The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood ~ 2013

One fateful summer morning in 1986, two 11-year-old girls meet for the first time and by the end of the day are charged with murder.

Author: Alex Marwood
Publisher: Penguin Books
Published July 30th 2013
Pages: 378
ISBN13: 9780143123866
Language: English
Cover design: Lucy Kim
Cover photograph: Stephen Mallon / Getty Images

5 Stars

Alex Marwood
Alex Marwood has her story unfold with Amber cleaning the House of Mirrors at Funnland, an amusement park located in the fictional resort town of Whitmouth on the English Channel and stumbles over a dead teenage girl. At first I couldn't understand her first reaction of wanting to hide the girl until it came clear Amber did not want her photo in the media of being the one who discovered the girl.

Kirsty is supporting two kids and an unemployed husband (Jim) as a reporter for a London newspaper and she travels to Whitmouth to cover the murder. The third female murder during that summer.
The descriptive scenes of Amber's wretched work environment as a cleaner and her co-workers who are have the visage of run-down workers from the economy portray Whitmouth's poverty.  The paper Kirsty works for wants Kirsty to report for the Sunday edition on how to make their readers feel better about their lives. Her paper claims "…No town where a killer is on the loose is allowed to be a nice town; it’s an unwritten law." Whitmouth is a town in economic recession and its growth is based on drunken visitors on short holiday spurts.  It makes her job a bit challenging.

Kirsty and Amber meet all these years later under very believable circumstances.

Jim and Kirsty throw a dinner "networking-employment" party for Jim and one of the guests had voiced himself on the serial murders that are going on and crime in general that ended with juvenile offenders being "little monsters" and should be locked up before there's any more victims from them.
Kirsty finds his remarks distressing, being labeled as a "wicked girl" from her past by the media when she and her day old new acquaintance were found guilty of abducting and murdering a four year old.

The girls were tried and convicted and sent to different juvenile facilities and were ordered never to see each other again. Ever. Kirsty has not told Jim or their kids about her past.
Amber has never told her partner Vic. Ever. And this charismatic handsome Vic holds his own secret which is revealed in a twisted way that twists the reader - even Amber.

The novel portrays Kirsty and Amber as productive, caring, loving adults and keeps you guessing on who is committing these murders. Well, with that thought, there is Martin.
Martin is a stalker who is badgering a woman who had dumped him after a one-night stand and is pissed off at the drunks that come to his town and is convinced that the murdered women "asked for it". Marwood leaves you thinking throughout many chapters, could it be Martin? This woman-hating stalker has redefined louse.

As kids, Kirsty and Amber were of different  social classes and how Marwood alternated present day chapters with those chapters that were set in the past shifting from Kirsty and Amber the reader might think their adult social class roles would have been the same but....

You read that Kirsty and Amber were both abused as kids and did they grow into being adult murderer's? Those two kids that had abducted and killed a four year old? Or was is it a complete innocent misjudgement on whose part - theirs?, societies?, both? Marwood leaves you thinking and pondering who really is the victim? even though you read who the killer is. Alex Marwood has a great novel here that has a twisted climax ending that you do not see coming.

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I would recommend the hell out of this one, folks

Here's where you can get your fingers on The Wicked Girls:

About the author ~

Serena Mackesy is the daughter of the Scots-born Oxford military historian Piers Mackesy. She is also the granddaughter on her mother's side of the novelist Margaret Kennedy and on her father's side of Leonora Mackesy (born 1902), who wrote Harlequin romances as Leonora Starr and Dorothy Rivers.

She grew up on the Oxfordshire/Gloucestershire borders and went to school in Oxford, where she gained a University of London degree in English literature from Manchester College, Oxford.

Mackesy worked variously in offices, as an English teacher and on door-to-door sales before, as she told an interviewer in 2000: "I arrived at The Independent as a temp to cover for the secretary on the TV listings page... for a couple of weeks, realised I'd found somewhere I enjoyed and somehow never left.... I think the first writing I did was little potted movie previews on the weekend TV spread. The first thing anyone seemed to actually notice was a small daily bar review I used to write when the paper had a London supplement."  By 1997 she was a regular columnist.

As a child Serena Mackesy was a keen rider. She has described Malta as her favourite place in the world.

Mackesy established her reputation with the novel The Temp (1999).  This went into the Sunday Times Top Ten on publication.  Since then she has published Virtue (2000), Simply Heaven (2002), and Hold My Hand (2008).

In 2012 she adopted the pseudonym Alex Marwood with the publication of the psychological thriller The Wicked Girls. This became a word-of-mouth bestseller in the UK, and was translated into 17 languages. It was included in Stephen King's Entertainment Weekly list of "The Ten Best Books I read this year" in 2013 and was shortlisted for an ITW award in the same year. The book won the Edgar Allan Poe Award (best paperback original) in 2014 and is also shortlisted for the Macavity and Anthony awards in the United States. A follow-up, The Killer Next Door, was published in 2014 to critical acclaim.

Work of Mackesy's has been translated into 19 languages. Writers she admires include Kurt Vonnegut, C. S. Lewis (Narnia series), John Donne and the "other" Elizabeth Taylor (Angel).

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Room by Emma Donoghue ~ 2010

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world.

Little, Brown and Company
Publication: September 13, 2010 
Pages: 321
ISBN: 9780316098335
Edition language: English
Dust Jacket Illustrator: Fearn de Vicq, partner at de Vicq Design

5 Stars

Emma Donoghue
The story starts off on Jack's 5th birthday, who lives with Ma and is looked "after" by Old Nick. Jack and Ma live in a tiny, 11-foot-square soundproofed cell in a converted shed in the kidnapper's yard that Jack calls Room and it is all Jack knows of the world.  Room does have the necessary amenities needed in life and the screen on the T.V. are imaginary pictures.  Jack has no idea that there is a real world beyond Room.

What was a great kick for me was how Jack used proper nouns on inanimate objects as he narrated this story.

Ma was abducted seven years prior by Old Nick at the age of 19 and had a baby before Jack arrived in this world.  The baby, a girl, had died from the umbilical cord which was wrapped around her neck during the birth.  Then came Jack.

About a week after Jack's birthday Ma finds out that Old Nick isn't working anymore and believes things will become a lot worse now and decides that she and Jack need to escape.  After Old Nick had broke her wrist before during an attempted escape and Jack startling Old Nick one night causing him to shut the power off for several days, Ma tells Jack that the images he sees on the T.V. are actually real, and naturally, Jack finds it hard to believe.

They devise a plan - she fakes Jack having a fever and diarrhea and that night she demands that Old Nick take Jack to a hospital.  Old Nick refuses because he is afraid that the boy will inform the authorities about Room. So, plan B - Ma and Jack rehearse an escape plan, Jack will die. Jack will be rolled up in Rug and when Old Nick gets there he will see that Ma has prepared him to be taken away. Then when the truck slows in traffic or stops at a traffic light, Jack will squeeze out from Rug and jump down from the truck and run for help. That night Jack has "died" and is rolled up in Rug and Old Nick will take him to some remote spot and dump him.

Things go according to plan and when Jack jumps off the truck just a few blocks from Room, Old Nick pursues him.  A passer-by sees what is going on and rescues Jack and calls the police. The police arrive and after having a bit of communication problem with Jack they do find Ma and she is rescued.  Old Nick is arrested and faces some serious time - like life!

Ma and Jack are taken to a mental hospital and get medical TLC.  Now you could imagine being kidnapped for seven years things change.  Ma finds out that her parents are now divorced and her older brother is married and has a child of his own.  The media gets wind of what is going on and this story gets national attention.  Everything is going like a hundred miles an hour for Ma and she has a mental breakdown and tries to commit suicide.  Jack goes to live with Grandma and her new partner in life and things are hard on Jack.  New things, new surroundings, new life for a five year old where everything he sees he had thought were make believe.

Ma and Jack do get back together and start living at this independent living facility where Jack has his own room and slowly starts to accept life as it is happening around him.  But being in Room all his life Jack has this attachment to it as one could understand.  He needs to go back and see it, if at anything, for one last time.  And he does.  And you gotta smile to yourself when you read that Room does not have the same thing for Jack as he thought it would. He can finally close Door on Room once and for all.
(and please DO NOT read it) what made the whole book, for me, was the very last word.


Emma Donoghue on Room

11 November 2014

Shooting is underway for the movie version of Room starring William H. Macy, Joan Allen, Jacob Tremblay and Brie Larson.

Here's where you can get your finger's on Room:

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Shatter by Michael Robotham ~ 2009

First he'll break your heart.

Then he'll destroy your mind...


Published: March 17th 2009
Pages 433
Language: English
ISBN10: 0385517912
ISBN13: 9780385517911
Jacket Illustrator: Cover Art

4 Stars


Michael Robotham

One of the members of our book club, The Thrillers & Chillers, had introduced me to Michael Robotham's writings and folks, definitely read of Joe O'Loughlin, a psychologist turned professor, who is dealing with his own problems with Parkinson's disease and his marriage.

What a believable character Joe is. This is book number three with Joe O'Loughlin. The first of this series is The Suspect (2004), then Lost (2005) aka The Drowning Man.

Shatter opens with the police asking for Joe's help to stop a naked woman from jumping from a bridge. When he gets there he sees the woman talking on a cell phone and without any luck persuading her off the bridge, she jumps. The last words she says are to him - "You don't understand."

Joe is troubled with disappointment within himself - that he couldn't save the woman - and as the story moves along, the teenage daughter of the woman finds him and tells him she was not suicidal and her mother had a fear of heights.

Joe, being Joe, is soon obsessed with discovering who was on the other end of that phone. Joe starts the search and is caught up in a string of murders. He finds that the killer is more psychotic than he expects but I had felt that the killer still had some 'human' in him, but, being able to break people's minds with words over the phone had me (morbidly/horridly) intrigued to keep turning the pages.

Very believable characters, unpredictable plot twists, and definitely worth reading for thriller lovers.

Here's where you can get your fingers on Shatter:

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House by Frank E. Peretti & Ted Dekker ~ 2006

One game. Seven players. Three rules. Game ends at dawn.


Published: March 13th 2006
Pages 386
Language: English
ISBN10: 1595541551
ISBN13: 9781595541550
Jacket Illustrator: Brodart

Frank E. Peretti
This story is a haunted house that represents the evil of each person's heart without having Christ. The book starts off with Jack and Stephanie are on their way seeking some marriage counseling in Alabama. On the way, Jack is almost rear-ended by a state-boy and he eventually pulls them over. Jack stops and the officer races past them.  WTH? They drive on and Stephanie convinces Jack they are lost. Jack sees the lights of a police car ahead and stops to ask for directions. It's the same cop who almost rear-ended them earlier.

Ted Dekker

Officer Lawdale, asks Jack to step out of the car and walk to the back of the car. He uses his billy club to point out a brake light on their car that isn't working. As they talk about the light officer Lawdale tells Jack the road ahead is under repair but how kind is he to point out a shortcut through the backwoods. Mmm. He warns the two that if they have car trouble they should stay in their car until he comes back through in the morning on his way home. Stephanie doesn't like the idea, but, Jack takes the detour. Men, right?

Jack and Stephanie travel on this back road for quite some time and the only sign they have seen is one for a hotel called the Wayside Inn. Just after Jack suggests they stay there the night, their car hits a spike strip and all 4 tires are slashed. They walk to the Inn where they find another couple who have had the same problem.

Soon the lights go out in the house and the two couples meet the owners of the Inn who are pretty damn rude. They all eventually sit down for dinner and the food starts to rot in front of their eyes. Stephanie gets up to run from the house and is stopped by a man with a shotgun who chases her back in and locks the two couples and the "owners" of the Inn in the house. He throws an old soup cap down the chimney that outlines the rules of a game that he decides to play with them. He makes them go against each other by seeking one dead body in exchange for the freedom of the others.

You've gotta read this and see if Officer Lawdale... or.... ~ Evilicious.

Yes, I would recommend this read - great page-turner

Here's where you can get your fingers on House:

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The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco ~ 2014

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published: August 5th 2014
Pages: 267
ISBN: 9781402292187
Jacket Illustrator: Matthew Maris

Okiku kicks!  What an evilicious read. It is a story of a young girl that had died 300 years ago by a man who tossed her body down a well.  Okiku has wandered the world for centuries, freeing the innocent ghosts of the murdered-dead and taking the lives of killers with the vengeance they are due.  She hunts murderers - child killers.

When a young boy named Tark with very strange tattoos that carry an evil secret moves into a new neighborhood, he gets her eye.  As the story moves along, they travel to a remote valley in Aomori, Japan where doll rituals and exorcisms claim....

Great YA thriller and I loved the Japanese myths/folklore that were added.  Rin knows how to vividly portray the settings so the reader can actually escape their own reality, and, be in the element for awhile.

Pace was point on with all the anticipations, I need to add.  

Excellent story! Looking forward to the sequel, The Suffering. Thanks for your imagination Rin!

The Girl From The Well

Here's where you can get your finger's on The Girl from the Well:
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Consumed by David Cronenberg ~ 2014

The exhilarating debut novel by iconic filmmaker David Cronenberg: the story of two journalists whose entanglement in a French philosopher’s death becomes a surreal journey into global conspiracy.

Publisher: Scribner
Publication:  September 30, 2014
Pages: 308
ISBN13: 9781416596134
Edition language: English
Jacket design: William S Burroughs Cover Art

David Cronenberg

Wow! This debut novel by iconic filmmaker  David Cronenberg's devours the senses. Truth be told, I was going to put this book on the shelf, but glad I didn't. The author's empowering knowledge of present day photographic equipment and 3-d printers makes one hell of a story.

The story is of two journalists,Naomi and Nathan, whose interest in a French philosopher’s death becomes a journey into global conspiracy.

Naomi is drawn to Celestine and Aristide Arosteguy, Marxist philosophers and sexual libertines. Celestine is found dead and Aristide has disappeared. Police suspect him of killing her and consuming parts of her body. A graduate student named Herve Blomqvis helps Naomi try to find Aristide and she finds very disturbing details about their sex life including trysts with Herve.

At the same time Nathan is in Budapest photographing the work of an unlicensed surgeon named Zoltan Molnar, once sought by Interpol for organ trafficking. After sleeping with one of Molnar’s patients, Nathan contracts a rare STD called Roiphe’s. Nathan then travels to Toronto, to meet the man who discovered the STD, a. Dr. Barry Roiphe. Nathan learns, he now studies his own adult daughter, whose behavior hides a secret. A secret that is more than overwhelming.

The narrative's of Naomi and Nathan are cleverly tied together and this story is provocative to say the least. Very good read.


Here's where you can get your fingers on Consumed:

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About the author  ~


Connect with David Cronenberg


David Paul Cronenberg is a Canadian film director and occasional actor.

He is one of the principal originators of what is commonly known as the body horror or venereal horror genre.  This style of filmmaking explores people's fears of bodily transformation and infection.  In his films, the psychological is typically intertwined with the physical.

In the first half of his career, Cronenberg explored these themes mostly through horror and science fiction, culminating in his visceral and emotional remake of The Fly (1986), with Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, followed by Dead Ringers (1988), with Jeremy Irons in the lead role.

Cronenberg has worked with Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen in A History of Violence (2005), Eastern Promises (2007), both crime thrillers, and period drama A Dangerous Method (2011), also with Michael Fassbender (Promotheus)and Keira Knightley, and Twilight star Robert Pattinson in Cosmopolis (2012) and Maps to the Stars (2014), also featuring Julianne Moore.

Consumed (2014) is the first novel by Cronenberg.

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Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson ~ 2011

'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me...'

Publisher: Harper
Publication: June 14th 2011
Pages: 359
ISBN13: 9780062060556
Edition language: English
Jacket design: Marie C. Nichols

S. J. Watson

What a disturbing sensational debut. A great book for discussion at your book club.

I would recommend that you do not have anything planned that you need to do, for when a writer makes you pay attention to detail for clues are in-itself grounds for a great page-turner read. 

If you can stand the thrill & chill, this is your read.  The story is a psychological thriller about a woman suffering from anterograde amnesia.

She wakes up every day with no knowledge of who she is and she tries to reconstruct her memories from a journal she's been keeping. She learns her name is Christine Lucas and she is a married 40 year old mother of a son. She's been seeing a doctor who is helping her to recover her memory and as the story unfolds this journal starts to cast doubts (truth?) about this knowledge she reads everyday.

She has a great inner strength to find out the truth behind this madness and she does. One thing for sure, don't forget your loved ones. Or else.

I most recommend folks  ~ wow what a delicious read!

Before I Go to Sleep

Here's where you can get your fingers on Before I Go to Sleep:

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About the author  ~


Connect with S. J. Watson

S J Watson’s first novel, Before I Go To Sleep, is a phenomenal international success.  A bestseller around the world, it won The Crime Writers’ Association Award for Best Debut Novel and The Galaxy National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year.  The film of the book, starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong, and directed by Rowan Joffe, was released in September 2014.
SJ Watson was born in the Midlands and now lives in London.

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Island Girl by Lynda Simmons ~ 2010

There are people who try hard to forget their problems. All Ruby wants to do is remember...

Publisher: Berkley Trade
Published December 7th 2010
Paperback, 448 pages
ISBN: 9780425237243
Edition language: English
Dust Jacket Illustrator: Jean Pajot

Lynda Simmons

This novel is about a dysfunctional family having to deal with Alzheimer's and the relationships within that family. It was set in an idyllic setting that I could see and I did enjoy reading this story, although Ruby grew on me like mold.

I could not believe the restraints on Grace. Sure she let her go bird watching, bicycling, and anything that did not require Ruby's "supervision". Her reins were so tight that Ruby HAD to snoop on her computer, lie to her and basically never telling her the whole truth on almost everything. Ruby treated her like she was incapable of being her own person. My heart went out for Grace; she tried her best even with her intellectual delay.

Liz, Grace's sister and promising attorney turned alcoholic, I was hoping she would eventually turn her life around and glad she did thanks to her Russian support group Nadia.

There are numerous characters that all hold an individual color to the story and I would recommend this novel to anyone who would love a good read. The ending sums up the hopes that the reader is hoping for and pulls everyone together; there is one beautiful surprise for Grace.

Here's where you can get your finger's on Island Girl:

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About the author  ~


 Connect with Lynda

I'm a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends.  I grew up reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement.  From an early age, my family knew I would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats.  As luck would have it, I married a man with allergies so writing it was.

I started out writing romantic comedy for Harlequin and Kensington, and made the leap to mainstream in 2009 with Getting Rid of Rosie, a paranormal comedy.

When I'm not writing or teaching, I like to canoe, cross-country ski and watch movies.  I usually have three books on the go as well -- one by the bed, one in the bathroom, and one in the family room.  At least two of those are usually research books for whatever I'm working on at the time.  I think that half the appeal of writing is the research!

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