Category: Thriller Reviews

The Hero’s Folly: a Review of Shadow Dance by Martin Ott

The oft-mentioned shadows are less a motif than a thick overlay; they are attached to every chapter title and peppered liberally throughout the prose. Their frequent appearance constitutes not so much a choreographed “dance” than a densely-packed rave where the music is a single chorus on a thumping loop.

Amid the Glitz and Glam of Hollywood, City of Angles Just Can’t Find Its Light

We open on Vincenza Morgan, an aspiring young actress, who just so happens to have a corpse in her trunk. It’s a classic noir trope and rightfully so – the tension is immediate. As we untangle the strings that connect Vincenza to the man dead in her car – her lover, and one of the biggest stars of the screen – we explore Los Angeles and the entertainment industry.

A review of Dark Mode by Ashley Kalagian Blunt

Though this is Blunt’s first full-length thriller, it’s expertly crafted with all the right hooks and twists to keep you engaged and wanting to know what happens until the very end. The fast pace and the intensity of the situation that protagonist Reagan Carson finds herself in from page one doesn’t diminish or undermine the deep exploration of misogyny – both at an individual level and a structural one – that underpins the book, or the way it conveys a growing anxiety that is driven by more than the plot. 

A review of Book of Knives by Lise Haines

You might be excused for thinking this particular carton of tropes has languished in the back of the Frigidaire long past its freshness date. You might be excused, that is, if you haven’t read Lise Haines’ deliciously creepy Book of Knives. To enter this modern gothic is to enter a realm of deep and unmooring uncertainty, where the living may prey on the living and the dead — just possibly — might help or harm.

A review of Stalker Stalked by Lee Matthew Goldberg

Stalker Stalked nails the chaos and uber-dramaticism of reality television with Lexi’s self-destructive nature making the implosion of her life equally satisfying and tragic. The plummeting decay of order aligns well with the reality television aesthetic, compounded by explicit and raunchy scenes, the novel certainly appeals to lovers of messy dramas, chick-flics, and reality shows.

Paltry Arguments Lead to Ugly Consequences:A review of The Proud & the Dumb by Bob Freville

To sum it all up, The Proud and the Dumb is a fast-paced and funny political horror story that plays well with genre tropes while presenting its “monsters” with a opportunity for redemption. It is part dark comedy and part battle cry for reform. This short but sweet tale shines a light on the issues facing society today in a wholly entertaining yet less than fleshed out way. It seems to offer a brilliant but kind of stilted suggestion for how we might change course.

A review of The Counsel of the Cunning by Steven C. Harms

A complex, imaginative novel, The Counsel of the Cunningby Steven C. Harms, offers readers international thriller pacing combined with the precision of a police procedural and just the right gloss of mad scientist. It opens with a howler monkey and a kidnapped scientist, and it never slows down or lets up from there as the characters—good and bad—travel through vast landscapes and much danger. Broad in scope, the story is a bold adventure with harrowing interludes in which the prevailing question seems to be “what exactly is going on here?”

A review of Blue Madagascar by Andrew Kaplan

Blue Madagascar is a joyride with enough twists to keep you guessing till the very last chapter. Kaplan’s mystery is crafted with a sizeable amount of complexity, proving his talent, and enough authorial guidance to make the text easily accessible to any reader. It is a novel that never slows, yet never sacrifices detail. From front to back, this novel succeeded in stealing my focus. I simply had to
know where Kaplan would take me.

A review of Wayward Girls by Claire Matturro and Penny Koepsel

Matturro and Koespel artfully develop all the key elements of a horrifying thriller in Wayward Girls. The eerie atmosphere lingers like an unforgettable nightmare, an especially haunting one, considering the dedication indicates the story, while fictional, is based on real schools in Texas and Florida, with some of the most appalling events taken directly from official transcripts.