The Test – Sylvain Neuvel

Releases: 2.12.19.

Synopsis: Britain, the not-too-distant future.
Idir is sitting the British Citizenship Test.
He wants his family to belong.

Twenty-five questions to determine their fate. Twenty-five chances to impress.
When the test takes an unexpected and tragic turn, Idir is handed the power of life and death.

How do you value a life when all you have is multiple choice? Continue reading “The Test – Sylvain Neuvel”

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I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Iain Reid

Synopsis: You will be scared. But you won’t know why…

In this deeply suspenseful and irresistibly unnerving debut novel, a man and his girlfriend are on their way to a secluded farm. When the two take an unexpected detour, she is left stranded in a deserted high school, wondering if there is any escape at all. What follows is a twisted unraveling that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.  Continue reading “I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Iain Reid”

Carter & Lovecraft – Jonathan L. Howard

SynopsisDaniel Carter used to be a homicide detective, but his last case-the hunt for a serial killer-went wrong in strange ways and soured the job for him. Now he’s a private investigator trying to live a quiet life. Strangeness, however, has not finished with him. First he inherits a bookstore in Providence from someone he’s never heard of, along with an indignant bookseller who doesn’t want a new boss. She’s Emily Lovecraft, the last known descendant of H.P. Lovecraft, the writer from Providence who told tales of the Great Old Ones and the Elder Gods, creatures and entities beyond the understanding of man. Then people start dying in impossible ways, and while Carter doesn’t want to be involved, he’s beginning to suspect that someone else wants him to be. As he reluctantly investigates, he discovers that Lovecraft’s tales were more than just fiction, and he must accept another unexpected, and far more unwanted inheritance.  Continue reading “Carter & Lovecraft – Jonathan L. Howard”

Manifest Recall – Alan Baxter

Synopsis: Following a psychotic break, Eli Carver finds himself on the run, behind the wheel of a car that’s not his own, and in the company of a terrified woman he doesn’t know. As layers of ugly truth are peeled back and dark secrets are revealed, the duo find themselves in a struggle for survival when they unravel a mystery that pits them against the most dangerous forces in their lives.

A contemporary southern gothic thriller with frightening supernatural overtones, Alan Baxter’s Manifest Recall explores the tragic life of a hitman who finds himself on the wrong side of his criminal syndicate. Baxter’s adrenaline-fueled approach to storytelling draws readers into Eli Carver’s downward spiral of psychosis and through the darkest realms of lost memories, human guilt and the insurmountable quest for personal redemption. Continue reading “Manifest Recall – Alan Baxter”

Foe – Iain Reid

SynopsisWe don’t get visitors. Not out here. We never have.

In Iain Reid’s second haunting, philosophical puzzle of a novel, set in the near-future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with alarming news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm…very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Henrietta won’t have a chance to miss him, because she won’t be left alone—not even for a moment. Henrietta will have company. Familiar company. Continue reading “Foe – Iain Reid”

The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sager

Releases 7.3.18

Synopsis: Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.  Continue reading “The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sager”

The Outsider – Stephen King

Synopsis: An eleven-year-old boy is found in a town park, hideously assaulted and murdered. The fingerprints (and later DNA) are unmistakably those of the town’s most popular baseball coach, Terry Maitland, a man of impeccable reputation, with a wife and two daughters. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland coached, orders an immediate and public arrest. Maitland is taken to jail, his claim to innocence scorned. Maitland has a foolproof alibi, with footage to prove that he was in another city when the crime was committed. But that doesn’t save him either.

King constructs a propulsive plot, and a race against time to uncover the identity of a terrifying and diabolical killer who has left victims—and “perpetrators”—across the country, and who is on his way to his next horrific act.
Continue reading “The Outsider – Stephen King”

The Bottoms – Joe R. Lansdale

Synopsis: It’s 1933 in East Texas and the Depression lingers in the air like a slow moving storm. When a young Harry Collins and his little sister stumble across the body of a black woman who has been savagely mutilated and left to die in the bottoms of the Sabine River, their small town is instantly charged with tension. When a second body turns up, this time of a white woman, there is little Harry can do from stopping his Klan neighbors from lynching an innocent black man. Together with his younger sister, Harry sets out to discover who the real killer is, and to do so they will search for a truth that resides far deeper than any river or skin color. Continue reading “The Bottoms – Joe R. Lansdale”

Revival – Stephen King

Synopsis: A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life.

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs — including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties — addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate — Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings. Continue reading “Revival – Stephen King”

Pork Pie Hat – Peter Straub

“Back then, I didn’t know anything about grief, and Hat wore grief about him daily, like a cloak. Now that I am the age he was then, I see that most of what is called information is interpretation, and interpretation is always partial.”

This novella is about a jazz saxophonist, his memories about something horrible that he experienced on Halloween night when he was just 11 years old & the journalist he recounts his story to. In ways, this could be considered a coming-of-age story about childhood horror. That childhood horror then lapses into something much more. Real harrowing adult fears like addiction, aging & prejudism.

I received this in the Stephen King Nocturnal Reader’s Box. I have yet to read anything by Peter Straub (I STILL need to read The Talisman novels with King. I know. I KNOW!) so this was my first introduction to his writing (that I recall, anyway!)

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had a bit of time to squeeze in a shorter read before jumping into a MASSIVE FANTASY EPIC OF STABBY EPICNESS. You know, my usual kind of read! I read it in a day, which isn’t all that impressive, considering how short the book is. But it was an entertaining enough autumn read! Straub is obviously a competent writer & I will definitely be checking out more of his work outside of his books with King.. because there isn’t a question about those. I will literally read the phone book if King wrote it!

Inside the physical book is quite lovely. Not only are the black & white illustrations fantastic & atmospheric, but the extra details on the pages are quite pleasing to my eye! Cemetery Dance did a nice job with this, for sure!

-Holly