Bradstreet Gate

Graduating from Harvard often means that you will be starting a life of wealth and high pillars. The 1%. For the last four years, you’ve worked hard, studied hard…and of course, probably partied a little hard too. Graduation should be a celebration, you’ve done it! Life can begin.

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However, for Georgia, Charlie, and Alice…things didn’t quite go that way. Bradstreet Gate is the story of how their graduation year at Harvard went very wrong, when a classmate was murdered, allegedly by a professor they trusted.

My first thought when I started reading this book was, “Ok…this sounds an awful lot like How to Get Away with Murder.” And since I love that show…I was ok with it. Really though, it’s not at all the same plot, except the creepy teacher/student love affair thing.

Robin Kirman is going to be an author to watch–she writes characters brilliantly, on the same level as Gillian Flynn. There are two people here that I want to open their brains and just rummage around, to see what is going on. One is a textbook novel sociopath. That person is perfection–one that you love to hate immediately. The other will have you guessing the entire book. I am not going to tell you which is which because the kicker of these two characters is…which one actually committed the murder?

Bradstreet Gate‘s subtle creep factor just nails it the whole time. The story itself is wonderful, and then interwoven is this nagging feeling that you are being watched and studied. I kept thinking, “Why is this called a thriller? It’s really not that thrilling?” And then a chill would run down my spine out of nowhere. Oohhh, there it is.

Great debut, Robin Kirman. I’ll be looking for more from you!

 

Blogging for Books sent this to me for an unbiased review.

 

Buy here:

Trust No One

The key ingredient in any thriller is the psychopath. The dark, twisted pathways of his brain drive the plot and keep us up at night.

Normally the thrills in a thriller are deliberate. That instinct that forces the monster to plan his next move and torture his victims is what makes the book so exciting to us (because let’s face it, we are pretty twisted gluttons ourselves, aren’t we?). My favorite part is trying to figure out what the heck is going on inside his head, trying to guess his next move.

But what happens when the killer doesn’t remember killing?

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Paul Cleave plots out one of the most thrilling thrillers I’ve ever read with just that situation, in Trust No One.

Successful crime novelist Jerry Grey’s career is cut short by early-onset Alzheimer’s. He keeps escaping from the nursing home and losing time. When his daughter picks him up, she acts very strange about her mother, something just isn’t right. In fact, no one is acting right towards Jerry. Apparently a woman was found dead at the same time Jerry was gone and he is suspected of the murder. Why? He’s just an sick old man! Because, Jerry, you shot your wife. She’s dead. That’s why you are in a nursing home. You were out of your mind, and you have no memory of it.

Thus is the basis of one of the craziest thrillers I have ever read. It is an emotional roller coaster! Three women, besides Jerry’s wife, are dead. Who killed them? Jerry insists that he did not. He would remember, right? But all the evidence points to him. And he is a crime writer with very elaborate plans and getaways laid out in his books. He cannot account for hours of time, and he has been disappearing. His pseudonym has become almost a split personality, a devil on his shoulder that he can’t get away from.

Cleave has written one hell of a creative novel. It doesn’t come out until August 4, so mark your calendars. This one isn’t necessarily a scary or bloody thriller. It’s more about the utter mindfuck that is going on. Where do you put your sympathy? Who do you trust?

 

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review. Released Aug. 4.

Swerve

Last night was a blast, ya’ll! One of the area neighborhoods, Deep Ellum,  has a monthly Wine Walk that they put on in the summer. A bunch of shops and galleries serve in the back, and then everyone just kind of mingles around for a few hours. What a great way to get in our Fitbit steps, and check out some local shopping! We’ll definitely do it again.

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I ended up surprising myself–because we went out last night, I didn’t think I was going to have a chance to read and finish a new book in time for today’s blog. But hey, you know me. I can’t leave you guys hanging!

Actually, I just picked one that I hoped would be a quickie. It also turned out to be REALLY good.

With Hannibal starting back up, I am craving thrillers. That show just charges me up for that surge of electricity I get from reading terrifying, twisted stories. (Does it say something about me that I like reading about psychopaths and broken people? Maybe…but I am a broken person too.)

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Vicki Pettersson’s new book Swerve releases just after the July 4th holiday and it fills that thriller need perfectly. Kristine is on a trip with her fiance to visit his mother, when the couple is abducted by a psychopath. The mystery trucker leaders her down a terrifying road of destruction in order to save her fiance.

This book reminded me a lot of Red Dragon–even though we never got a look out from the perspective of the killer, we do hear a lot about what is going on in his head and what lead him to this point. The precision and escalation to the moments in the book, the “hot” point of the serial killer instinct, it’s all very similar to how Dolerhyde escalates.

I highly recommend this for you thriller freaks out there like me. Pick this up on July 7 and be prepared for your summer to sizzle!

 

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review.

Under the Lake

Can I just tell you, it feels REALLY good to be caught up? I’m writing this post way ahead of time–I already have a post scheduled every day this week, and so you’re going to be reading this almost a week after I finish the book! That almost never happens! I’m so glad my slump is over.

My latest library pull was from the very oldest TBRs. We are talking from back before Goodreads, when I kept everything in an Access Database. I got pretty suave at using that program because my TBR list was so crazy detailed. Do you know how happy I was when Goodreads came along? Phew. So much easier. It basically saved my life. Or at least my sanity.

Two of the books didn’t make the cut. Sometimes, a book is on your TBR for so long you really don’t remember why you added in the first place. And they were pretty bad. But, Under the Lake was just the thing for this week, when I was starting to catch my stride in my reading come-back.

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Under the Lake is a thriller from the 80s…which can either be really great or really terrible. This, thankfully, is one of the great ones. It has all the hits:  small town sheriff, rich guy who runs that town, newspaper man down on his luck, spooky mystic old lady, and a mystery that everyone tries to dust under the rug. Or in this case…UNDER THE LAKE! *badaching*

Here’s the thing. This is a bit of a man’s man fantasy. As in, the main character gets everything he ever wants.

  • Easy escape from a lame marriage. Check.
  • Hot friend sex with no strings attached. Check.
  • Hot sex with mystic woman’s sexy mystic daughter. Check.
  • Isolated cabin in the woods with boats and unending supply of booze and chili. Check.
  • Easy writing gig where he makes money but you never see him do any work. Check.

All this for a middle age balding guy with a bad back? mmmmmk….

Some of it does seem a little flat, I will admit. But, I took it with a grain of salt, that it was a guy thriller set in the mid 70s (published in 87). Let’s face it. This isn’t the most modern of books. However, once I got beyond that thought, I really enjoyed the mystery of the town of Sutherland, and what was going on under the lake. Digging around in history always gets me interested, so the story itself was very intriguing, even if I found the characters themselves lacking a bit.

I’m giving this a 3. It’s not perfect. I’m not jumping up and down, but this was “quality entertainment” for a couple of days, and it was an easy thing to read.

 

House of Echoes

Good thrillers are hard to find. That genre seems to be overrun with cop dramas and murder mysteries, and to me, that isn’t really what a thriller is. A great thriller should be psychologically complicated–something that tweeks that part of your brain to keep you guessing. A thriller should keep you up at night, wondering what exactly the “monster” is–human?not human?

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Brendan Duffy’s first novel is a fantastic example of the thriller pedigree. The characters have their own psychological issues to begin with, so you don’t know if they are imagining things or if there really is all this strife going on. The book has freakin’ creepy kids. *shudder* And the combination of giant old house and tiny isolated town is something right out of The Shining and The Village. You even have a “monster” in the forest, lurking around causing trouble.

I couldn’t put this one down, and it definitely interrupted my sleep patterns. House of Echoes comes out next week, April 14, and if you like being on the edge of your seat as much as I do, this is a must read for late nights!

 

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review.

NOS4A2

HO-HO-HOoooooooooooooly shit!

NOS4A2 is basically a Christmas Story from hell, that should only be read in October.

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Joe freaking Hill. Wow. This is another horror masterpiece. Guys, if you haven’t read his work yet, you NEED to get on it, right now. Especially during Halloween month. He does not mess around with his psychological thrillers. They blow my mind.

Imagine if Santa Claus and the Grim Reaper were essentially one and the same. This twisted, evil psychopath creature captures kids and kills their mothers, all for the “good of the children,” ushering them away to Christmasland. Combine this chilling world with tesseract bridges crossed by British motorbikes, a Rolls Royce Wraith, and stuttering Scrabble tiles.

There were so many geeky references in this book I was almost giddy. Nathan Fillion is somewhere wetting his pants over the Browncoat nods. Kudos Joe Hill. Kudos. It was like a bit of comic/geek relief spattered throughout the craziness of the book, and it was much appreciated. In a world where even Christmas music is sickening and Scrabble tiles are sinister…geeky things are heroic.

Am I maybe laying it on a bit thick? Perhaps. I’m totally typing this with the Movie Trailer guy in my head.

I’m pretty sure I said this when I read Horns, but READ THIS BOOK. At least, if you are in any way inclined to love freaky psychological scary thriller type horror. Do it.

And put on your favorite holiday playlist. You won’t regret it.

Gave Me Chills

BookClubFiction is reading Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 this month, which I was super excited about because of how much I loved Horns. And this book is JUST as freaky, if not more so.

I’m not going to give too much away, because I’m going to be doing the review in the next day or so, but holy shit, holy shit, holy shit.

This book is totally creepified.

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Favorite Series

Series are becoming more and more popular these days, both with publishers and readers. We get to see our beloved characters continue on, and the publishers make boukou bucks from returning fans. It’s the same reason movie houses try to stretch one book into a trilogy (cough cough Hobbit cough cough).

Not that I am not completely onboard with book series…I love most of them! Unfortunately I just don’t OWN many of them! Sigh…

So, for this picture challenge, while my favorite series is probably Harry Potter or Kingkiller. I went with what I own.

Thomas Harris gets left out of the series list often these days…probably because his books are older, and they definitely aren’t for everyone. But man are they sooooooo good. Brilliant, really. I’m probably due for a reread of at least Red Dragon before Hannibal starts back up again this fall, since the show is catching up to the start of that book. Hmmmmm…need to fit that in somewhere soon.

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If you like thrillers, freaky deaky stuff, or interesting people with fascinating brains–you really need to check these books out. I’ve never read anything like them.

The Shining

HOOOOLY Helloooo there. Long time no blog. I did warn you though!

What I wild ride this one was! Note to self. Don’t read psychological horror while travelling. It can lead to some crazy stress dreams. I’m pretty sure my mom killed me at some point, and last night, I stalked a local baseball star until he fell in love with me. So yeah. Next trip I’ll pack some cute YA romance or something. Oops.

I haven’t read a whole lot of Stephen King. I’m way behind the times. Most of his bestsellers were coming out when I was cutting my reader’s teeth on harlequin romance, and since I grew up in a family of girls–we didn’t watch his movies either.

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The Shining has been on my list for ages, and I’ve finally gotten around to reading it. And man is King a genius when it comes to psychological thrillers. This is a crazy crazy book. I absolutely loved Danny–as you’re meant to. His schizophrenic shining portrayal is just fantastic to follow. The way King shows his mind reading, without the reader catching on at first to what is happening, really shows the level of writing that is going on here. It makes me wonder how many different methods he tried before coming up with that one. Will this work? No, that looks stupid. How about this one? No, you can’t hear it that way.

I did struggle a little bit connecting images with the characters. But I don’t think that was so much King’s fault, as much as I’ve seen so many clips of the movie with Jack Nicholson going crazy, that I had a hard time seeing him as a loving father in the beginning. I’d already see him be mad and murderous. That’s the hazard with reading an older book/movie set–the spoilers are already spoiled.

My library doesn’t have Doctor Sleep, but I’ll keep an eye out after we move and will try to read that soon. I do want to find out what happens to Danny, I really liked his character framework. Wendy was a weakpoint for me and I don’t so much care what happens to her. Is that callous? Perhaps. Danny needed a guardian…otherwise she could have died IMO. *shrug*

Alright, time to go get packing. We have a LOT to do in the next few weeks! Enjoy your weekend!