‘The Survivors’ Doesn’t Need Murder to Succeed (but it has that, too)

There’s no shortage of mysteries and thrillers set in small towns. That was basically the bread and butter of Masterpiece: Mystery for decades (not that I’m complaining), to say nothing of the dozens of murders Jessica Fletcher solved singlehandedly in her twee little Cabot Cove. Despite the proliferation of cozy mysteries, it’s rare that theyContinue reading “‘The Survivors’ Doesn’t Need Murder to Succeed (but it has that, too)”

Hench Asks Tough Qs Between Explosions

Everyone loves a good superhero story, according to box office figures. I used to be obsessed with the lore, Marvel, DC, and those weird, discount characters in tights and capes that someone invented with the sole purpose of getting a slice of that sweet superhero pie—I’m looking at you, The Cape (though to be fair,Continue reading “Hench Asks Tough Qs Between Explosions”

Vermilion is just really, really disappointing

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of getting the very oldest titles off my TBR, especially since starting this project. There are a few dusty, more obscure ones I’ve had trouble tracking down and had to wait until the ol’ budget was flush enough to make an order. Vermilion is one of those. IContinue reading “Vermilion is just really, really disappointing”

Magic and Wisdom Rise in ‘Defensive Baking’

I haven’t held back on my love for T. Kingfisher, though I’ve not been particularly tempted in reading her fantasy or her work for children under her “real” name, Ursula Vernon. What I liked about Kingfisher’s horror was the sarcasm and how masterfully humor and horror entwined themselves into one deliciously disorienting plot that wasContinue reading “Magic and Wisdom Rise in ‘Defensive Baking’”

‘Velvet Was the Night’ a Sizzling Noir

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s been at it for over six years, but I’m ashamed to admit she didn’t even appear on my radar until 2019’s Gods of Jade and Shadow (a historical fantasy) appeared on NPR’s Book Concierge. She got some well-deserved attention last year from readers and reviewers big and small with the release of MexicanContinue reading “‘Velvet Was the Night’ a Sizzling Noir”

From Tropes to Teen Survivors, ‘Final Girl’ Nods to Slashers

The happy ending of many horror movies, especially slashers, is that the one last main character (usually teen, female, conventionally attractive) walks away bruised and bloodied but alive while the killer dies a horrifically fitting death, often at the hands of the survivor. This happens so frequently, this character trope has a name: the finalContinue reading “From Tropes to Teen Survivors, ‘Final Girl’ Nods to Slashers”

Bigfoot and Big Scares in ‘Devolution’

One of the greatest, most terrible, most amazing parts about reading is when you find yourself absolutely immersed in a book and nothing—not responsibilities, relationships, or reasonable bedtimes—can draw you out of it. Which is why I was flipping ebook page after ebook page at 1:30 a.m. as I raced to reach the end ofContinue reading “Bigfoot and Big Scares in ‘Devolution’”

Rolling Waves of Lovely Prose Propel ‘Find’

There’s a dreaminess from The Ones We’re Meant to Find, even from the very cover, all soft edges and rolling waves. That sense never really lets up—even though it gets considerably more complicated in the middle—and in the end the yearning and saltwater mean as much, or more, than before. It’s a lovely exploration intoContinue reading “Rolling Waves of Lovely Prose Propel ‘Find’”

‘Moonflower’ Has Double the ‘Murders’

There’s a particular brand of murder mystery that’s tough to replicate: a quaint little town in England whose residents hide secrets behind the shutters of their neat little cottages, and when blood is spilled, a twee investigator from the outside comes to expose those secrets one by one. Anthony Horowitz may not have invented theContinue reading “‘Moonflower’ Has Double the ‘Murders’”

‘Tram Car’ More Fun Than ‘Haunting’

The fact the main characters are bored with a haunted, semi-sentient, magically propelled tram car in 1910s Cairo is a pretty good indication of things to come in P. Djeli Clark’s The Hunting of Tram Car 015. This slim novella may be a little light in character development or narrative indulgence, but packs in aContinue reading “‘Tram Car’ More Fun Than ‘Haunting’”