The Perfect Place to Die
Author: Bryce Moore
Published: August 3, 2021
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Zuretta never thought she’d encounter a monster—one of the world’s most notorious serial killers. She had resigned herself to a quiet life in Utah. But when her younger sister, Ruby, travels to Chicago during the World’s Fair, and disappears, Zuretta leaves home to find her.
But 1890s Chicago is more dangerous and chaotic than she imagined. She doesn’t know where to start until she learns of her sister’s last place of employment…a mysterious hotel known as The Castle.
Zuretta takes a job there hoping to learn more. And before long she realizes the hotel isn’t what it seems. Women disappear at an alarming rate, she hears crying from the walls, and terrifying whispers follow her at night. In the end, she finds herself up against one of the most infamous mass murderers in American history—and his custom-built death trap.
This is simply a murder mystery with a tiny paranormal element. Unfortunately, it turns predictable relatively quickly. It’s also rather slow. I mostly enjoyed it so I’m glad I read it. But I’m not sure I can recommend it. However, that cover though. That cover almost pushed it up to 4 stars. Unfortunately, the “twist” which was actually obvious to everyone but the main character, brought it back down to 3. I just thought that Etta was so unrealistic. Too afraid to stand up to her abusive father, too scared to run away with her sister, too dumb to avoid the con woman her first day in Chicago, but then all of a sudden confident enough to stand up to Pinkertons, cops, the suspected killers … just not believable. So I can’t recommend it. I’m glad I read it, but the pros don’t outweigh the cons.
Author: Josh Malerman
Published: March 19, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
J is a student at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world.
J is one of only twenty-six students, all of whom think of the school’s enigmatic founder as their father. J’s peers are the only family he has ever had. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics, and their life at the school is all they know—and all they are allowed to know.
But J suspects that there is something out there, beyond the pines, that the founder does not want him to see, and he’s beginning to ask questions. What is the real purpose of this place? Why can the students never leave? And what secrets is their father hiding from them?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, in a school very much like J’s, a girl named K is asking the same questions. J has never seen a girl, and K has never seen a boy. As K and J work to investigate the secrets of their two strange schools, they come to discover something even more mysterious: each other.
Wow. This book definitely was a thinker! There was a lot of philosophizing and internal dialogue through the whole story. Thankfully, the ideas were fascinating enough that I was able to keep up fairly well. The main reason for the 4 stars is because I missed the action. I do like character driven plots but they do need to move along. This book was a little slow. However when the action did start, then it went fast! I liked the overall concept and even though many of the kids blurred together, I liked getting to know the characters. Overall, this was a fascinating read that scratched the dystopian itch, without actually being dystopian.
Author: SL Grey
Published: October 4, 2016
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Mark and Steph live an idyllic life with their young daughter in sunny Cape Town until one day when three men in masks violently break in. Traumatized but physically unharmed, Mark and Steph are unable to return to normal and are living in constant fear. When a friend suggests they take a restorative vacation abroad via a popular house-swapping website, it sounds like the perfect plan. They find a nice artistic couple with a charming apartment in Paris who would love to come to Cape Town. How could Mark and Steph resist the idyllic, light-strewn pictures, and the promise of a romantic getaway? But once they arrive in Paris, they quickly realize that nothing is as advertised. As their perfect holiday takes a deadly turn, the cracks in their relationship grow ever wider and dark secrets from Mark’s past begin to emerge.
Deftly alternating between two complex and compelling narrators, The Apartment is a terrifying tour de force of horror, of psychological thrills, and of chilling suspense.
This one is definitely a Blumhouse book! Ok, more of an A24 book, but they’re similar so we’ll go with it! This was a crazy slow burn that makes you uncomfortable, little by little, until you find yourself squirming in your chair! I went into expecting one thing, but got something completely different! The missing star is for the main characters. Sorry, but their whining got really annoying really fast. Thankfully, everything else seemed to mostly drown them out. I think this book is the perfect horror story for travelers. I know it’s one of my great anxieties that I’ll book a place in a foreign city and then I get there and it’s nasty! I also loved the typical Blumhouse view of humanity. They don’t seem to shy away from the gray areas that we all live in. Overall, this was an effective slow burn horror that will scratch the itch without completely terrifying the reader! I enjoyed it.