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”

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”

Review: Possession by Katie Lowe

53138118

★★★

St. Martin’s Press | 2021

Filed Under: Whispers of your dead husband


This is another podcast-meets-unreliable narrator thriller. It’s not my favourite I’ve read in that very specific new subgenre, but it was okay enough.

What this novel did do well was capture living in an abusive relationship and the trauma that it leaves behind. For me, that was the best part of the plot and I could have done without the podcast shit almost entirely. But that would make this an entirely different book, so ignore me.

Hannah’s husband was murdered while she was sleeping right beside him. She doesn’t remember what happened, but lots of people start to believe she’s guilty of his murder when, ten years later, a popular podcast starts looking at the case and questioning whether the right man has been convicted, Serial style.

It upends Hannah’s life because Oooo boy, the court of public opinion these days is filled with loud, entitled fucking idiots.

Continue reading “Review: Possession by Katie Lowe”

Review: Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah

45730168

★★★★

William Morrow | 2020

Filed Under: Off the rails but still moving.


Okay, listen, this book is weird AF. You’re either going to fall down the rabbit hole and have a great time with how nuts it gets, or you’re going to DNF that shit because you can’t take how unrealistic it is. It just depends on the kind of reader you tend to be or the state of mind you’re in when you read it.

For me, I am usually looking for something that’s so nuts and have never read before (fuck cliches!), and that’s exactly what I got, so I don’t mind too much that it was also off it’s goddamn rocker when it came to the plot.

This is my first novel by Sophie Hannah, but if this is any indication of the kind of crazy shit she can come up with, it won’t be my last.

You Crazy GIF by memecandy
Continue reading “Review: Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah”

Review: The Substitute by Nicole Lundrigan

36039670. sy475

★★★

Spiderline | 2017

Filed Under: Too much soda.


Okay, so this wasn’t exactly a grab-you-by-the-tits kind of thriller. If that’s what you’re expecting, temper your expectations accordingly. This is slower, but eerie, like a guy walking behind you – he just gives you the creeps but it’s not like he’s done anything but be a man alone on a sidewalk.

It’s just the vibe.

Depending on your mood, this is either going to hit you as slow and boring or as a slow-burner that is chilling and twisty.

For me, when I read this, it was slowwwwwww like watching a sloth cross the street, which in any other circumstances I would love to do because sloths are my favourite.

sloth eating GIF

That said, I feel like it’s totally on me being in a bad headspace for a slow-burning thriller considering I’ve been stuck in the fucking house since mid-March. I can’t do slow or boring or any combination therein. I need my thrillers to be genuinely thrilling, mysterious and wild if I’m going to forget I’m looking at the same walls every day, all day. HOW MANY MORE WALKS CAN I TAKE MY DOG ON? We’ll find out…

Listen, I’m very grateful for all the people doing the front-line and essential work. But also, I’m getting cabin fever so let me express that, thank you and fuck off.

Continue reading “Review: The Substitute by Nicole Lundrigan”

Review: Of Vengeance by J.D. Kurtness

43317755

★★½

Dundurn | 2019

Filed Under: Self-awareness via murder.


*shakes fist* THIS COULD HAVE BEEN SO GOOD! I’m disappointed that I’m disappointed in this story.

Of Vengeance starts with an unnamed female narrator telling the reader she sees a cold-blooded killer every day when she looks in a mirror.

Oh really?! Do go on….

She recounts her life, starting at the age of 12 when she discovers that she really likes murdering terrible people after accidentally killing the worst bully at her school. It’s like a revenge fever dream that might have popped into your head for the briefest of moments when you think back to that time Andrew put a basketball under his shirt and said: “Look, I’m Krystin!” because you were a chubby 12-year-old.

But what do I know?

new girl girls GIF
Continue reading “Review: Of Vengeance by J.D. Kurtness”

Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.

34189556

★★★½

St. Martin’s Press | 2018

Filed Under: A baby deer learning how to walk, but after being gaslit by a psychopath.


This book is the direction that The Last Mrs. Parrish should have gone instead of being the misogynistic piece of garbage it turned out to be. I don’t know why everyone likes that book so much, or why it’s being made into a movie, but I’m very disappointed in each and every one of you who back it as a good book. And I’m telling your fucking parents. Don’t @ me.

The Wife Between Us doesn’t fully realize it’s potential as a domestic thriller in a way that was satisfying to me. While the quite and calculating approach the authors seem to prefer worked really well in their other novel An Anonymous Girl, here it made the narrative less thrilling and more soap opera-ish than I would have wanted.

Where The Last Mrs. Parrish tried to convince the reader that domestic abuse is okay as long as the “replacement wife” fucking sucks enough to “deserve” it, The Wife Between Us pumped the breaks before completely going in that direction. Instead, there is a moment of, “Oopsie! I guess it wasn’t very nice of me to make that woman take my place in my abusive relationship.”

You think?!

Continue reading “Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen”

Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

“…We often mistake love for fireworks – for drama and dysfunction. But real love is very quiet, very still. It’s boring, if seen from the perspective of high drama. Love is deep and calm – and constant.”

40097951

★★★★

Celadon Books | 2019

Filed Under: You know how you want to kill your spouse sometimes?


There was a lot of hype surrounding this book’s release, and for the most part, it was deserved. I mean, it didn’t totally blow my bits off and it didn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel when it comes to thrillers with unreliable narrators, but, for a debut novel it’s pretty impressive and I had a fun time reading it, so one eggplant up for Mr. Michaelides.

Alicia, an artist, killed her photographer husband. Shot him in the head repeatedly while he was tied to a chair, as a matter of fact. She’s been silent every day since. Locked up in a psych hospital, she hasn’t uttered a word in nearly seven years.

Theo Faber is a psychotherapist who is overly confident that he can crack Alicia’s proverbial silent nut. He takes a job in the hospital where she is remanded and starts his mostly one-sided conversations with Alicia in the hopes of getting her to finally explain why she did what she did to her husband, who by all accounts, she was madly in love with.

I don’t know about all of you, but while I jokingly say I’d like to murder the shit out of my husband sometimes, I don’t really mean it. Obviously, when he clips his toenails in bed and I say that I could really, truly smother him with a pillow until all the life drains from his body over it, I’m just speaking metaphorically.

Anyway!

Continue reading “Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides”

Review: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

“You can’t judge someone’s internal state by their external attributes.” 

39863515

★★★★

January 2019 | St. Martin’s Press

Filed Under: Make-up artist seeks quick cash by being a liar


I’m a total sucker for anything that is psychologically leaning. And I don’t mean the trend of “psychological thrillers.” I mean real psychology, human nature, predicting behaviour and analyzing it. I’m a straight-up glutton when it comes to that kind of heady shit.

Not for any sinister reason. It’s like not I’m trying to figure out the best way to appear human or something. If I was smarter, I probably would have been a psychologist. In another part of the multi-verse perhaps I am.

But in the here and now that we find ourselves trapped in (there’s been some kind of tear in the fabric of our universe and we ended up in a strange hell where Trump and Putin are going to destroy all life on Earth, I’m sure of it,) I’m just a girl with a deep fascination for psychology and no way to really express that except to watch endless true crime documentaries and read books like An Anonymous Girl, and have people think I’m weird. It’s worth it.

Image result for leslie knope not embarrassed
Continue reading “Review: An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen”

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

★★★★

Lake Union Publishing | 2018

Filed Under: Your new best sociopathic friend #4eva.


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 moves 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.

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”