Author: Daryl Gregory
Published: August 31, 2021
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
In 1933, nine-year-old Stella is left in the care of her grandmother, Motty, in the backwoods of Tennessee. These remote hills of the Smoky Mountains are home to dangerous secrets, and soon after she arrives, Stella wanders into a dark cavern where she encounters the family’s personal god, an entity known as the Ghostdaddy.
Years later, after a tragic incident that caused her to flee, Stella–now a professional bootlegger–returns for Motty’s funeral, and to check on the mysterious ten-year-old girl named Sunny that Motty adopted. Sunny appears innocent enough, but she is more powerful than Stella could imagine–and she’s a direct link to Stella’s buried past and her family’s destructive faith.
This. Cover. That’s it. Done. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Ok, but we need to go more in depth. I liked this book a lot! It kept me interested during the whole thing! I wanted to know who this god in the mountain was. Why did he only communicate with the Birch women? Unfortunately, that’s why I gave this book only 4 stars, cuz y’all know I need more info and there’s just never enough! But that doesn’t change the fact that I enjoyed reading this book. I actually liked most of the characters and hated the ones I was supposed to. Even the open ending didn’t bother me, it enthralled me. I kinda want a sequel. Mr. Gregory very obviously doesn’t like organized religion, but I couldn’t deny that he was accurate on some things. Some of the stereotypes amused me! Overall, this was an interesting read that kept me turning the page!
Series: Tennison #7
Author: Lynda La Plante
Published: August 24, 2021
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 27, 2021- January 5, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
A coffin is dug up by builders in the grounds of an historic convent – inside is the body of a young nun.
In a city as old as London, the discovery is hardly surprising. But when scratch marks are found on the inside of the coffin lid, Detective Jane Tennison believes she has unearthed a mystery far darker than any she’s investigated before. However, not everyone agrees. Tennison’s superiors dismiss it as an historic cold case, and the Church seems desperate to conceal the facts from the investigation. It’s clear that someone is hiding the truth, and perhaps even the killer. Tennison must pray she can find both – before they are buried forever . . .
In Unholy Murder, Tennison must lift the lid on the most chilling murder case of her career to date . . .
Compared to other books I have recently read, this one was a success!!! YES!! Unholy Murder is the seventh book in the Tennison series, but it can be read as a standalone. I have not read any of the other in the series and did not feel like I have missed anything as past situations are mentioned. I did like Tennison and am interested in how she got her start in a male dominated field, especially for the time period this novel takes place in.
I was confused at first with references to using maps, the phone book, and more until I found a review that mentioned the time period: This novel takes place in 1982 based on when the Pope visits the UK where this novel takes place. Once I knew the time period I actually enjoyed the trip back in time where the things we take for granted were not in existence and we had ‘old school policing’. And with Tennison also being a woman in this time period: It really was a boys club then.
Unholy Murder has an intriguing premise that actually delivers: a coffin is dug up and it has a nun inside and it appears she was buried alive!?!? What happened to her and why??? Secrets and lies, the Catholic Church and more: Bring it on! And this novel became so much more than I expected with its twists and turns.
It is a police procedural, so we get to see how things were done in the 1980s, which includes autopsies. Not a fast-paced novel, but it is detailed and it does move and I never lost interest in the story. I was fully involved and cared about the characters you should care for.
I enjoyed this novel and if you enjoy crime dramas/police procedurals, Unholy Murder and my guess is that the whole Tennison series will be for you.
I received a copy to read and review from Bookish First.
The Ritual: A Holiday Folk Story
Author: Michael R. Goodwin
Published: December 25, 2021
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4.5 stars
“Let us bow our heads and close our eyes,” the villagers chanted, “for the Bell waits not for the one who dies.”
In the square, the villagers had gathered for The Ritual, which hasn’t been performed in more than thirty years. Only those old enough to have been at the last one knew the full gravity of what was to come. Everyone (even the children) knew why they had gathered, but there was only so much that could be conveyed through the retelling of a tale.
Some things you had to see for yourself to truly understand.
I’m a huge Shirley Jackson fan: I remember reading The Lottery back in high school and I loved it. (See mine and Jessica’s double review here). For some reason, my mom is still freaked out by that story. But that’s neither here nor there. The Ritual was simple and effective. Similar to The Lottery, but definitely its own story. I know y’all know exactly what I’m gonna say, “I need more information!” Well, you’re right. This could easily be stretched out to a full length novel and I would totally read it! But, it’s an easy to read short story that I really enjoyed!! Definitely a good one for any level horror fan!