An insightful look at our morbid curiosity about murderers.

ALL THESE BODIES

A “nobody from nowhere” gets the scoop of a lifetime.

A paperboy and aspiring journalist in 1959 Black Deer Falls, Minnesota, 17-year-old Michael Jensen’s heard about the previous summer’s killings known as the Bloodless Murders or Dracula Murders. The body count so far is 12 blood-drained corpses found across the Midwest. Then blood-drenched 15-year-old Marie Catherine Hale is discovered at the scene of the Carlson triple homicide in Michael’s hometown. Ultimately unknowable Marie—cast as something of a femme fatale in contrast to Michael’s bland, Everyman foil—doesn’t deny her involvement but won’t identify her much-mythologized accomplice. Infuriating an ambitious district attorney, the police, and national news reporters, Marie chooses to tell her slippery, shifting, and allegedly supernatural story solely to Michael. More of a sympathetic confessor than a callous interrogator, Michael works to tease out Marie’s motives even as his community and the world question his entanglement with the case. Although she inserts a supernatural element, Blake otherwise grounds the true-crime–style tale—which acknowledges the influence of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood—in real-life issues like domestic abuse, poverty, privilege, and sexism. Paradoxically, even as the book scrutinizes the darker human appetite for serial killers, criminal escapades, and vengeance, it caters to these same urges. The enigmatic ending might leave readers without resolution, but like Marie’s “truths,” the full story may never be known. Main characters read as White by default.

An insightful look at our morbid curiosity about murderers. (map, author’s note) (Thriller. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-297716-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.

THE LAKE

Two teens with a dark secret return to their old summer camp.

Childhood friends Esme and Kayla can’t wait to return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors-in-training, ready to try everything they couldn’t do when they were younger: find cute boys, stay up late, and sneak out after hours. Even Andy, their straight-laced supervisor, can’t dampen their excitement, especially after they meet the crushworthy Olly and Jake. An intuitive 17-year-old, Esme is ready to jump in and teach her cute little campers. But when a threatening message appears, Esme and Kayla realize the secret they’ve kept hidden for nearly a decade is no longer safe. Paranoia and fear soon cause Esme and Kayla to revisit their ominous secret and realize that nobody in the camp can be trusted. The slow buildup of suspense and the use of classic horror elements contrast with lighthearted camp activities, bonding with new friends, and budding romance. Similarly, Esme’s first-person point of view allows for increased tension and action as well as offering insight into her emotional and mental well-being. Discussions of adulthood, trauma, and recovery are subtle and realistic, but acts of sexism and machismo aren’t fully analyzed. While the strong buildup of action comes late, it leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. Major characters are White.

An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge. (Thriller. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12497-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

CROOKED KINGDOM

From the Six of Crows series , Vol. 2

This hefty sequel to Six of Crows (2015) brings high-tension conclusions to the many intertwined intrigues of Ketterdam.

It's time for revenge—has been ever since old-before-his-time crook Kaz and his friends were double-crossed by the merchant princes of Ketterdam, an early-industrial Amsterdam-like fantasy city filled to the brim with crime and corruption. Disabled, infuriated, and perpetually scheming Kaz, the light-skinned teen mastermind, coordinates the efforts to rescue Inej. Though Kaz is loath to admit weakness, Inej is his, for he can't bear any harm come to the knife-wielding, brown-skinned Suli acrobat. Their team is rounded out by Wylan, a light-skinned chemist and musician whose merchant father tried to have him murdered and who can't read due to a print disability; Wylan's brown-skinned biracial boyfriend, Jesper, a flirtatious gambler with ADHD; Nina, the pale brunette Grisha witch and recovering addict from Russia-like Ravka; Matthias, Nina's national enemy and great love, a big, white, blond drüskelle warrior from the cold northern lands; and Kuwei, the rescued Shu boy everyone wants to kidnap. Can these kids rescue everyone who needs rescuing in Ketterdam's vile political swamp? This is dark and violent—one notable scene features a parade of teens armed with revolvers, rifles, pistols, explosives, and flash bombs—but gut-wrenchingly genuine. Astonishingly, Bardugo keeps all these balls in the air over the 500-plus pages of narrative.

How can such a hefty tome be un-put-down-able excitement from beginning to end? (glossary) (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-213-4

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

more