Tag Archives: suspense

The Read List: Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, by Paul Tremblay

disappearance at devils rock

Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, by Paul Tremblay:

Late one summer night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: her thirteen-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished without a trace in the woods of a local park.

The search isn’t yielding any answers, and Elizabeth and her young daughter, Kate, struggle to comprehend Tommy’s disappearance. Feeling helpless and alone, their sorrow is compounded by anger and frustration: the local and state police have uncovered no leads. Josh and Luis, the friends who were the last to see Tommy before he vanished, may not be telling the whole truth about that night in Borderland State Park, when they were supposedly hanging out a landmark the local teens have renamed Devil’s Rock.

Living in an all-too-real nightmare, riddled with worry, pain, and guilt, Elizabeth is wholly unprepared for the strange series of events that follow. She believes a ghostly shadow of Tommy materializes in her bedroom, while Kate and other local residents claim to see a shadow peering through their windows in the dead of night. Then, random pages torn from Tommy’s journal begin to mysteriously appear—entries that reveal an introverted teenager obsessed with the phantasmagoric; the loss of his father, killed in a drunk-driving accident a decade earlier; a folktale involving the devil and the woods of Borderland; and a horrific incident that Tommy believed connects them.

As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened become more haunting and sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about that night and Tommy’s disappearance at Devil’s Rock.

I have a hard time writing about books I really enjoyed, because I usually find myself reduced to wanting to say stuff like, “Read this already, okay?” and “Oh, wow” and “This was good. Really good. I mean it. This was good.”

Which is not particularly helpful. And, since I really enjoyed Disappearance at Devil’s Rock and find myself wanting to say, Just pick this one up and read it! I’ve been trying hard to figure out exactly what I should write (other than “You really should read this”).

So to make it easier on both me and you, I thought I’d do this in a list. That way, I can be incoherent and ramble on a bit, which is probably a lot more helpful than waving the book in the air and saying to everyone and anyone near enough to hear, “You need to read this!” (which is what I actually did say when I finished reading it).

  1. Disappearance at Devil’s Rock is billed as a horror, and yes, it is an eerie read, with lots of atmosphere and I think you’ll like it if you like horror … BUT this isn’t really a horror novel. At its heart, it’s about love and it’s about loss.
  2. So if you were thinking, this read isn’t for me, because I don’t like horror novels, I think you should still give this a try.
  3. It made me cry. I read this nearly a month ago, and even now, thinking back to that last scene, I can still remember why it made me cry.
  4. I read this in one long gulp. I literally couldn’t put it down, so it ended up being one of those books where you read the last words with a deep sigh and then realize, oh, crap, it’s 3 in the morning. I’m getting kind of old for this kind of thing, but at the same time, I’m very happy when I stumble across a book that keeps me reading deep into the night.
  5. Even though I couldn’t put the book down, this wasn’t a purely plot-driven novel, the kind that keeps you madly flipping the pages quickly, sort-of-kind-of taking in the words because really, you’re just hell-bent on getting to the end and finding out WHAT HAPPENED. Sure, there was plot, a good one at that, but  for me, it was the characters that really made this book work.
  6. I liked the way the narrative went back and forth between the present and the past. It worked well. And I was never confused about when in time I was. Always a really good thing.
  7. I think it could have used a better title. Disappearance at Devil’s Rock doesn’t really work for me. Actually, it makes me think of the Hardy Boys, so maybe it would work for me if I’m feeling like reading the Hardy Boys. Which I used to do all the time, back when I was 13. But not so much now. (Don’t ask me what would be a good title, though, because I’m not good at stuff like that.)
  8. I really enjoyed this book.

So a huge thanks to TLC Book Tours for sending me a review copy. And of course a huge thanks to Paul Tremblay for penning this one. And did I mention, you should read this already, okay?

 

Review: The Strain, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

The StrainA Boeing 777 packed full of passengers lands at JFK and begins its way across the tarmac when it suddenly stops dead – the engine’s turned off, all window shades are down, all the lights are off, and no-one on board is communicating with the outside world, not even passengers screaming about delays through their cell phones.

The Strain, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, begins with this eerie situation, and continues to pull you deep into the story at a full gallop. If you’ve been reading MsBookish.com for a while, you’ll know that I saved this book to take with me on holiday to Nova Scotia, where I then proceeded to read it one fog-filled morning, and didn’t put it down until I finished the book, late that same evening.

Perhaps not surprisingly, considering Del Toro’s film credentials, the book reads very much like an action-packed movie. Chapters are filled with shorter scenes that take the reader back and forth from place to place and character to character, all at a wonderfully thrilling speed that makes it difficult to put the book down until the very end.

Can you tell I enjoyed this book a lot? You’ve got a vampire virus thing going around, tons of suspense, the beginnings of some dark and evil mastermind plot and a motley crew of unlikely heroes – so yes, I loved it!

Be warned, though. The vampires in The Strain aren’t dark and handsome. They’re not about to play the romantic lead in any play, that’s for sure. Think more along the lines of brain-dead zombie-like creatures that just happen to want to suck your blood, and you’ll be on the right track.

Even though these ugly zombie-like vampires are involved, I wouldn’t call the book a horror novel. Nor did I find it extremely violent, either (although there are ample chopping and slashing scenes). I would put this book in the suspense thriller category, with just the right touch of spine-tingling suspense – the kind of suspense that makes you jump if someone comes up behind you while you’re reading it, especially when you’re reading it at a cottage by the Atlantic Ocean on a dark and foggy early summer night.

You don’t really want to read this one on a dark and stormy night when you’re home alone by yourself. But then again, maybe you might …

Where to buy The Strain:

U.S. (Amazon.com) | Indiebound | Canada (Chapters) | UK (Amazon.co.uk)

Review copy details: published by William Morrow/HarperCollinsPublishers, 2009, Hardcover, 401 pages

Book Review: Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

Skeleton CreekSomething mysterious is happening in Skeleton Creek. Something scary. Something sinister.

Ryan came close to it … and nearly died. Now he’s trapped in his house. He can’t trust anyone – not even himself.

He is forbidden from seeing his best friend, Sarah. So while Ryan is isolated and alone, she plunges back into the mystery, putting her life on the line to get to the truth.

Ryan is desperately trying to write down the full story. And while he does, Sarah takes videos of what she finds, then sends him the links so he can watch.

Together, they discover: The past is dangerous. The present is haunted. And the future is deadly

The Snapshot Review

Here’s the Thing: This is definitely one book you shouldn’t be reading by yourself, in the dead of night, with only your computer monitor for company …

BUT: it is absolutely spine-tinglingly delicious when you do.

Ms. Bookish’s Very Quick Take: This is a fun, innovative and very suspenseful book that seamlessly marries text with video– a fabulous read!

Read the Full Review of Skeleton Creek

Mailbox Mondays

It’s Mailbox Monday again, and here’s what arrived at the Ms. Bookish household this past week!

Young adult/Mystery: Skeleton Creek, by Patrick Carman. This one is an ARC courtesy of the author. I’m very excited about this book because of the interactive video component – my daughter isn’t a big reader, but she’s a filmmaker and it’s hard to drag her away from YouTube most days. I’ll be asking her to help me review the video portion of the book.

Young Adult/Fantasy: The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. This one arrived courtesy of the library (I am constantly making full use of it’s requests program). I’ve been looking forward to reading this one, as I’ve come across some nice reviews about it.

World fiction: Slumdog Millionaire, by Vikas Swarup. I admit, I hadn’t even heard of the movie, but when I saw this at the bookstore, it caught my eye. I read the back cover and I was hooked.

Children’s books, Fantasy: Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke. Yes! I finally got my hands on a copy of Inkheart! It is a series that I’ve been wanting to read for a while – I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, “You haven’t read the Inkheart series yet, Belle? You? I can’t believe you haven’t read it yet. It’s exactly the kind of book you love.” Yes, well, true and true, I think. And now when people ask me, I will (soon) be able to say, “Why yes, I have. After all, it’s exactly my kind of book, don’t you think?”

Mystery/Suspense: Last Resort, by Hannah Alexander. I was doing my usual race in/out of the library, my intention being to scoop up the books I had on hold (I’m telling you, requesting books is such a huge time saver), when this book (and the next, actually) caught my eye. To be honest, I’m not too sure why it caught my eye, since it’s a medical suspense thriller, which is not a genre I read a lot of, but there you have it – in my quick dash into the library, I scooped this one up.

Humor: The Queen and I, by Sue Townsend. This is the other book I scooped up in my mad dash in and out of the library. There was, of course, a good reason why this caught my eye – as soon as I saw Sue Townsend’s name on the cover I thought immediately of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4, which I loved when I was younger. And how could I resist the one line description on the back cover: “England’s Royals are given the sack and go on the dole.”

Suspense: The Dracula Dossier, by James Reese. Another premise that sounds good: the story of Bram Stoker’s encounter and conquest of Jack the Ripper.

Short story collection: Just After Sunset, by Stephen King. I’ve been lusting after this one ever since I read Joanne’s review of it over at Book Zombie. And now I have it in my hot little hands.

So there you are – all the new book arrivals at my house this past week! For more glimpses into other book bloggers’ mailboxes, check out Mailbox Monday over at The Printed Page.

Review: The Book of Lies, by Brad Meltzer

The Book of LiesFrom the jacket flap:

In chapter four of the Bible, Cain kills Abel. It is the world’s most famous murder. But the Bible is silent about one key detail: the weapon Cain used to kill his brother. That weapon is still lost to history.

In 1932 Mitchell Siegel was killed by two gunshots to the chest. While mourning, his son dreamed of a bulletproof man and created the world’s greatest hero: Superman. And like Cain’s murder weapon, the gun used in this unsolved murder has never been found.

Today in Ford Lauderdale, Florida, Cal Harper comes face-to-face with his own family tragedy: His long-missing father has been shot with a gun that traces back to Mitchell Siegel’s 1932 murder. But soon after their surprising reunion, Cal and his father are attacked by a ruthless killer tattooed with the ancient marketings of Cain.

So begins the chase for the world’s first murder weapon. It is a race that will pull Cal back into his own past even as it propels him forwrd through the true story of Cain and Abel, an eighty-year-old unsolvable puzzle, and the deadly organization known for the past century as the Leadership.

What does Cain, history’s greatest villain, have to do with Superman, the world’s greatest hero? And what to two murders, committed thousands of years apart, have in common?

The Snapshot Review

What I Liked: The action is fast paced, and the pace never lets up; the characters are a little bit different from your run-of-the-mill best selling thriller novel; the plot is interesting and consistent. A real page turner.

And the Bonus! No gratuitous, graphic violence. There is violence, yes, but it’s definitely not gratuitous. Or particularly graphic.

Ms. Bookish’s Very Quick Take: Try to have a nice bit of time to sit down with this one, because it’s not an easy book to put down once you’ve started it.

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