Tag Archives: Thriller

One Door Away from Heaven by Dean Koontz

Synopsis: Young Leilani has a deformed hand and a brace on her leg–and she’s just told her alcoholic ex-con neighbor that her differences are why her deranged doctor stepfather and whacked-out druggie mother are going to kill her unless she’s abducted by aliens when she turns 10. Review: I read this book because it was recommended by Wesley Smith, a leading voice against utilitarianism bioethics, which is the concept that death is the optimal choice for anyone living a less-than-perfect existence, physically speaking. Rather than…

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Judgment in Stone by Ruth Rendell

Synopsis: An illiterate housekeeper’s resentment of the privileged family she serves boils over into a murderous rage. Review: Judgement in Stone was turned into an incredible movie called La Ceremonie by Claude Chabrol, starring Sandrine Bonnaire as Eunice, the “stone” of the title, and the marvelous Isabelle Huppert as Joan, the local postmistress who fans the flames of Eunice’s anger. This is yet another case of a film adaptation that is truthful to the book, but that can also stand on its own. Share on…

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I Am The Cheese by Robert Cormier

Synopsis: A teenage boy reconstructs the moment he discovered a secret about his past that might prove deadly. Review: Cormier is best known for The Chocolate War (Laurel Leaf Books), a grimly compelling fable about the perils of conformity. I Am the Cheese (Laurel-Leaf Library) has the same air of mystery about it, but it’s a less successful work in my opinion. I read it a bunch of times as a kid, and revisiting it didn’t reveal any new layers. Share on Facebook

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Gallowglass by Barbara Vine

Synopsis: A suicidal teen is rescued by a charismatic drifter with designs on a woman he calls “The Princess.” Review: Gallowglass has not been my favorite Vine (the alter ego of crime writer Ruth Rendell), but subpar Vine is still head and shoulders above most of what’s out there in the mystery genre. Where Vine succeeds best in this book is in depicting Joe’s thralldom to Sandor, the man who rescued him from jumping front of a train. An orphan raised by loveless foster parents,…

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