July Short Reviews

Here are a few things that I’ve been reading:

Final Girls by Riley Sager

Quincy Carpenter is one of only three “final girls”, each of which survived a massacre in different areas of the country.  While Quincy survived her ordeal, her memory did not and she has no recollection of most of what happened that terrifying night. However, at the beginning of this book, she is not doing too badly. She has a fiance and a successful cooking blog. But when one of the final girls, Lisa, commits suicide, it seems so out of character that Quincy becomes determined to figure out what really happened. The appearance of the third final girl, Sam, further complicates matters, and soon Quincy is struggling to figure out not only who she can trust, but also the truth of what happened to her that night, and it soon becomes clear that her life is depending on her figuring out the answers.

This book has a great thriller pacing to it, and I found the story to be engaging. Sager drew me in quickly with the idea of playing with the final girl trope. I know it’s something that’s been done a lot at this point, but Sager works to keep this fresh and different. The story kept me guessing until the end and it was definitely a fun read!

What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine

Maisie Cothay grows up with an unusual curse: anything she touches dies – or is revived. She lives on an estate at the edge of a mysterious forest, isolated from the world around her because of her condition. Her father, and pretty much everyone, has warned her not to go into the forest, and there are many legends of local men who have gone missing over the years. What Maisie additionally learns, though, is that many of the women in her family – ancestors from years gone by – have also gone missing in that forest. However, when Maisie’s father goes missing, she dares to venture into the forest in search of him, and she finds much more than she had bargained for.

I love the fairy-tale feel of this book, but it is not soft and pretty, there is definitely an edginess to it. It is frightening in some areas, and the fantasy elements have a darkness that I always enjoy. The resolution of this book, is interesting, but I think I mostly enjoyed the telling of the story itself. Maisie has an interesting viewpoint and her struggles with her condition and those around her lend a loneliness that makes the story even more haunting. Recommended for those that like Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch

Constable Peter Grant is just starting his career and hoping that he won’t be assigned to what is basically desk duty. However, his fortune changes when while assisting with a murder investigation he is approached by a ghost – offering him information. This odd interaction leads to him being assigned to work with Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightengale, who works on those sorts of cases, and who also happens to be a wizard. Peter and Nightengale team up to investigate a mysterious string of murders. Along the way, they are assisted by a variety of water elementals, each of whom is a different river that flows through the city. Throughout it all, Peter struggles to master his own growing magical skills, and become acclimated to his new role.

I loved this book and will probably devour the series! This would probably fall more into the urban fantasy genre, and readers of Jim Butcher’s Dresden series will probably enjoy this, as well. As the story developed and I learned more about the case, I was pleasantly surprised at how very original this idea was!

Check back in for more posts soon! I’ve been reading and watching some great stuff, and there are some new releases that will be coming out soon that are going to make for some excellent reading!

Starr Creek: An Out of This World Ride

starrcreekfinal Recently I had the distinct pleasure of receiving an advance copy of Nathan Carson’s new novel Starr Creek. It took me a bit to get to sit down and read it because I was waiting to give it my full attention. So, not long ago I got comfy on my front porch and dipped in – and it took me for an amazing ride!

The story follows two sets of kids: an older group who are busily experimenting with a smorgasbord of mind altering substances, and a couple of younger boys who are more concerned with riding 3-wheelers and getting hold of some choice adult magazines. Both groups cross paths with a rather terrifying back woods family, and end up having to deal with something else … something not human.

Carson draws the reader in quickly by moving from an opening scene involving a discussion of an ancient deal between two dark creatures to a dog food eating contest in the local dive bar. During this contest we meet Puppy, the eldest male member of a family, the type of which you will probably recognize simply from his name (or that of his sister, Kitty). Puppy brings a very real atmosphere of physical violence, and it is soon made clear that he is not a person to be trifled with. Teens Bron, Allen, and Kira are mainly concerned with role playing games and tripping, and on an early morning trip in the woods have the unfortunate luck to stumble across Puppy in the middle of something that he would prefer no one else to have noticed. Meanwhile, pre-teens Charles and Ethan are on a mission to purchase illicit magazines, and run across something very unexpected in the woods.

What ensues is action packed. There are chases through woods and underground tunnels, mysterious communes with ageless leaders, unspeakable ceremonies with alien beings, and at the end of it all our protagonists are faced with crushing, life altering decisions.

This book is great fun, not only because of the original story and interesting characters, but also because of Carson’s writing style. I found hints of the styles of Philip K. Dick, Hunter S. Thompson, and Stephen King, with the influence of the Weird woven throughout. The combination of ideas and techniques creates a work which is something completely it’s own and which makes for a compelling read, all the way up to the fiery finish. Starr Creek will be available for purchase November 15th. I highly recommend picking up a copy!