Tag Archives: Thriller

The Winter Girl by Mark Marinovich

Synopsis: When Scott and his wife Elise move into her father’s Hamptons home to await his death in hospice care, he becomes fascinated by the house next door, which is seemingly empty and not-empty at the same time, and the actions he takes to alleviate his curiosity have devastating consequences. Review: The Winter Girl is a dirty piece of business that makes Gone Girl seem like a romance. I was fascinated by the extremity of the story, repelled by the depravity, and sucked in by…

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The Handmaid’s Tale, Academy Girls, and the Worst Bachelorette Party Ever

I have read The Handmaid’s Tale maybe 4 times since college, so when my book club picked it for our December meeting, I thought I’d see if the audiobook version was any good. Oh my my, oh hell yes, time to put on that Handmaid’s Dress because Claire Danes simply kills it. As Offred, trapped in a bizarre patriarchal system where she has to bear children for wealthy men or else risk exile or worse, Danes finds a beautiful balance between the handmaid’s naiveté and…

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Thrillers and Revenge–Mary Kubica and More

I’m a big fan of relaxing my brain through literature, but my love of genre means that you can’t really fool me much. I recently enjoyed two thrillers–Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica and The Hand that Feeds You by AJ Rich–and while both were well written with fabulous characters and lots of suspense, I couldn’t help but wish that I could read a thriller that didn’t basically end up in the basement with Jame Gumb. In the case of Hand, the very fact of a…

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The Silver Chair and Two About Murder

We finished listening to the audio version of The Silver Chair by CS Lewis this week. I have always loved the humor of this book (particularly Puddleglum), and Jill Pole was the Lewisian girl I most connected with. I got teary-eyed at the end listening to the tender depiction of good King Caspian’s death and resurrection into Aslan’s country. It means more to me now that I’m an adult then it ever could have when I was a child. The title Anne Perry and the…

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The Disappeared by Roger Scruton

Synopsis: In a community in Yorkshire, a disparate group of individuals are brought together when two women go missing and a third seems to be under threat from Arab sex traffickers. Review: I had a really mixed reaction to The Disappeared. On the one hand, I found a certain satisfying level of suspense and intricacy in the plotting. But on the other hand, I couldn’t forgive the numerous plot contrivances that made the overall story implausible and a bit frustrating. Knowing that Scruton is a…

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Two Books That Were Not Gone Girl

America’s Test Kitchen Radio has this great feature where they test kitchen gadgets and tell you one that’s hot and one that’s not. So I’ve got two Gone Girl knockoffs, one that’s hot and one that I read anyway. You: A Novel has an irresistible premise, in which a stalker narrates his growing obsession with a troubled young woman. He addresses her using the 2nd person, but within the context of a first person narrative. Author Caroline Kepnes had to use a teeny bit of…

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The Book of You by Claire Kendal

Synopsis: After a night she can’t remember that left her with bruises on her thighs, Clarissa can’t shake Rafe, whose unrelenting attentions gain added menace when she starts noticing the parallels to a rape trial she’s attending as a juror. Review: The Book of You had some strong and memorable elements, particularly Claire’s emotional and physical isolation as a result of Rafe’s stalking. Unfortunately, the secondary characters remained largely flat on the page, never serving as much more than an unwitting Greek chorus to Claire’s…

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Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Synopsis: A reporter heads back to her hometown to write about a serial killer, only to find her own past coming back to haunt her. Review: I didn’t love Sharp Objects, but I will admit it’s a good page-turner. I just couldn’t get past the central character conceit, that she’s carved her body full of words. I knew someone once who gave himself a home tattoo of the word “TRUST” after the Hal Hartley movie, and it took up like half his leg because it…

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Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Synopsis: A recently retired detective finds his suicidal urges lifting when he receives a taunting letter from someone claiming to be the man who drove a stolen Mercedes into a crowd of job seekers, killing many of them, including a baby. Review: I really don’t have much to say about Mr. Mercedes, except that I really wish Stephen King would stop writing black characters who like to talk like racist caricatures on purpose, only to have their white liberal friends laugh knowingly. I am really…

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Shirley: A Novel by Susan Scarf Merrell

Synopsis: A young couple spends a year at Bennington College living with gothic writer Shirley Jackson and her philandering husband. Review: George and Martha from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? have nothing on Shirley and Stanley, in real life (as chronicled in the wonderful biography Private Demons), and Shirley: A Novel delivers every ounce of juice you would hope for. Even better–the plot and characters are nothing short of excellent. Author Susan Scarf Merrell uses a thriller structure, and the plot is filled with allusions,…

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