Review: The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist – A True Story of Injustice in the American South by Radley Balko & Tucker Carrington

33296669

★★★★

Public Affairs | 2018

Filed Under: *flips a table and screams*


Well, shit.

This book is sobering AF.

It’s robust, in-depth and densely investigated from every angle, with the authors conducting over 200 interviews and reviewing thousands of pages of court documents to deftly present to readers all the ins and outs of a corrupt system.

I’m wholly impressed with this nonfiction account of Mississippi’s completely fucking horrific justice system and two men in particular who should be punched in the throat every time they step outside.

Like, top to bottom, what the actual fuck are we doing as a society that anything in this book was allowed to happen?

I took some time after reading this before writing my review because I needed to collect my thoughts and emotions – namely rage. Now that I’m sitting here writing this, I’m realizing I’ve actually not gathered myself at all and I’m back to confusion, rage and endless judgement.

Arrested Development Judging You GIF

Broadly, this book looks at bad forensics, institutionalized racism in the justice system and shitty white men finding loopholes galore because of laws written by other shitty white men and other other shitty white men willing to cover asses to “get the job done,” so that in the end, all the shitty white men are richer and more powerful at the expense of truth, justice and people’s freedom.

It’s fucking disgusting, honestly. But not surprising either.

Continue reading “Review: The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist – A True Story of Injustice in the American South by Radley Balko & Tucker Carrington”

Review: Cackle by Rachel Harrison

“He fears me because he is small. I will not meet him there. I will not shrink myself down to his size, or anyone else’s, for their comfort. For their appeasement.”

56637938

★★★★

Berkely Books | 2021

Filed Under: Feminist Witch Bitch Lit


Don’t let the synopsis and marketing for this book fool you. This is not horror. This is not a thriller. This is a cozy semi-mystery with Gilmore Girls meets Practical Magic vibes and a feminist tilt.

While I might have been expecting horror initially, I adjusted my expectations and ended up really liking this. It’s fucking cute and reads like Rachel Harrison has found her writing niche with this novel.

I really liked Harrison’s first novel, The Return. That was definitely horror but with a heavy female-friendship theme that propelled the plot. Cackle follows in those footsteps, but abandons horror for delightful supernatural elements, like the friendly, top-hat-wearing spider that sleeps under a little blanket at night.

Cute Spider GIFs | Tenor
Continue reading “Review: Cackle by Rachel Harrison”

Review: Haus by P.J. Vernon

55654025

★★★★

Doubleday Books | 2021

Filed Under: Apparently, there’s not a lot of bathing in a bathhouse


Honestly, can we get more gay thrillers, please!

“Popular” mystery/thriller fiction is lacking in LGBTQ+ centred stories and we all know it or a book like this wouldn’t be such a breath of fresh air. And that makes no fucking sense to me, if reactions to this book are any indication – there is obviously an audience for these stories in the thriller world. Like, the only difference between Bath Haus and a typical mainstream thriller is that the sex was hotter.

Truth Reaction GIF by MOODMAN

This novel was all juicy drama and twists, and I was totally enthralled. It was near perfection, except for oThis novel was all juicy drama and twists, and I was totally enthralled. It was near perfection, except that it takes its sweet time hitting the gas in the plot. Like there’s a whole scene of a medical conference speed. Zzzz I don’t care. But once you get past the first 100 pages, the story really settles into its stride.

Oliver, a reformed drug addict with a shady past, and his doctor husband, Nathan, have a beautiful life from the outside – a gorgeous renovated home, money and successful careers. But just like a perfectly curated Instagram account, looks can be deceiving. Nathan is controlling and Oliver is bored. So as the saying goes, when the cat’s away the mice will play.

While Nathan is away at a conference, Oliver and his wandering eye take a trip to a private, sexy bathhouse called Haus. Oliver ends up being terrifyingly assaulted by a perspective hook-up and that’s when shit really goes off the rails.

Continue reading “Review: Haus by P.J. Vernon”

Mini-Review Dump 💩: The First One You Expect, The Pale White, The Bell Chime and Murder House | Horror Reads Under 150 Pages!

All the novellas in this post are under 150 pages and are available for free through Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Prime Reading.

And unlike my previous post, I actually liked most of these.

Snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

Reviews in this post:

  • The First One You Expect by C.V. Hunt
  • The Pale White by Chad Lutzke
  • The Bell Chime by Mona Kabbani
  • Murder House by C.V. Hunt
Continue reading “Mini-Review Dump 💩: The First One You Expect, The Pale White, The Bell Chime and Murder House | Horror Reads Under 150 Pages!”

Mini-Review Dump💩: Between Good and Evil, Crime Beat, Chasing the Devil & Death in the City of Light | #NonFictionNovember

Hey, it’s definitely not November anymore but that’s when I read all of these!

So in terms of blogging, not great. But in terms of reading, very good. I’m calling it 50/50. Technically a C-, but also an A for effort.

Spoiler! I didn’t really like any of them…

True Crime Laugh GIF by Dateline NBC

Reviews in this post:

  • Between Good and Evil: A Master Profilers Hunt for Society’s Most Violent Predators by Roger L. Depue
  • Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers by Michael Connelly
  • Chasing the Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer by David Reichert
  • Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris by David King
Continue reading “Mini-Review Dump💩: Between Good and Evil, Crime Beat, Chasing the Devil & Death in the City of Light | #NonFictionNovember”

Review: The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig

“Life’s fucked up. It just is. It’s got ups and downs and I say it’s worse not appreciating the good things, because then what’s the point? It’s like the Native Americans used to say, right? Gotta use all of the buffalo. Life is a whole damn animal, and you can’t waste any part of it.”

55782435

★★★★½

Del Rey Books | 2021

Filed Under: It’s only missing Voldemort


Oooo shit, this is one hell of a novel.

Coming in at nearly 600 pages, it looks like an intimidating read and ya girl is definitely not a fan of thicc novels, but let me tell you, this does not read like a big ass book.

There is so much happening all of the time in every single chapter, that the pace never takes its foot off the gas. You fly through this fat-bottom girl like… I don’t have a metaphor for this, but whatever. It’s a fast read is my point. You get it. And that’s a testament to Wendig’s plotting and writing voice.

I’m calling Wendig the Tolkein of horror because this book is an epic. This couldn’t be a movie. It would need to be a TV series to fit in every scene – they are all important and if anything was cut out I would fucking riot. Don’t get it twisted though, I don’t mean Tolkein in the boring, over-detailed way J.R.R. does fantasy.

Don’t come for me Tolkein stans! I don’t care! You know reading about thirty different kinds of rocks and trees is boring AF.

deny lil yachty GIF by Genius
Continue reading “Review: The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig”

Review: It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan

49050947

★★★

Crooked Lane Books | 2020

Filed Under: Damien babies as birth control


I love gothic horror and I love haunted houses, so this book had all the balls in its court from the jump. Big balls, little balls. Balls of all sorts. We don’t discriminate around here.

But there was one serious downer that stood out for me: this is a wordy motherfucker.

When it comes to a genre novel that should be building suspense, dread and thrills because the story requires it, being too long or a maniac with purple prose can be a serious issue. The only time length isn’t an issue, is when the plot events are making up that length, like so much is happening it requires extra pages.

In this case, it wasn’t that there was so much story to tell, and certainly the page count isn’t very high, but rather that the author was far too interested in metaphors and purple prose and just couldn’t stop using them. Like, an intervention was needed. Without all that filler, this would probably be closer to being a novella.

Offspring on TEN offspring offspringonten GIF
Continue reading “Review: It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan”

Review: A Dark and Secret Place by Jen Williams

55968581

★★★

Crooked Lane Books | 2021

Filed Under: A casserole that gets jail married to a serial killer and then does an episode of Dateline to explain why he’s actually innocent.


There are so many pieces of this novel that, individually, are dark and spooky and twisted and should have been captivating. But all those pieces put together in this way, in this particular narrative, just didn’t grab me by the literary bits like I was hoping it would.

When Heather Evans’ mother dies by suicide, she is left with a suicide note that doesn’t make much sense and a box full of letters from serial killer Michael Reeve, aka the Red Wolf.

No one ever truly knows another person because our inner lives are impossible to share. That coupled with how complicated it can be to know your parents outside of their roles as your parents, leaves Heather reeling.

Let’s be honest, if you found out your mom was besties with a serial killer who had hacked up some woman twenty years ago, you’d have a few fucking questions, too. And Heather, a journalist by trade (though currently disgraced,) has got some questions that she just can’t resist investigating. Who was her mother? Why was she so close to a serial killer? And I know Heather didn’t say it outright, but we’re all thinking it at some point – did her mother fuck a serial killer?

Reno 911 GIF by The Roku Channel
Continue reading “Review: A Dark and Secret Place by Jen Williams”

Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

“Every house has a story. Ours is a ghost story. It’s also a lie. And now that yet another person has died within these walls, it’s finally time to tell the truth.”

50833559. sx318 sy475

★★★★

Dutton Books | 2020

Filed Under: I’m not in the habit of blaming Satan for every phenomenon.


I wish this had fully been a horror story because, from the bottom of my bottom, I know Riley Sager could totally kill a haunted house horror novel.

But, this is like haunted house horror adjacent. It’s intentionally walking that line of fact or fiction, skepticism or belief. You never really know what you’re going to get with each new chapter.

Home Before Dark is a little bit spooky with a touch of Amityville vibes and lots of that signature Sager misdirection and twisty-twists. But it does read like more of a mystery-thriller.

When Maggie Holt’s father dies, she inherits the haunted house she lived in for 15 days when she was 5-years-old, totally unaware that her father still owned it. She and her parents fled in the middle of the night from Baneberry Hall and never returned, claiming the house was going to murder them, basically. Her father even wrote a bestseller about it that gained the family national fame and scorn. Just like the real Amityville – who many believe was a long-con by the family – not everyone believes the Holt family’s claims. Not even Maggie.

Now a house-flipper and designer, Maggie was too young to really remember what happened, but she’s sure her father’s book is whole ass bullshit. Any time she’s tried to get the truth from her parents they are dodgy and shady AF. Now her dad’s gone and her mom is all “I’m leaving for Paris!” so if Maggie wants the truth, she’ll need to search for it herself.

What is one to do with an abandoned haunted manor that probably holds the key to all Maggie’s questions? Flip it and sell it, obviously. But to do that, Maggie needs to move back in. And she’s like I ain’t afraid of no ghost! and she moves the fuck in even though her father used his final words to be like don’t fucking do that. She did it.

scary movie GIF
Continue reading “Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager”