: I’m just a white girl who made one mistake. What an oopsie-doopsie to get involved with drug dealers trafficking for an international drug ring. I didn’t mean to traffic drugs to other countries. Can’t you ever forgive me? Can’t you see how hard I tried to get my life back on track and stop being a lesbian? I met a nice boy, I got a good job and now I’m a productive citizen. Doesn’t that count for anything when the snitches open their big mouths and I end up in prison? No? Ok. I’m ever so scared of being in prison, but I won’t show it. I am a stoic warrior princess. I’ll bite my tongue and do my time surrounded by all these women of colour – some of them even like me even though I’m white. Blonde and white. Just call me ‘Blondie’ *wink*. The Latino girls say I have street smarts. All these ethnic ladies are actually really nice. And they’ve taught me so much about what it means to not be white. Which is totally fine with me, I promise. And I consider so many of them friends, that when I left prison I was kind of sad to leave them all behind to continue doing their years and years of time after my measly 15 months. I felt bad.

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Review: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore★★★

I went into this book pretty blind. I wasn’t totally sure what it was about…maybe a bookstore called Bright Ideas? Something to do with suicide? But it kept popping up on my feed, and when a mystery novel has “bookstore” right in the title, how can a genre-lover like me resist? Plus, that cover! Come on!

It’s not often that I go into a book without a clear idea of what I’m about to read. I can be pretty particular in my reading criteria, so I’m not necessarily good at the whole “oh, just surprise me!” thing. My personal levels of neurosis start to kick in when I hear words like go with the flow or spontaneity.

This novel starts immediately. Not dicking around. And I was pretty hopeful that meant I was buckling in for a cozy little thriller with a side of dark sass.

Bookseller Lydia is closing up shop at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. She goes to look for regular “BookFrog” Joseph Molina, who hasn’t left the store yet. She finds him hanging. Suicide. She can’t figure out why Joseph would choose to commit suicide in her shop. But even more curious is why he died with a picture from her 10th birthday in his pocket. The mystery becomes too much to ignore when she inherits Joseph’s belongings and finds coded messages for her inside his books.

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Review: The Walls by Hollie Overton

“Love blinds us all…”

34867003★★★

I’m on the fence about this one.

I feels like it doesn’t really know what it wants to be – A domestic thriller? Or a contemporary drama?

It touches on a lot of heavy subjects – domestic abuse, the justice system, the morality of the death penalty, wrongful convictions, motherhood and family and guilt and self-preservation. But it lacks the depth and analysis to be an emotional drama. And it’s missing the suspense and sinister atmosphere to be a thriller. Ultimately, it leaves a lot of these themes exposed, but not examined. And that felt unfinished to me.

For a story about a single mother who has to plan a murder to save her family from her abusive new husband, this was exceptionally slow and, and at times, straight up boring.

The first 40% is all build up, focusing on the story of Kristy and Lance – how they met, following the progression of their relationship from dating to marriage. I was not expecting this much emphasis on the romantic element. I experienced a cloud of confusion lingering around my reading experience. I kept thinking do I keep reading this? I didn’t want to read a romance? Is anything going to fucking happen?!

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