Merry Everything & Happy Whatever!

This is just a short post to say I wish you all a very Merry Everything and a Happy Whatever!

Whatever you celebrate, whoever you are – unless you’re a fucking asshole – I wish nothing but the best for you this holiday season and in the new year. If you’re down with Santa, I hope he is good to you… but I’m so sure he has an ass-load of coal to give out, too. Seems like an array of dickbags revealed themselves in 2020.

Speaking of dicks, we’re almost done with 2020!!!

And what a wild-ass trip it has been.

Between political dumpster fires, uprisings in social movements, environmental catastrophes and a global pandemic the likes of which we haven’t seen in a century – I’m fucking exhausted. Aren’t you?

Jason Bateman Snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

I don’t think any of us could have predicted the kind of emotional and mental toll 2020 was going to take. The changes we would make, the lives we would lose… it has been almost unprecedented… 1918 shoutout!

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Review: The Return by Rachel Harrison

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★★★½

Berkley | 2020

Opening Hook: Not Reese Witherspoon in Wild

Main Character: Hopeful, despite the rotted teeth

Plot Twisty-ness: Unexpected body horror


This was definitely interesting. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but that isn’t a bad thing this time. It’s a novel I won’t soon forget and the catalyst for my decision to not read horror novels involving teeth for the rest of my fucking life. Thank you very much.

This is hard to review because it’s essentially a spoiler minefield from beginning to end, but I’ll do my best to explain why you should read this book if you’re looking for, what I’m calling, Girls’ Weekend Horror.

Honestly, I didn’t hate this. I might have actually really liked it. I think my expectations were tempered by the abundance of disappointed reviews I came across before I ever cracked this one open – and by cracked open, I mean swiped open because #netgalley. I get some of the criticisms, but for me, I had a good time. And I wasn’t even high!

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Review: The Chill by Scott Carson

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★★

Atria | 2020

Opening Hook: Drowning an entire village

Main Character: Can’t stop, won’t stop talking about dams

Plot Twisty-ness: Drowned along with the village


I’ll be honest, I read this book in July 2020 and it was so fucking boring that to write a review now is going to be difficult. All I know for sure is that it was a snoozer when it was supposed to be a pee-in-your-pants supernatural horror/thriller.

So, we’re off to a great start.

Basically, the small village of Galesburg in upstate-New York was flooded a century ago to create the Chilewaukee reservoir – nicknamed The Chill – to provide water to millions of southern New Yorkers. Of course, Galesburg residents weren’t super psyched to have their hometown put underwater, which is totally understandable, but there wasn’t much they could do about it. It was a political decision that was moving ahead whether they liked it or not – their town was being confiscated.

That didn’t mean, however, that the townsfolk would go down without a fight. They banded together, starting a fierce rebellion that promised to kick ass and get revenge, no matter how many lives were lost along the way.

But, you know, government versus village rebellion means the government won.

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Review: Cut to the Bone (Agent Sayer Altair, #3) by Ellison Cooper

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★★★★

Minotaur Books | 2020

Opening Hook: STEM stands for Soon They’ll End up Murdered

Main Character: Still waiting for that inanimate object to come to life

Plot Twisty-ness: Goes over the conspiracy top


Not that it matters in the long run, but I wish this had a single-word title. The first novel is Caged, the second is Buried. And the third one, Cut to the Bone, is fucking up the title flow for me. But whatever, I’m weird so shit like this bothers me. I’ll talk to my therapist about it.

Then again, sticking too closely to a title gimmick can become fucking stupid. Just look at literally any series by James Patterson. At this point, most of his titles don’t even make sense to the plot.

But enough about my arch-nemesis…

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What really matters here is that Ellison Cooper is getting better and better at producing quality thriller stories with each new novel. Cut to the Bone is non-stop action from the very first chapter, and while some moments got a little too extra for me – things I won’t mention because of spoilers – overall this was an intelligent and intricately plotted novel that should be on every thriller fan’s TBR. I would, however, suggest reading the whole series from the beginning because I feel Cooper’s strongest attribute as a writer are character arcs which evolve with each new novel. She really knows how to keep a long-game plot rolling.

Continue reading “Review: Cut to the Bone (Agent Sayer Altair, #3) by Ellison Cooper”

Review: Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman

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★★

Ballantine Books | 2020

Opening Hook: Amnesiac beach bum

Main Character: Needs a hobby

Plot Twisty-ness: A flatliner


This is such a bummer for me. I really loved Steadman’s debut novel, Something in the Water (though I’m chalking up about 33% of that to the audiobook narration, which was fucking stellar,) so I was eager to get my hands on her follow-up, Mr. Nobody.

But… *fart noises*

This isn’t the first time I’ve been disappointed by a sophomore novel and it won’t be the last, but it’s still a bummer.

Mr. Nobody is the most vanilla – and slightly annoying – thriller I’ve read this year.

I know I can get a bit spicy like chicken wing sauce when I write negative reviews, but then there are times like these where I’m just bummed out that I didn’t like something.

I’m Eeyore writing this fucking review right now.

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That might change the further I get into writing this. Sometimes I can work up a bad attitude from nothing. It’s like magic.

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Review: You All Grow Up and Leave Me by Piper Weiss

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William Morrow | 2018

Opening Crime: Bondage Cabin in the Woods

Main Psychopath: Toss-up between the pervert and the author

Plot Truthy-ness: Dear Diary…


This is the weirdest “true crime” novel I’ve ever read.

First, because it’s mostly a memoir about someone who was not involved in any crime at all. And second, because the crime is an attempted crime. Spoiler alert, I guess? While I’m sure it was traumatizing for the women involved, in the context of a true-crime novel, nothing happened that could fill up an entire book. And what’s weirder, the author uses the attempted crime against someone else to question-plague herself for twenty+ years about why no one ever tried to kidnap and rape her.

Like, I just…

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DNF Review: The Deep by Alma Katsu

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★½

G.P. Putnam’s Sons | 2020

DNF’d @ 67%


I really gave this the old college try, you guys. Honestly. I kept reading, pushing forward like… an… iceberg? No. That’s a terrible analogy. Whatever. I was waiting for this novel to get scary or interesting, but at a certain point – 67% to be precise – I just couldn’t waste my precious reading time anymore.

Side note: Where does “old college try” even come from? I guess I could google it. Hold, please.

…okay, it either came from college sports or from the idea of taking a few tries before you pass a college course.

Do you even care? I legit spent some time googling that and it was kind of anti-climatic. I guess that works for a review about a boring AF book, though.

I was looking forward to reading this supernatural account about the 1912 sinking of the Titanic and the fate of its sister-ship, the Britannic, which also fucking sank in 1916.

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Nothing was happening in this that I gave a shit about, so eventually, I just couldn’t find a point in continuing to read this. It is packaged as a historical reimagined supernatural horror, but it actually reads more like historical romance wrapped up in a little bit of supernatural-ness.

Not my thing. Maybe it’s yours.

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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.

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True Crime Tuesday: The “Mischief Night” Murder of Martha Moxley

Please read the “TCT Disclaimer,” under the True Crime tab at the top of the page before reading any true crime posts.

Long time no talk, Murderinos. How have you been? Are you holding up okay in this Twilight Zone/Upside Down world we’ve somehow crossed into?

If you’ve noticed, my posting around here has been null and void as of late. I’ve spent most of my time working on cleaning up the ol’ blog instead of posting new shit – editing posts for content and grammar, removing some things and deleting old features as I decide what I want to focus on going into the new year.

2021 is creeping up on us faster than The Demon from Insidious. I can hardly believe October is almost over! And there’s only like a week left until the U.S. decides if they’re going to get rid of the Orange Dumpster Mussolini. Time flies when everything fucking constantly sucks. That’s how the saying goes, right?

Speaking of a daily basis, personally, life has been pretty chill for me, or should I say repetitive? All my days blend together. You know, aside from my roof leaking in a thunderstorm and unexpectedly having to spend big bucks that I’d rather have kept for the holidays to fix it. Or the fact that my mother, stepdad and sister all have COVID-19 and have been sick for the last three weeks. I think (*knock on wood*) that they’re going to be okay as they haven’t required any hospitalization, but it’s still scary. Anything could happen and that’s the worst part of this illness. You never know how it’s going to affect you or the people you love. Texting my mother every day to make sure she’s not taken a turn for the worse was not in my plans for 2020. But then again, none of this was for anyone.

Other than that, my days are pretty much the same all the time, always, into oblivion. I’m still working from home, still not going out unless it’s absolutely necessary. This pandemic has definitely fucked with everyone’s vibe, and I’m no exception. Finding the desire to read and write has proven to be elusive under the stress, the weirdness and the fear.

BUT! It’s Halloween season! I’ve decorated the house and have been watching horror movies literally every night, trying to stay positive and enjoy the festivities, as pandemically altered as they may be. I’m not sure we’re handing out candy this year. I can’t think of a way to do it that doesn’t involve Lysol spraying every piece of candy or creating some kind of shoot delivery system that’s 6-feet long.

Maybe missing Halloween won’t be so bad. It certainly decreases the odds that you’ll be fucking murdered.

For today’s True Crime Tuesday case, I wanted to keep with my Halloween spirit and talk about a murder that took place over our most favourite time of year. For most of us it’s about candy and costumes and scary movies, but for some, the dark and twisted make-believe turns out to be real.

This is the murder of Martha Moxley.

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Review: American Sherlock – Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI by Kate Winkler Dawson

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★★

G.P. Putnam’s Sons | 2020

Opening Case: How much did Fatty Arbuckle actually weigh?

Main CSI: Gil Grissom maintains “old man crush” status.

Plot Truthi-ness: Beefs and peas in a dessert trifle.


You might think that you’re getting a novel about “murder, forensics and the birth of American CSI,” when you pick up this novel. That’s exactly what I thought. And also exactly what they put in the fucking title. But why should titles ever tell you what you’re really going to be reading about, I guess?

What you’re actually getting here is a choppy, mishmash of relatively boring cases and life stories about Oscar Heinrich, the “American Sherlock.” If I had known this was going to be about one man’s life, and not a historical rundown of the evolution of forensic sciences centred around different murder cases, I probably wouldn’t have read it.

But since I did, it’s necessary to note that I have no issue with a true-life story about a remarkable human who deserves to be applauded. It’s the execution of the telling of that life where it falls apart on this one.

I think this book is best described as the trifle Rachel makes on Friends. It was almost good, but something got fudged up so no one really wanted to eat it.

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