The Girl on the Train Book Review

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN BOOK REVIEW THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN BOOK REVIEW​       Indeed, even the most clever readers will be in for a stun as Hawkins gradually unspools current realities, uncovering the brutal real factors of…   READ REVIEW THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN BY PAULA HAWKINS ‧ RELEASE DATE: JAN. 13, 2015 […]

If It Bleeds by Stephen King Book Review

IF IT BLEEDS BOOK REVIEW IF IT BLEEDS BOOK REVIEW Vintage King: a pleasure for his many fans and not a bad place to start if you’re new to him. READ REVIEW IF IT BLEEDS BY STEPHEN KING ‧ RELEASE DATE: APRIL 20, 2020 The master of supernatural disaster returns with four horror-laced novellas. The protagonist of the […]


A JUSTIFIED MURDER BOOK REVIEW A JUSTIFIED MURDER BOOK REVIEW     Readers who are new to the series will quickly catch up. Juicy neighborhood gossip and a good dose of humor build up to a…   READ REVIEW A JUSTIFIED MURDER RELEASE DATE: FEB. 26, 2019   In the second installment of the Medlar […]


THE A LIST THE A LIST     Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how…   READ REVIEW THE A LIST RELEASE DATE: APRIL 2, 2019   Aconvicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already […]


THE HIDING PLACE THE HIDING PLACE     Tudor came out swinging with Chalk Man (2018), but this one puts her firmly on the map. Not to be missed.   READ REVIEW THE HIDING PLACE RELEASE DATE: FEB. 5, 2019   When Joe Thorne takes a teaching job in the small English village of his […]

The Silence of the White City Book Review

THE SILENCE OF THE WHITE CITY THE SILENCE OF THE WHITE CITY The first installment in García Sáenz’s White City Trilogy is a work of impressive scope and depth, compellingly written.   READ REVIEW THE SILENCE OF THE WHITE CITY  RELEASE DATE: JULY 28, 2020 After a long hiatus, has a notorious serial killer returned […]

OPEN WOUND Book Review

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Takemoto’s debut novel, Bio-Justice (2017), was an SF thriller, but this sophomore effort is a straightforward police procedural with plenty of mayhem and intrigue. As the story opens, it’s the summer of 1996, and recently retired, well-known Los Angeles detective Douglas Hale, who’s nearing 50, is preparing to relocate to New York City. However, at the moment, there’s a serial murderer on the loose in Manhattan who’s targeting police officers and collecting their badges as grisly souvenirs. Soon after Doug and his new wife, technology company executive Karen, arrive in the city and get settled, a new issue of Time magazine comes out with Doug’s photo on the cover—the result of a high-profile interview he gave before he left LA. This places him right in the killer’s crosshairs—and it soon becomes clear that young murderer has a vicious, personal vendetta against the former cop. The delusional killer is a well-developed character, and the author fleshes out his motives with skill, revealing him to be the son of Doug’s former girlfriend, a drug addict. Indeed, Takemoto embodies the murderer with so much anger and resentment that he becomes a veritable monster prowling the streets of Manhattan. The revelation of the murderer’s identity happens early in the narrative, which stunts the suspense a bit. However, the author proves to be a keen storyteller who knows his way around a police procedural, and he keeps the action breathless while also offer plenty of detail.

A New York City police chief briefs Doug on the recent cop killings and begs for his seasoned expertise to help solve the case before he loses more officers. Of course, Doug agrees, and the story pivots straight into the mind of the killer, resulting in an action-packed cat-and-mouse thriller that puts Doug, his new bride, and several others in mortal danger. The murderer, who’s revealed to be a victim of severe physical abuse, meticulously plans out a “nice and slow” slaughter of Doug, which he sees as “a family reunion and a funeral wrapped into one.” Doug is shown to be a formidable policeman who immediately gets down to the work he’s known for by retracing his ex-girlfriend’s life among with drug dealers in the hope of tracking down her abandoned son before he kills again. Along the way, Takemoto effectively incorporates social commentary on dysfunctional foster care and mental health systems into his story. Doug and Karen are instantly likable characters made believable by their nagging insecurities, petty jealousies, and past long-term relationships. As the investigation heats up, so does the melodrama between Karen and Doug, and the latter eventually comes face to face with the killer in one of the book’s more gruesome scenes. The story speeds along to a heart-pounding finale, which thankfully leaves room for possible future installments detailing Doug’s future adventures.


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Someone kidnaps former top model Ava Germaine and drapes her in a “skin coat”—made from the skin of a human corpse—for a Fashion Week runway. St. Joseph’s Abbey later receives a bloody package addressed to Cecil LeClaire, the name one of its monks formerly used. Inside is a hand and a bracelet Cecil identifies as having belonged to Annabelle Leigh, his girlfriend who vanished a decade ago when they were both 14. Popular media theories include that Margaux was somehow involved in Annabelle’s abduction or that Cecil, heir to his mother Margaux’s LeClaire Model Management, killed Annabelle. Believing the “skin coat” was made from Annabelle’s skin, which a doctor eventually verifies, Cecil returns to New York to bury his past before taking his solemn vows. It’s quickly apparent that the teen models living in LeClaire Mansion are not living well, perpetually hungry and not allowed to leave without supervision. But Cecil soon suspects that a mysterious, fashion-affiliated person called VD is Annabelle’s killer and that Margaux may somehow be involved. He teams up with Ava to infiltrate VD-associated Quirk Model Management and discovers a world of sordidness, where maltreated women are mere products. Mangin’s relentlessly grim story takes a dim view of the modeling industry, noting a “model’s job was to play dead,” with 24-year-old Ava designating herself as “a really old hag.” Numerous characters are either unpleasant or flawed; Cecil mostly abides by his vows but has an obvious romantic interest in celebrated fashion designer Tazia Perdonna, who happens to be his godmother. Ava’s eccentricity, however, is a bright spot: She cares for a pet rat and tries to pass off movie plots as her personal history. Mangin writes in a confident, razor-edged style in a book with genuinely engaging elements, from VD to the perils of young female models.