Macabre History is a Delight in ‘Monster’

When I told my husband the book I was reading was called Monster, She Wrote, he said, “You’re only reading that because it sounds like Murder, She Wrote,” and then proceeded to describe a whole horror-themed knockoff of the classic 1984-1996 series starring our absolute queen, Angela Lansbury. Which was completely insulting, because the Murder,Continue reading “Macabre History is a Delight in ‘Monster’”

‘Outlaw’ Lets Characters Ride Free in the Old West

I opened Anna North’s Outlawed expecting a leisurely and thoughtful exploration of misfits forced into a life of crime in the days of cowboys and covered wagons. Outlawed has misfits forced into a life of crime. It has cowboys and wagons a-plenty. But while it does explore misfits of various stripes, it does so in,Continue reading “‘Outlaw’ Lets Characters Ride Free in the Old West”

No Punches Pulled in ‘Indians’

In the opening chapter of The Only Good Indians, Ricky, one of the titular “Indians” has stepped outside a bar to take a leak when a massive and possibly hallucinatory elk appears, stomps on a bunch of cars, and leaves him to the mercy of a bunch of drunk white guys who mete out swiftContinue reading “No Punches Pulled in ‘Indians’”

A Two-for-One Take on ‘Ninth’s

The nice thing about being a little late to the game is that often the books I love already have sequels or the authors have otherwise published other work, so I can linger a little longer in the world or language than I would have if I had read them when the ink was stillContinue reading “A Two-for-One Take on ‘Ninth’s”

‘Space’ Does SciFi Proud

I’m not sure how much Michaiah Johnson knows about architecture, but if The Space Between Worlds is any indication, she sure can construct a plot. The debut novel has an immaculately constructed plot with parallels upon parallels to itself and real life—which, as it happens, you almost forget exists after being immersed in Johnson’s world.Continue reading “‘Space’ Does SciFi Proud”

A Quest Fulfilled, with a Disappointing End

For the last several years, I have been on a Quest. Something like twenty summers ago, my precocious, scrawny little-kid self would go to the bookmobile library at every opportunity and come home with a stack of books practically as tall as I was (which wasn’t that tall then, but still). The picture books, earlyContinue reading “A Quest Fulfilled, with a Disappointing End”

‘Liars’ is Nothing Short of Magic

Early on in the pandemic, I sat in the antiseptic-drenched donation room of the Red Cross and tried to read The Butchering Art. It was, as I said at the time, a fascinating and exceptionally well-written book, but something about the written depictions of surgery theater and infection contrasting with the new fears of theContinue reading “‘Liars’ is Nothing Short of Magic”

Magic and Sisterhood Soar in ‘Witches’

I read a lot more than the books I review, sometimes because I get distracted by kinda trashy books or nostalgia (the less said about the intersection of these, my rediscovery of R. L. Stein books earlier this year, the better) and sometimes because I just can’t think of anything clever to say about aContinue reading “Magic and Sisterhood Soar in ‘Witches’”