Tag Archives: Creating Suspense

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

Synopsis: After finally returning to her homeland, having been kidnapped as a child, Yelena must tame the magic she never knew she had even as she’s suspected of being a spy and embroiled in the hunt to catch a nefarious serial killer. Review: It’s been a little exciting up in here lately, with new baby being WAY more interesting than any book in the world. Strangely enough I was between books when she made her arrival, having just finished Red Seas Under Red Skies. I…

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The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay (The Fionavar Tapestry, Book One)

Synopsis: Five Toronto college students are pulled into an alternate world where they discover their true destinies at the outset of a war that could affect all worlds, including their own. Review: Yep, another hard-to-synopsize epic fantasy book. The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay employs one of the standard fantasy templates–ordinary people drawn into an extraordinary world–making the book “execution dependent.” That means that Kay has to work twice as hard to make the story feel fresh and exciting. Share on Facebook

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Angelica by Arthur Phillips

Synopsis: Fearful of her husband’s sexual advances, a young mother falls into a spectacular case of hysteria–that might not be all in her head. Review: Angelica is yet another neo-Gothic tale, set in a Victorian England conjured more from literature than from history. It has all of the elements you’d want: repressed sexuality, midnight visions, hysteria and a spiritualist, all rendered in gorgeous, sumptuous prose from four different points of view. Share on Facebook

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The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall

Synopsis: A young man with severe amnesia comes to realize that he is being stalked by a conceptual shark (which is much, much scarier than you might think). Review: What surprised me most about The Raw Shark Texts was how fast it moved. For all its high-minded metaphysical aims and experimental underpinnings, the book has the pacing of an airport thriller or Stephen King horror book. There were some sequences in this book, such as protagonist Second Eric’s Sanderson encounter with Nobody, that were are…

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The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons

Synopsis: A new house in a suburban Atlanta neighborhood spells disaster for all its inhabitants. Review: It’s awfully hard to be frightened when you’re sitting on a rooftop deck in West Hollywood, letting the setting sun dry your bathing suit after discovering that you can float like a cork in the saltwater pool. Share on Facebook

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Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams

Synopsis: Young Simon is in the middle of the biggest adventure his land has seen in years, but if he and is friends fail their mission, the wicked Storm King will prevail. Book Two of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Review: I know it sounds like Lord of the Rings, but it’s all in the details, people. (Though he does team up with a dwarf and spend some time with some Elf-like folk.) I found the first book in the series, The Dragonbone Chair, a bit…

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Winterwood by Patrick McCabe

Synopsis: Entranced by the folk tales of an old mountain man, and repulsed by the same man’s grisly crimes, Redmond Hatch struggles to narrate the events which led him to bring his beloved wife and daughter to winterwood. Review: I was upset by the way Winterwood seduced me. I did not want to be reeled in by Redmond and his elliptical storytelling because I knew that, between the lines, he was telling me stories I didn’t want him to be able to tell. I wanted…

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