Nat Cassidy’s Mary: An Awakening of Terror opens with one of the most genuine author’s notes I’ve ever read. Cassidy details a close relationship with his mother, who, like many of us, was a Stephen King fan. Upon seeing the film poster of De Palma’s 1976 film adaptation of Carrie, starring Sissy Spacek, Cassidy was “messed up bad.” Continue Reading
Things are pretty good in a small Chicago suburb. The kids play together, parents help one another watch the kids, and the neighbors constantly hold potlucks and holiday cookouts.
Four friends, Amy, Liz, Jess, and Melissa, hold wine nights to break away from the pretentious PTA crowd and their long stories of kitchen renovations. Liz, the softie of the group, and the most “together” hostess, suggests the crew build a “She Shed.” Ever the go-getter, Liz begins construction immediately, and the women “christen” the site with pinot and chardonnay, unknowingly disturbing a restless entity.
There is a place secluded by an untenable smog, a 30-foot drop lake, and shrouded with acrimonious fungi. Some say it is the place the devils dance on moors. Others say at this ancestral residence, The House of Usher, they can hear the worms in the earth, craving flesh. Continue Reading
We’ve seen it for generations: a well-spoken, charismatic person derails the ingrained ideals of humanity. Take the most horrific war leaders of World War II, like Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini. Both men, with bloodied hands and a lack of empathy to such outlandish extents that many have argued exemplified psychopathy, not only led their armies down a wretched road of antisemitism, barbarity, and murder but did so with their recruits’ eagerness and even enthusiasm.
The same question is often asked throughout history, whether regarding dictators, crime bosses, or cult leaders: Why do people go along with this?Continue Reading
In a perfect world, mothers are kind, gentle beings who protect their children at all costs. The catch, however, is that a mother must be selfless and nurturing in every role — an inevitability doomed expectation.
In Katrina Monroe’s They Drown Our Daughters, the prologue in the 1800s sets the stage for a mother’s fierce fortitude in the wake of familial turmoil. But, things turn for the worse, and an unexpected, somewhat accidental tragedy unleashes the curse that haunts five generations of women. Continue Reading
If it weren’t for all the wicked haunted house scenes and terrifying entities in Home Before Dark, I’d say Riley Sager’s latest release, The House Across The Lake, is my new favorite of his. Continue Reading
He had it all: eye-catching good looks, an impressive educational transcript, and a reputation as a star athlete. But, like most criminals, that wasn’t enough for NFL draftee Randall (Randy) Woodfield, aka “The I-5 Killer.”
On a spring night in Portland, Oregon, Woodfield stalked the dark streets, hungry for an unsuspecting woman. Woodfield could already visualize her shock. He even thought that the woman might be honored by his attack because of his athletic build and strong jawline — what he knew to be “handsome features.”
He grabbed the woman and held a knife to her throat. Woodfield felt her pulse beneath the blade. His body surged with what was, to him, the pleasure of all pleasures, a helpless woman in his grasp. Continue Reading
Sally Oliver’s Garden of Earthly Bodies is a visceral vortex of blood and trauma.
In a uniquely elegant literary style, Oliver’s novel follows Marianne, whose life has become tense and overgrown with the weeds of trauma and enmeshment. Marianne’s younger sister, Marie, falls deathly ill and experiences heavy mood dips, frequent exhaustion, and severe depression — the three settling in as her reformed default personality. Continue Reading
The most unnerving true crime book is unearthed and shocked back to life in W.W. Norton & Company’s newest edition of The Stranger Beside Me by Anne Rule.
Rule is the undefeated champion of true crime writing, but this particular book will always be her most memorable. Unlike Rule’s other books, such as The I-5 Killer and Lust Killer, which focus heavily on the perpetrator, The Stranger Beside Me feels part investigative journalism, part memoir. Continue Reading
Lost to the wilds of war, death, and deceit, The Hacienda ensnares readers in its malevolent maw.
In Isabel Cañas’ debut novel, dread and unease snake up the spine of both the reader and characters in a tone as haunting as the mothers of gothic stories like Elizabeth Gaskell and Daphne du Maurier. Continue Reading
“In the face of cruel madness, calm, sane steps must be taken.” – Ann Rule
Ann Rule once again proves she is the exemplar of true crime books. After reading Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story, one of her most famous and intimately written true crime tales, I knew I had to read more of her work.Continue Reading