Filed Under: I see you found my trophy room, Dalton. The only thing missing is your ass!
Ugh, damn it…
This is such a bummer.
I really wanted to love this, but nope, couldn’t get there. It was just meh for me. It’s got all the things you expect from a slasher story – unsuspecting victims being gruesomely murdered in the woods by a psychotic killer – but, really all it has are things taken from other slasher stories. A lot of this felt off, like it was simply a copy of a copy rather than a story with something of its own to say. And it wasn’t exactly scary.
The plot invests in giving the cannibal killer a backstory, but I found it kind of boring, with pieces that didn’t totally connect. He was living independently off the grid, has excellent hunting skills, can make pants out of human skin and has escaped detection as a prolific serial killer for years, but he’s also intellectually disabled with the linguistic skills of a third grader? And he’s a cannibal, but also interested in keeping women as pets? Um, okay.
The killer was a mishmash of every other killer from other slasher stories and that felt kind of lazy. Like, just put Leatherface, Jason and TheHills Have Eyes cannibals into a cabin in the woods and then fold in the cheese. And voila! It’s this fucking guy.
“What Keyes was describing was the textbook progression, from childhood, of a sadist and a psychopath. Torturing and killing small animals, pets especially, is experimentation in controlling and killing another living thing for pure pleasure. It is practice, the last step before graduating to humans.”
Viking | 2019
Filed Under: Gen X Serial Killer
Like so many who have read this true-crime book, I am shocked and confused as to how I’d never heard of Israel Keyes before. He does ask the police to keep his serial killing ways on the D.L. so that his family (particularly his daughter) never finds out what he did as a hobby, but like, dude – they were going to find out one way or another. You don’t kill three people (possibly eleven) and keep that a secret after you’ve been arrested.
It’s also kind of a strange concern to have considering he’s a psychopath. Like does he really care about his daughter’s emotional and mental well-being? I highly fucking doubt it. Most of these guys want to be famous. And it’s a real shame that even after death, we keep making Ted Bundy movies.
This book was a surprise in all the right ways for all the wrong reasons. Those reasons being serial murder and committing general criminal chaos. There is nothing better than being shocked and appalled while learning about a true-crime case for the first time. Well, there are lots of things better than that, but you know what I mean. If that makes me sound weird, so be it. I don’t know how else to explain it.
All of the –
– and –
– and –
– that comes with reading some fucked up shit for the first time can’t be duplicated. Kind of like a first kill that serial killers keep trying to replicate. See what I did there? Comparing myself to a serial killer? Shit. Alright, this going off the rails. Let’s just start over.
“This is what ordinary people are like. They don’t want to be bothered. They don’t want to care. They would rather let a few people disappear, a few families suffer and never recover, than ruin everybody’s vacation.”
Berkley | 2021
Filed Under: Two shakes away from Texas Chainsaw
Well, this was fucking weird.
I don’t know if this review is going to make any sense at all, because I’m still not sure how I really feel about this novel. So, uh, good luck reading my stoned thoughts.
First of all, the main character, Sera, is wildly unstable. Like, break into Sandra Bullock’s home and get into her bed unstable. Like, John Hinckley unstable. Did I enjoy being in the head of a character like that? Fucking no! But was it captivating, very yes. And fucking uncomfortable the whole time. Sera is so unlikable, watching her exist was akin to an embarrassing American Idol audition.
“And to think you were worried about a damn shower curtain. Nothing says ‘serial killer’ like a chest freezer in a garage.”
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.
Filed Under: “Everything all right?” / “Yep, two corpses, everything’s fine.”
If you are looking for a modern Agatha Christie/Clue style locked-room mystery, may I suggest this fucking book to you?
Because I’m gonna.
This novel is such a throwback and I ended up liking it a lot… once I got past my assumptions of what the novel was going to be.
Apparently, it’s very easy for me to get used to the vibe of those fast-paced thrillers that are constantly trying to outdo the previous new release with twists and shocks. Read enough of them and I guess I can forget about the beauty in a subtle, classic mystery. Death in the Family was a needed reminder for me.
When I first started this, the tone and pace weren’t working for me. But that’s because I’m a stupid bitch. And almost immediately I realized I was looking for that other kind of thriller in the writing, which is actually really shit of me. Obviously, I need to switch up my current genre choices because it’s clouding how open I am when I start a new book.
I mean, not to get too fucking deep about it, but yeah…
I’m not really sure if I love this series, because there are aspects to it that are not my thing. But they might be yours! That is the joy of a review that involves negative points. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes. So while I might be like meh, this could be exactly what you’re looking for.
With that in mind – the first novel in the Nikki Griffin series started well for me, but ended up becoming a bit ridiculous near the end. My suspension of disbelief was hanging on by a thread. With this second installment, I’ve figured out that’s just the way this series is going to be – kind of ridiculous and hard to believe. Are you into that? Then you’ll like this.
One Got Away has a Charlie’s Angels kind of vibe to it. Not so much the original show, but the Drew Barrymore version where there’s a lot of action, but it’s also silly.
I’m not sure if this series is totally pulling off that very specific kind of action style, but I also didn’t hate reading it so there’s that.
Funny story (not really) – I was going through my Goodreads READ shelf and found a handful of books I never reviewed in 2020 because of course. Really, I barely kept it together in 2020 at all. It’s really a miracle I got out as many posts as I did.
So, um, yeahhhhh… enjoy (?) these reviews of books I read a year ago because this is not going to be my finest work.
Reviews in this post:
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
Eight Perfect Murders (Malcolm Kershaw, #1) by Peter Swanson
The 19th Christmas (Women’s Murder Club, #19) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
“What is all the suffering for if not so we can see how alike we are, and not alone? Where will the mercy come from, if not from us?”
Ballantine Books | 2021
Filed Under: Hello darkness, my old friend
Well, I tell you what, if you’re in an emotional funk or mentally teetering on the edge of another bout of panny depression, do not read this book for the love of Thor and Loki’s butts in those toit-like-a-tiger outfits. Because this novel is sad, bitch.
I needed a nap and some serotonin by the time I was finished with it.
Detective Anna Hart is going through a hard time. She’s lost a child, lost herself and is about to lose her marriage. Hart decides the only way she might be able to find some perspective and some healing is if she leaves her current situation behind. She needs space to get herself together if there is any chance of moving past her grief and keeping her family.
She leaves San Fran for the small, country town of Mendocino, California where she grew up. Her dark present is about to compete with the tortured ghosts of her past in Mendocino. I mean, honestly, someone take this woman to an amusement park for the day. Just give her a reprieve from trauma. Everywhere you look with her it’s like dead parents, abandonment issues, dead foster parents, dead child, broken marriage, dead high school friends…
I’m not sure I’ve ever read a novel where one character was getting all of the dark shit, all of the time.
I haven’t read a police procedural this pure and detailed since Meg Gardiner’s last release. And y’all know how much I love Meg Gardiner. And if you didn’t, now you do because I just said it again.
If you are a fan of serial killers… wait, I don’t mean like a fan fan. That’s just weird. Get better idols, as Bailey Sarian would say. No, I mean if you are a fan of serial killer fiction – of the mystery and the pursuit and the suspense and the twisted games – then you want to read this novel.
It is a fucking fabulous police procedural. And I don’t say shit like that very often.
You want gritty? You got it. You want fucked up? It’s coming in hot. You need detailed and immersive? Buckle your seatbelt and keep your hands in the ride at all times.
But listen to what I’m saying, this is a procedural. If you do not like being in the narrative passenger seat of a police investigation, this probably isn’t going to be for you. And that’s totally legit. Why? Because all of this shit is subjective, Donna! It’s okay that we don’t all like the same things! That’s life.
Let’s get that through our collective skulls, shall we? But I digress…
This is not a thriller. This is an investigation. And in my opinion, novels that pull off a really good procedural plot with this much perfection are few and far between. And it’s a debut novel? Fucking insanity.