A Doll Factory is the location of this fascinating look at Victorian life through the eyes of both a budding feminist and a serial killer.
Iris is an aspiring artist painting doll faces at Mrs. Salter’s Doll Emporium in 1850s London. Mrs. Salter is a harsh taskmistress especially when in the throes of her legal drug addiction. Iris is by all accounts beautiful except for a skewed collarbone which never set correctly when broken during her youth.
Iris has a brief encounter with Silas, a taxidermist fascinated with “curiosities” such as Iris’. Silas becomes obsessed with Iris and vows to have her.
The Doll Factory has something for everyone. It is a romance, a mystery, and historical fiction. The best part is it is a story of a nascent feminist working against society’s beliefs of a woman’s place. I enjoyed this take on a Victorian serial killer thriller. I think you will too if you like historical fiction. 4 stars!
Thanks to Emily Bestler Books, Atria, and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: Aug 13 2019, serial killer, Victorian
The Burglar is Elle, a young woman who steals from society homes in Los Angeles by blending into their lifestyle.
All is well for Elle until she finds three dead bodies in a house she is robbing and then releases that a camera is recording not just them but her too. To avoid being the killer’s next victim, Elle is forced to figure out who the killer is while also staying on the run.
The first half of the book detailing Elle’s lifestyle and career was great. However, the end dragged for me. I never really connected with Elle. I loved the Butcher’s Boy and The Bombmaker by the same author. I would recommend that you start with those books rather than The Burglar. 3 stars.
Thanks to Mysterious Press for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Jan 8 2019, serial killer
In My Sister, the Serial Killer, Korede is a good sister, who cleans up her younger sister Ayoola’s messes, literally. With bleach.
Ayoola, though beautiful, has man problems—she keeps killing them. As the book begins, Ayoola has just killed her third boyfriend. After googling the definition of serial killer, Korede realizes it fits her sister.
When Korede catches Ayoola trying to hit on Dr. Tade at Korede’s work, Korede tries to stop her involvement. None of Ayoola’s relationships end well for the man and Korede has her eye on Tade for herself. When Ayoola takes Korede’s words as a challenge, the fun begins.
If you like black humor set in exotic Lagos Nigeria, you will love My Sister, the Serial Killer as much as I do. It is hard not to sympathize with poor plain Korede’s plight. Her sister is obviously just using her and all her boyfriends. It is a fun read from a completely new perspective. 4 stars!
Thanks to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Nov 20 2018, serial killer
Think Yourself Lucky is not this famed author’s best work.
Co-workers, Emily, Helen, Bill, Andrea and David work in a travel agency. David is a grouch who complains about everything—his job, his girlfriend and his life. Meanwhile, an unnamed narrator is committing horrendous murders. When David discovers a blog using his fantasy blog name talking about the murders, he is concerned. The victims are people at which he was recently angry. Is someone stalking him or is he committing the murders in some sort of fugue state?
The plot of Think Yourself Lucky sounds great but the execution is flawed. I had to force myself to read it because it was so mean-spirited. I loved reading Ramsey Campbell in the 1980s. He was in a close race for perfect horror writer with Stephen King and Dean Koontz. However, please don’t judge his abilities by Think Yourself Lucky. This reads like one of the “drawer books”—books that didn’t quite make the cut for publication in the writer’s heyday but are worth a few bucks on the author’s name alone at the end of his career. Please read Cold Print or Dark Companions or any of the author’s 80s book rather than this one. 1 star.
Thanks to Flame Tree Press and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Horror, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Nov 13 2018, serial killer
Hilarious serial killer thriller where no one wants to be the next #FashionVictim.
Everyone fantasizes about how to kill their office rivals (or maybe that’s just me). Few carry those fantasies out in real life. Anya is prepared to kill an intern for a pitying look. When the intern is found dead by shoe, Detective Hopper, who looks like a Calvin Klein model, investigates. In the meantime, La Vie (sounding suspiciously like Vogue) staffers are instagramming selfies with the corpse with #DeathbyAccessories, #KillerShoes and of course, #FashionVictim hashtags.
OMG, #FashionVictim is hilarious! It is perfect for Devil Wears Prada fans jaded by social media. It is also similar to American Psycho as you are dropped into a psychopath’s thoughts by the use of first person narration. 5 stars!
Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an advance copy.
Posted in Humor, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Sep 11 2018, serial killer
Sons of Cain is the story of real serial killers from the stone age to now.
The book is divided into three parts. Part I contains definitions, Earth’s history and man’s place in it, and psychological diseases that may be causing serial killers to be more frequent now. Part II and III are the meat of the book focusing on pre-Industrial society and from Jack the Ripper forward, respectively.
You can skip Part I and just look up anything for which you need additional information later. It’s written like a textbook—informative but bone dry. In addition, if you are not a fan of Darwin’s evolution, it goes down that rabbit hole for a bit too.
The remaining parts are a mixed bag of pedantic, interesting and fascinating. My favorites were the 1874 Bostonian 14-year-old Jesse Pomeroy, Jack the Ripper and the extensive analysis of why serial killers began to be more prevalent in 1960s to peaking in the 1990s.
Sons of Cain is an interesting true tale of serial killers. It is recommended for readers or viewers of thrillers containing serial killers like Silence of the Lambs and Dexter. It is highly recommended to writers of stories involving serial killers. And, of course, current, past or future serial killers (you know who you are) should pick up this book to avoid making the same mistakes as their predecessors (just kidding). 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Berkeley, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: Aug 14 2018, serial killer, true crime
This time it’s personal for Sherlock and Savich in Paradox, the latest book in the FBI Thriller series.
Sherlock and Savich awake to an attempted kidnapping of their five-year-old son, Sean. Concurrently, Chief Ty witnesses a murder on a lake. When the lake is dragged for the victim, many old bones are found along with the new body. A old belt buckle is found with the victims that links the case to another in Sherlock and Savich’s history. The three stories intertwine as the plot plays out.
Regardless of which series I’m reading, Catherine Coulter never fails to keep me entertained. Even in the 22nd book in this series, the suspense is kept at a fever pace. Paradox begins with a breathless adrenaline rush and finishes with a twisty but not ultimately surprising finale. I liked Enigma, the immediately prior book in the series, more (review here) than this one but that was because of the science in that book. Still this book is highly recommended for thriller fans. 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Gallery Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Jul 31 2018, serial killer, series, Sherlock & Savich
Find You in the Dark is a great concept bogged down with poor plotting and characterization.
Martin Reese has a secret. He likes to determine where serial killers bury their victims, dig them up, photograph them, rebury the bodies and then leave anonymous snarky messages for the police telling the bodies’ location. His obsession leads him to marry the sister of one victim and stumble onto a recent victim. As the recent victim’s killer stalks Martin so does Detective Sandra Whittal. She believes Martin has a more serious motive for his obsession than providing closure for the victims’ families.
Even with such a great premise, this book fails on evoking suspense. The first half drags with only the last 10% having any sort of page-turning momentum. Also, none of the characters feel like sympathetic genuine people. Therefore, Find You in the Dark earns only 3 stars.
Thanks to Atria and NetGalley for an advance copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Jun 19 2018, serial killer
Angela Wong’s body is found buried and dismembered fourteen years after her disappearance in Jar of Hearts.
DNA links the crime to Calvin James, aka the Sweetbay Strangler, who is ultimately found guilty of four murders. His 16-year-old girlfriend at the time of the murder, Geo Shaw, is found guilty too but receives only a five-year sentence due to her testifying against Calvin.
Jar of Hearts tells the story of the trial, Geo’s prison time, and what happens when she gets out of prison. Each section is based on one of the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I think it is best not to tell more of the plot. Personally, I read a review that gave away the surprise twist ending, which is just rude.
The book is recommended for thriller fans. How Geo survives in prison is an interesting story but the meat of the story is in the last two thirds after she gets out. There are some twists in the story and the ending is good so Jar of Hearts receives a solid 3 stars from me. Be aware that there is a rape scene and a sexual assault in the book if that bothers you.
Thanks to the publisher, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Jun 12 2018, serial killer