Review: A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

Summary: When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, Chloe’s father had been arrested as a serial killer and put in prison. Chloe and her family were left to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath.

Now 20 years later, Chloe is a psychologist in private practice in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. She finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to get. And then a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, and that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, seeing parallels that aren’t really there, or for the second time in her life, is she about to unmask a killer?

Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: ★★★★

A Flicker in the Dark is a stunning debut novel that packs all the punches of the thriller genre without becoming a cliché story full of ridiculous tropes. I was immediately sucked into this story and had a truly difficult time setting it down. I wanted to rush to the end to figure out what happened and solve the mystery.

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Review: The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Summary: In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her? Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with other final girls in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone is determined to take their lives apart again. But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

Genre: horror, thriller
Rating: ★★★★

Grady Hendrix is spreading like wildfire through the horror community, and I fully support it. I was admittedly a little hesitant to read this when it first came out because it sounded exactly the same as Final Girls by Riley Sager, but I actually enjoyed this more, and it’s purely because Hendrix packs all the punches of the horror genre. He isn’t afraid to make bold storylines, insane twists, and include all the gore.

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Review: The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

Summary: Elka barely remembers a time before she knew Trapper. She was just seven years old, wandering lost and hungry in the wilderness, when the solitary hunter took her in. In the years since then, he’s taught her how to survive in the desolate land where civilization has been destroyed and men are at the mercy of the elements and each other. But the man Elka thought she knew has been harboring a terrible secret. He’s a killer. A monster. And now that Elka knows the truth, she may be his next victim.

Armed with nothing but her knife and the hard lessons Trapper’s drilled into her, Elka flees into the frozen north in search of her real parents. But judging by the trail of blood dogging her footsteps, she hasn’t left Trapper behind — and he won’t be letting his little girl go without a fight.

Genre: thriller, horror
Rating: ★★★

I went into The Wolf Road expecting a cat-and-mouse chase through the wilderness, and in some ways that’s what I got, but I also feel like there was so much more to this story than I ever could have anticipated. Elka discovers Trapper’s true identify extremely early on in the story, so the bulk of the book is about her on the run. However, along the way she meets riveting, charming, and sometimes vicious people, often getting into dangerous situations. She learns so much about herself along the way — not only about her background, but also about the type of person she is versus is not.

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Review: Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Summary: Charlie Jordan is being driven across the country by a serial killer. Maybe. Behind the wheel is Josh Baxter, a stranger Charlie met by the college ride share board. On the road they share their stories, carefully avoiding the subject dominating the news – the Campus Killer, who’s tied up and stabbed three students in the span of a year, has just struck again.

Travelling the journey between university and their final destination, Charlie begins to notice discrepancies in Josh’s story. As she plans her escape from the man she is becoming certain is the killer, she starts to suspect Josh knows exactly what she’s thinking. Meaning she could very well end up as his next victim.

Genre: thriller
Rating: ★★

I started to slightly dislike Riley Sager once I found out he was using a unisex pseudonym to potentially lure in a different demographic of readers. I know people do this all the time, but I remember feeling let down when I learned the stories I had enjoyed were written by (insert dramatic sigh) another white man. However, I still found myself devouring his books, because even if they weren’t downright terrifying, they were still strong contenders in the overwhelmingly average thriller genre.

Until I read Survive the Night. This is not only his worst book, but also one of the weakest thrillers to come from 2021. And it almost exclusively boils down to the main character being the dumbest person alive.

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Review: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Summary: One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop a t nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

Genre: mystery, thriller

The Good Girl is maybe one of the worst books I’ve ever read, and there’s a lot to unpack here. Other readers have given this four stars, and while it seems like such a dramatic difference compared to how I feel about it, I will say I understand why some people liked this book. It wasn’t completely terrible at times. However, a majority of the problems lie in the very last chapter of the book.

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