Review: Finlay Donovan is Killing It (Finlay Donovan, #1) by Elle Cosimano

“And to think you were worried about a damn shower curtain. Nothing says ‘serial killer’ like a chest freezer in a garage.”

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★★★★★

Minotaur Books | 2021

Filed Under: Contract killer is yoga pants


This must be the year where I just can’t take anymore terrible shitty shitty shit, that all of my favourite things have become fun, light, optimistic good times. I’m as shocked as you are, I’ll creep it real.

I did not see this shift in my life coming, I just know it’s here so I’m leaning into it. If we want to get all therapy-lite about it, I definitely know it’s a response to these COVID times.

I’ve had it up to my double chin with this planet, so all the things that have lit my feelings on fire in 2021 have been good good stuff, you know?

For the last couple months, there hasn’t been a true-crime doc or horror movie insight. I’ve rewatched Notting Hill and You’ve Got Mail like half a dozen times.

Ted Lasso? I am fucking IN LOVE with him. I wait for Friday nights like a child waiting for Saturday morning cartoons. Not because I’m excited for the weekend, but because I need me some Lasso sweetness and Roy Kent grunts. Simple as that.

And when it comes to books? Finlay Donovan is Killing It might just be my favourite read of 2021 (so far – it’s only September, so who knows what the end of the year will bring.) Trust me when I tell you, I was not fucking expecting that when I borrow this from the library, but here we are.

What Is Happening Whats Going On GIF by A24
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Review: They Never Learn by Layne Fargo

“He wasn’t afraid of me…That was his first mistake.”

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★★★★½

Gallery/Scout Press | 2020

Filed Under: A stress ball shaped like balls.


You’ll have to excuse me – I’m coming off of a conversation today where I learned some very disturbing things about two friends of a friend who are both going through new separations from their husbands. When I tell you both of these ladies are being emotionally abused and mistreated by pieces of TRASH – ugh. So anyway, my feminist rage is absolutely chaotic at the moment and that might come out in this review.

Why? Because this novel is a dark, feminist revenge fantasy and it was amazing.

It’s Dexter meets Hard Candy meets Thelma and Louise.

I fucking loved it. Let’s drive over the cliff, baby! But let’s kill some fucking sexist bastards before we go!

If that sounds like your kind of thing, please read this novel. It’s deeply satisfying.

“Killing a man is so much more satisfying than fucking a man could ever be.”

Scarlett Clarke is an English professor at Gorman University by day, and by night she’s a serial killer. So fun. We all need hobbies. Much like Dexter, Scarlett only targets those that she believes deserve to be murdered – however much someone can deserve to be murdered is an abstract moral question that we just do not have time to get into around here. I have things to do.

Continue reading “Review: They Never Learn by Layne Fargo”

Review: The Whisper Man by Alex North

If your lonely, sad, and blue, the whisper man will come for you.

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★★★★★

Caledon Books | 2019

Filed Under: Your kid’s dead imaginary friend


I’m usually super hesitant to read a book that is making the rounds on the Hype Train Express. I tend to be disappointed; closing the book only to be like, “well, I definitely read this wrong? What is everyone talking about?” (But let’s be real, I’m not actually reading the books wrong.)

Either way, none of that applies this time. To quote Bailey Sarian: Nay, nay I say! The Whisper Man by Alex North gets an enthusiastic 5-stars from me. Like so enthusiastic, it’s almost sexual.

Toot-fucking-toot, bitches!

This book legit unnerved me and I can’t say that happens very often. Because I’m dead inside? Likely. Because I read so much dark fiction? More likely. But with this one, I was turning on the lights and setting my home alarm. This was dark and twisty and creepy AF.

A few choice moments started to weave a seemingly supernatural theme into the plotline, but it was never blatant so I didn’t know what I was reading until it all came together. North kept me on the edge of my seat, tips of my toes and the end of my last nerve for the entire novel. I fucking loved it. I don’t feel like I have enough words to fully explain to you just how much I loved this, so, have this gif instead:

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This is the level I’m at.

Continue reading “Review: The Whisper Man by Alex North”

Review: The Dark Corners of Night (UNSUB, #3) by Meg Gardiner

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★★★★★

Blackstone Publishing | 2018

Opening Hook: Scared a little pee out of me

Main Character: Badass and damaged

Plot Twisty-ness: A fucking salty, twisted pretzel


Alright listen, I know this rating is not coming as a shock to many of you. If you have been paying any attention to my reviews and posts, then you know this one novel truth (pun intended) about me: I FUCKING LOVE MEG GARDINER. I cannot control my bias when it comes to her books, apparently. I love all of them. I think they’re all the best things I’ve ever read until I read the next one. She’s a fucking BRILLIANT writer and I want to be her when I grow up. That’s just the way it is. I’m not sorry.

But I understand why you might want to take my reviews of her work with a grain of salt. Honestly, I can’t even tell at this point how much my opinion has been influenced by total infatuation. My critical style seems to completely malfunction when I read her books. Or, there’s just nothing to be critical of. Who can say? It’s all so subjective.

But there it is. I’m putting it all out there for you before I start writing this review.

I’m a total Gardiner fan girl and so far she can do no wrong in my eyes.

i love her premiere GIF by America's Next Top Model
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Review: Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

“Nothing says “fuck off” like eyeliner as dark and heavy as my soul.”

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★★★★★

Razorbill | 2018

Opening Hook: Crawling out of your own grave.

Main Character: REPRESENT.

Plot Witchy-ness: Wiccans do it better.


FINALLY! It’s been 84 years… Okay, no it’s only been like four or five, but it’s true! I have FINALLY found a YA novel that I genuinely LOVED.

Thank you, Lily Anderson. It’s been a fucking struggle to get here, just like the old woman from the Titanic.

This novel is part murder mystery, part witchy supernatural fun, and part teen drama but with none of the cheesy dialogue or after-school special bullshit that is usually the reason I’ve disliked every YA novel I’ve tried to read.

There’s none of that here. This is mature in the writing, appropriate for teens but not annoying to adults. It has relatable plot points for every reader, with a mystery element that takes the spotlight instead of things like “we held hands once, are we dating now?”

chelsea peretti ew GIF by Brooklyn Nine-Nine

This is a passionate, fun, interesting and original YA story that everyone should be reading. Maybe everyone already has and I’m late to the party, but still, read it!

Continue reading “Review: Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson”

Review: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

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★★★★★

Quirk Books | 2016

Opening Hook: Don’t take acid in the woods.

Main Character: The power of Christ compels her.

Plot Twisty-ness: E.T. attending an exorcism.


I 👏 FUCKING 👏 LOVED 👏 THIS.

I own Horrorstör by this author, but I haven’t read it yet. I only bought it for the cover and format, without any idea of what the book was about or if I liked the author. And honestly, I wanted to read My Best Friend’s Exorcism for the same reason. This is 100% a “#bookstagram made me do it” read.

The alternate cover is gorgeous VHS 80s goodness. And the yearbook format print that I had was goddamn adorable. I literally read every single message written on the front and back covers with unabashed nerdy glee.

Clearly, Grady Hendrix is killing the book format game and there’s nothing that turns me on more than someone who throws cliches out the window and walks a creative path less followed in writing. It’s like half the reason I married my husband, who wrote me bizarre poetry on the reg.

But, it turns out Hendrix is also killing the horror writing game because this is one of my most favourite books that I’ve read in a while. And I’m so bummed it wasn’t in my life so much sooner.

I STAN GRADY HENDRIX SO FUCKING HARD.

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Review: City of Windows (Lucas Page, #1) by Robert Pobi

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★★★★½

Minotaur Books | 2019

Opening Hook: Stop for a pedestrian, get shot by a sniper. The moral is, stop being polite.

Main Character: Excuse me, sir, your glass eye is upside down.

Plot Twisty-ness: Once you get off the soapbox, it’s a complex, snow-covered road.


Okay, listen up! You want to read this book.

If I could tie you up for completely non-sexual sexual reasons, and force you to read this, I wouldn’t because I am a strong supporter of consent. But you should still read this, regardless of if I am exerting my will over you or not.

I’m going to go full Stefan right now and say this book’s got everything! Blood, guts, impressive sniper shots and lots of action. There’s a retired FBI agent with one eye, a prosthetic leg, five foster children, dead old rich lady flashbacks and a dope ability to solve crimes using mathematical algorithms that he does in his head just by looking at things. Seriously, he mental-MacGyver’s the fuck out of some crime scenes.

It’s like borderline dumb but also really cool, so I’m not mad about it.

There’s a terrible blizzard, right-wing anti-government bad guys that I love to see get bitch-slapped, lots of striking political commentary and current-as-hell themes tying the whole thing together.

Booknerds, you have to hear the words coming out of my metaphorical mouth right now: Robert Pobi is a firecracker writer!

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I’m beating myself up that I’ve not read him sooner.

Continue reading “Review: City of Windows (Lucas Page, #1) by Robert Pobi”

Review: Working Stiff – Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell

“To confront death every day, to see it yourself, you have to love the living.”

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★★★★★

Scribner | 2014

Opening Autopsy: Putting the Y-incision in the “Y-incision party!”

Main Medical Examiner: A nerd goddess.

Plot Truthy-ness: Just a doctor who loves her work and wants to share it.


Oh. My. Fairy. Godmother. I loved this fucking book!

Judy Melinek is my new role model/inspiration board/personal icon.

Goddamn, this was some good stuff.

Dr. Judy Melinek – amazing human being and most badass bitch I’ve read about it since I can’t even remember when – takes you on a journey through the first two years of her career after she started a forensic pathology fellowship at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City.

I swear to the god of thunder, this bitch is living the dreams I would have had if I hadn’t recognized early on in my life that I have zero talent or brain cells dedicated to understanding science.

The romanticized/dramatized version of being an M.E. is that it’s all homicides all the time, and that you’re in the shit with the detectives solving crimes.

And that’s really not at all accurate. I mean I totally knew that on a logically level, but I still love those crime shows. So sue me.

Continue reading “Review: Working Stiff – Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell”

Review: No Exit by Taylor Adams

“The difference between a hero and a victim? Timing.” 

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★★★★★

William Morrow | January 2019

Opening Hook: Did we learn nothing about isolated rest stops from Halloween?!

Main Character: Lady McGuyver.

Plot Twisty-ness: Hold-onto-your-bits thrills with a side of snow.


This is my first 5-star read of the year. And thank the god of thunder, because I was starting to get a little cranky since nothing has really been knocking my tits off. Whose fault is that really? Mine? Because of my choices? Get out of here! I don’t want to hear it!

Lalalala…

Reading No Exit was an exercise in cinematic writing. It would be easy to say it was written with a movie option in mind (and maybe it was,) but my gut tells me that what actually happened here is that the plotting and timing of the story are so good, that it comes across in vibrant cinematic scenes in the reader’s mind. And therefore, seems like it should be a movie. And it definitely should.

I would honestly give this five stars just based on the writing skill alone. It was that seamless and riveting. And my friends and regular readers know I don’t give out my stars easily. You have to earn this shit from me. You want easy stars? Go to the reviewers who aren’t dead inside with a stick up their ass.

It’s all ass sticks here, baby!

I do it because I love you and I want you to have an honest opinion from someone who isn’t worried about feelings and blah blah blah.

andre braugher brooklyn 99 GIF by Brooklyn Nine-Nine
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Review: Any Man by Amber Tamblyn

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★★★★★ (x infinity)

Harper Perennial | 2018

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.

Continue reading “Review: Any Man by Amber Tamblyn”