Review: Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

“I’d heard it before, of course, usually from my mother. A nasty, cold-blooded, selfish, grasping, uppity, ungrateful goddamn little bitch. And I know that to be true. I could feel the coldness in my own veins.”

40941435★★★★

Opening Hook: More like opening another button, amiright?!

Main Character: Your new best sociopathic friend #4eva

Plot Twisty-ness: Jane’s plot could have used a tab more plotting, but otherwise satisfying in a totally sexual way


I really really liked this.

On the surface it’s the story of a woman hellbent on revenge for the suicide of her best friend, Meg. Her target: Meg’s abusive ex-boyfriend, Steven.

Jane leaves her expensive high-powered lawyer life in Kuala Lumpur behind, and moved to Minneapolis, giving herself a month or so to infiltrate Steven’s life and make him wish he’d never been born.

LIKE OMG SO FUN.

So that’s the basic idea of the novel. And already I know you’re thinking, “I’ve always wanted to change my identity and ruin someone’s life. Revenge is the best. Sign me up.”

But when you look past the surface, when you go a little bit deeper, you see that this is actually a novel of patriarchy-smashing awesomeness, as well as a giant middle finger to the hypocrisy of Evangelical Christians.

And that last part just feels so right it turned me on a little bit.

Continue reading “Review: Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone”

Review: It Takes One (Audrey Harte, #1) by Kate Kessler

“Doing a bad thing doesn’t make you a bad person. People do bad things for the right reasons all the time.”

28098777★★★★½

Opening Hook: Better classified as a “meltdown”

Main Character: Small town child murderer

Plot Twisty-ness: The definition of twisty


Audrey Hart left Edgeport years ago after being released from the local juvie, Stillwater, for killing her best friend, Maggie’s, father when they were teenagers. She doesn’t regret it for a second – Maggie’s father was a daughter-raping piece of shit, and killing him – and the consequences that followed – have made Audrey who she is today: a successful child psychologist and contributor to a true crime tv show, Kids Who Kill.

When Audrey gets a call to return home to Edgeport, she’s dreading it. The whispers, the glances – all eyes are always on her whenever she’s in town. That is certainly true when Audrey walks into the local watering hole to pick up her drunk-ass father and Maggie spots her. They speak for the first time in years and it’s not friendly. Audrey gets mean, Maggie gets nasty, gets pushed onto her ass and Audrey storms off. The next morning Maggie is dead on the beach and Audrey is a suspect. 

So begins all the twisted, romantic, dramatic events that will lead to the disturbing and twisted discovery of just what exactly happened to Maggie. And when I say twisted, I mean twisted. There is so much history to unravel, so many secrets and lies to uncover, that while there aren’t necessarily many “thrilling” or “dangerous” moments, you are totally engaged the whole time.

Continue reading “Review: It Takes One (Audrey Harte, #1) by Kate Kessler”

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. 

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

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: 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 to 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 the murders.

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.

Continue reading “Review: Caged (Agent Sayer Altair, #1) by Ellison Cooper”

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

31138734★★★★

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.)

LoveMurder has a very Hannibal Lecter/Clarice Starling feel to it, which is probably every serial-killer-thriller fan’s favourite thing ever…Amiright?!

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

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.”

31926619★★★★

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.”

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Review: The Drowned Girls (Angie Pallorino, #1) by Loreth Anne White

31340014★★★★½

Opening Hook: Protect your lady-bits

Main Character: Sex-addict realness

Plot Twisty-ness: Procedural B+


I’m telling you right now, this book is the motherfucking shit.

Not even an exaggeration, honey.

And it’s the shit for one reason. Yes, it’s got murder. Yes, it’s got sex. Yes, it’s got a psycho serial killer. Yes, it’s hitting that fine line in the level of detail. Yes, it reads like real life honesty. Yes, it’s got gore. Yes, it takes place in C to the A to the N to the A to the D to the A…

Hold on, did I spell that right? *goes back to check* Yep.

CANADA!

But listen to me readers and lovers, without Detective Angie Pallorino as a lead character we would be sitting at a three star rating That’s just the truth.

Was there anything astonishing about the story line? Not really. It’s interesting, but at the end of the day it’s a police procedural. Extra points for taking place in Canada and getting my patriotic self a little hyped about that, because I’m always reading books that take place in the UK or the US – and quite honestly I’ve had just about enough of the United States at this CRAZY Trump Juncture – but, I’m pretty sure serial killers obsessed with religious bullshit has been done to death.

But do you know what’s not done to death?

Serial killers obsessed with religious bullshit who are being hunted by Angie Pallorino.

Alison Brie Kiss GIF by GLOW Netflix

Continue reading “Review: The Drowned Girls (Angie Pallorino, #1) by Loreth Anne White”

Review: The Fifth To Die (A 4MK Thriller, #2) by J.D. Barker

“You can’t play God without being acquainted with the devil. “

35721148★★★★½

This is what you have to know going into the 4MK series:

This story is a marathon, not a sprint.

And I’m not just talking about this particular book, number two in the series.

J.D. Barker has crafted a rich, intricate world full of robust, personality-driven characters, and advanced story telling technique. And he is presenting it to us, the reader, one giant novel at a time.

You don’t get conclusions around here. There is no end until it ends.

It’s a train that never stops. It is always moving towards the next destination in this 4MK world where you’ll be given new threads and new clues and new revelations that puts one more puzzle piece into the jumbled picture that is Anson Bishop and Detective Porter.

This series is detailed, not so much in visual description, but in depth of narrative and connections. They are flying all over the place, from past to present, from case to case. It could be too much maybe for some readers, but for me, it filled me with joy at how vast this puzzle really is.

And I don’t want to oversell this, but HOLY SHIT, YOU GUYS, IT’S THE GREATEST THING OUT THERE RIGHT NOW ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH.

…yeah, that feels like the right amount of cap locks.

Continue reading “Review: The Fifth To Die (A 4MK Thriller, #2) by J.D. Barker”

Review: Brave by Rose McGowan

35068683★★★★

It doesn’t feel right “rating” an autobiography, especially one as intense and personal as this one, so consider my stars more of a decoration than a judgement.

Rose McGowan is an actress that had a significant presence in my formative years. (Favourite movie of all time: Scream. One of my favourite TV shows of all time: Charmed.) So, going into reading this, after the downfall of Harvey Weinstein, I felt a little bit of a connection to her. In some ways I grew up with her. Perhaps that affects my opinion of this book, as opposed to someone that saw Death Proof once or remembers her from that time she walked the red carpet at the MTV VMAs essentially naked.

I know this is not the typical book review you might expect to find on a blog dedicated to mysteries and thrillers, but I believe this is an important one to read. For me personally, as a feminist and as a woman, but also just in general. All people should be reading this book. End of.

Whether you agree with her opinions or not, there is so much in this novel that will make you think, make you reconsider an opinion or give you a new perspective you might not have considered.

Continue reading “Review: Brave by Rose McGowan”