Tag: thriller

The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea

The Suicide House
Series: Rory Moore/ Lane Phillips #2
Author: Charlie Donlea

Published: July 28, 2020
368 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Dates Read: August 20-September 3, 2020

Book Description:

A chilling murder in a prestigious prep school is at the heart of this riveting new novel from acclaimed author Charlie Donlea, featuring forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore and her psychologist partner, Lane Phillips.

Inside the walls of Indiana’s elite Westmont Preparatory High School, expectations run high and rules are strictly enforced. But in the woods beyond the manicured campus and playing fields sits an abandoned boarding house that is infamous among Westmont’s students as a late-night hangout. Here, only one rule applies: don’t let your candle go out–unless you want the Man in the Mirror to find you. . . .

One year ago, two students were killed there in a grisly slaughter. The case has since become the focus of a hit podcast, The Suicide House. Though a teacher was convicted of the murders, mysteries and questions remain. The most urgent among them is why so many students who survived that horrific night have returned to the boarding house–to kill themselves.

Rory, an expert in reconstructing cold cases, is working on The Suicide House podcast with Lane, recreating the night of the killings in order to find answers that have eluded the school, the town, and the police. But the more they learn about the troubled students, the chillingly stoic culprit, and a dangerous game gone tragically wrong, the more convinced they become that something sinister is still happening. Inside Westmont Prep, the game hasn’t ended. It thrives on secrecy and silence. And for its players, there may be no way to win–or to survive. . . .

Jessica’s Review:

YES!  A thriller I really enjoyed and have been lacking in that lately!  From the first two sentences, you know you are in for a gory ride: I killed my brother with a penny. Simple, benign, and perfectly believable. 

We have all kinds of dynamics that make this one super interesting:  The setting of a prestigious prep school and a teacher kills some students!?!?!  And a year later the survivors start killing themselves?!?!?!   Something else must be going on! 

We have three different sections of the book: Journal entries, the time period of June 2019, and present day of August 2020. Better yet is that the chapters are extremely short and it’s hard to put down because the next chapter isn’t that long!  This one is meant to be binge read, it is that intense. I loved how everything came together and I never figured out the killer or motive so I was shocked when we had the big moment in the climax of the novel.

This is the second in the series that feature Rory and Lane.  Poor Rory has some issues herself and also what could classify as a creepy hobby, which is also written in a way that you find it interesting, which I never would have thought of this particular hobby as interesting!  We also get to see her work on her hobby.

 All of Donlea’s books can be read as standalones, but if you have read Donlea’s previous novels, you get some takeback from those.  This is my first Donlea novel and I would love to read his others!

Many thanks to the publisher Kensington Books for granting me a copy to read and review!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Burn Our Bodies Down

Burn Our Bodies Down
Author: Rory Power

Published: July 7, 2020
352 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

Kim’s Review:

I loved Wilder Girls. This one, not so much. While a lot seemed to happen, I felt like I couldn’t get into it. I kept getting distracted by everything else that was happening around me. I didn’t feel very connected to Margot. I really didn’t like her mom. I get that the emotions were supposed to be high and strained, but I felt uncomfortable and exhausted after reading one conversation between Margot and her mom. Normally I like all those raging feelings, but in this case, it wasn’t pleasant at all. While the mystery of the Nielsen family was kinda intriguing, I didn’t like that I didn’t learn really anything until the very end. Normally a mystery will give you little bits as you go along, but this one didn’t. I did guess a part of the resolution, but even then, the ending wasn’t very satisfying. I liked how most of the plot was tied up and explained, it just felt like such a struggle to get there!

I think I would only recommend this book to certain people, but unfortunately, I can’t really recommend it to the general public. I wanted so badly to love this book, I just didn’t.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Shadows

The Shadows
Author: Alex North

Published:  July 7, 2020
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
Dates Read: July 28- August 6, 2020

Book Description:

You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.

Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…

Jessica’s Review:

After last year’s The Whisper Man did not work for me, I was not going to read North’s newest.  But then I read the description, and I decided to give it a chance and this was the wrong decision for me. The Shadows had everything I would be interested in, but it didn’t work out for me. When we found out what happened to Charlie… Ok …. Whatever.. No big deal for me. 

The one thing I did actually like was the reference to The Whisper Man in The Shadows, these books are in the same universe!  And the covers both just belong together.

I think some of what might not have worked for me was the back and forth nature along with all the lucid dreaming stuff. These boys think they were having the same dream/can make things happen in their dreams.

I know this is an unpopular opinion, but all books/authors are not for everyone and sadly, after both of Alex North’s book failed to deliver for me I have decided he is an author I need to just stay away from.

Many thanks to the publisher Celadon Books for granting an audiobook copy to listen to and review via Netgalley.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK (Published as The Shadow Friend)

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