What makes a good murder mystery? Plot? Characters? Carnage? All of the above, sure, but what makes a REALLY good murder mystery is when you don’t guess the ending or there’s an interesting twist, or you are left hanging, unsure of what actually happened. I read so many of these books that it’s hard to pull the wool over my eyes but the book I just finished did just that. It was twisted, gruesome, and I was left hanging. Read this book and tell me your thoughts/theories/opinions.
She was standing in the middle of the room covered from head to toe in blood, as if someone had upended a bucket full of it over her head. The bodies of 3 people were scattered around the room and a baby was crying. This was Michael’s first glimpse of Marie that horrific night but it wouldn’t be his last. She was being held in the jail of the tiny town where his dad was the sheriff, where nothing really bad ever happened until that night, those people, the boy who was in Michael’s class at school. No one could get anything out of her but she decided to open up to Michael, to tell him her story. For weeks, months Marie’s story ebbed and flowed around the events leading up to the last three murders committed by a serial killer. The murders were called the Bloodless Murders because the victims had all been drained of blood and not a drop was found at the scenes, until now. Why was this one different? Who was Marie? Why would she not give up the name of her accomplice? Michael questioned, cajoled, bribed, Marie to tell the truth but her story was just too outrageous yet, intriguing. The case would soon be out of his hands and to a prosecutor who wanted nothing more than to see Marie all the way to the electric chair.
I was as surprised at the revelations from Marie as I was what she didn’t reveal. It was a well-written story and demonstrated the tendency of humans to believe what they want to believe in spite of evidence or lack thereof. Kendare Blake brought elements of a couple of true crime cases into her story, spree killers Charles Starkweather 19 and Caril Ann Fugate 14, and the murders of the Clutter family. Both left bodies and broken families in their wake which lends a frightening authenticity to her tale. If you’re a fan of murder mysteries, this is a must-read!
I am taking a break from the fairy tale retellings, with their monsters and madness to read a…murder mystery! There a great quote that makes this transition apropos, “Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that the dragons can be killed.” As most of us know, there are very real monsters in this world. We see havoc they wreak every day on the evening news. What we really need to know is that no matter how big or ugly or powerful they are, we can defeat them. They don’t have to ruin our lives completely and forever.
Brynn, Mia, and Summer are loners in their own ways. Brynn is prickly and loud. Mia is super shy and fearful. Summer is the new girl who brought them all together and held them there with her fierce charm. Their days were spent daydreaming about a mystical place called Lovelorn from a novel Summer discovered. They wrote fanfiction based on the book but weird things began to happen that blurred the lines between reality and fiction. Then, Summer was brutally murdered and Brynn and Mia were implicated. There wasn’t enough evidence to charge them but court of public opinion labeled the girls evil, witches, murderers. Brynn discovered a sanctuary in rehab and Mia was buried under her mother’s hoarding piles. After several years, a random piece of evidence dropped into Mia’s lap that changed everything and brought the two girls back together to try and figure out what really happened to Summer and themselves.
Lauren Oliver is a consummate storyteller. This twisted tale of love, betrayal, and loss will engage you from the opening line, “Five years ago, when I had just turned thirteen, I killed my best friend.” I mean, seriously, how could anyone put the book down after that? It was an excellent read. I will admit to being surprised at who the murderer was, which is a difficult thing to do when you read and watch as many murder mysteries as I do. Fans of that genre, buckle up buttercup!
Normally, I’m not a fan of witch stories. I guess it’s my Christian upbringing seeping in and making my spirit uncomfortable with the occult. Occasionally, though, a story comes around that draws me into its web and won’t let go. Witchcraft? Perhaps…or maybe really good storytellers have a magic all their own.
Frank protects his girls from the outside world that would not understand them. Worse, people would hunt and kill them for what they are and what they can do. Derry and her sisters understand this so they make a life for themselves deep in the forest, secluded from everything. One day, though, she breaks the rules with her older sister Jane. They go into the forest, a place they are forbidden to enter and it ends in bloodshed. It’s a secret that they keep from everyone until the day that Jane disappears. Derry is certain that she saw Jane disappear into the woods so night after night, she follows hoping to find her and bring her home. Each time she enters the forest, Derry feels alive with magic. Her powers seem to grow stronger with each trip. It is exhilarating and disturbing. The forest whispers its secrets to her and they aren’t all good. The creatures that live there are drawn to her and they tell her things about Frank; dark things. She realizes his evil intentions toward the girls but saving them all means embracing the dark magic inside of herself and the forest. Resisting the pull of power will be the most difficult thing she’s ever done.
Sarah Hollowell’s tale of magic and betrayal will have you on the edge of your seat so be careful where you choose to sit as you read this one or you might embarrass yourself by yelling at the book…out loud!