Fantasia Film Festival 2021: Glasshouse (2021)

Glasshouse (2021)

Director (and co-writer): Kelsey Egan

Cast: Jessica Alexander, Kitty Harris, Anja Taljaard, Adrienne Pearce, Hilton Pelser, Brent Vermeulen

Confined to their glasshouse, a family survives The Shred, a toxin that erases memory. Until the sisters are seduced by a Stranger who shatters their peace and stirs a past best left buried. – IMDB

Glasshouse is a 2021 South African science-fiction thriller set in a dystopian future when the world has now settled into a permanent confinement due to an airborne dementia-inducing toxin. Living in a glasshouse for many years, a family led by a mother with her three daughters and a son under a set of strict rules to avoid strangers coming in to break the balance. However, when the eldest daughter Bee ends up doing that when she brings home an injured man, the man starts breaking down the family dynamics one by one.

Suffice to say that Glasshouse is the type of thrillers with lot of twists and turns. In fact, it actually does build both the dystopian world incredibly well while giving this family dynamic a whole other system to discover that presents surprise right down to the very end. Its a very clever thriller and well thought out while bringing in a more sensual and suspenseful sort of plotline keyed around survival. Using the Stranger as a threat plus the family structure gives it a very strong The Beguiled feeling right from the start and that extends to the careful choice of costume design to the soundtrack and especially the Stranger’s situation and how his character progresses but Glasshouse still creates its unique view as like mentioned before, the world building specificially the world outside the Glasshouse infected with this toxin Shred becomes an influential factor of how much these characters are willing to risk it knowing its effects.

Much like the characters in the story which also have been well-developed throughout giving them their own spot as they all differ in personality making their choices also differ. Romantic eldest daughter Bee, responsible Evie, the youngest is carefree Daisy which in tow is Shred -affected brother Gabe who all starts off living in harmony with their own rituals and harvesting or tending while singing together, really finding their own balance. As the plot unfurls, each has their own secrets. It brings up memories from before that has been hidden away and eventually pulls them apart as feelings and plans all come into play. With that said, the talented cast here does a fine job and making these characters come to life.

There’s a lot to experience in Glasshouse that is best profited with as little knowledge of the film as possible to not have anything ruined. As Kelsey Egan’s directorial feature debut, this film is really well done. A lot of it has to do with the world-building and the glasshouse. The single location of the glasshouse is one that has its own character as it holds its own secrets and each area having their own function. The schemes, the secrets and the Stranger all create a haunting thriller..

*Glasshouse had its world premiere at Fantasia Film Festival 2021 on August 16th.*

Blog Tour: Shame Of It All by K.T. Grant (Review/Giveaway)

Shame Of It All
By: K.T. Grant

Publication Date: December 6th, 2020
Genre: Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS

*Trigger Warning : Violence/ Sexual Assault

Revenge is a dish best served cold. But for Mercy Pryce her revenge will scald one’s soul and leave behind a burnt-out husk if she has her way.

Mercy has returned to her hometown of Cartleigh, New York after twenty years. The lakeside community is the perfect location for Yakim Zeldovich, her Russian billionaire employer’s state of the art manufacturing facility. Acting as a consultant for Zeldovich, she’s on an undercover mission, not as an angel of mercy, but one of mischief, deceit and torture. Her ultimate goal is to ruin Cartleigh because of a horrible trauma she suffered in high school. The one responsible for her wrath is Colton Hahn, Cartleigh’s beloved mayor, and the object of her retaliation. The town’s golden boy, who she once adored as an impressionable teenager, brutally raped her and left her for dead at seventeen.

Consumed by years of grief and growing rage, she has targeted Colton, who may also be responsible for the death of her best friend, Marina, his fiancé. She will avenge Marina and finally take down the monster who tried to ruin her life.

Her success may come at a horrible price. But it will all be worth it if she can take away everything Colton holds dear, including him surrendering his heart and soul to her in the process.

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REVIEW

If thrillers are a hard genre to grasp, revenge based psychological thrillers are probably even harder to balance especially when it brings in an element of sexual and erotic manipulation elements into the overall story. Shame Of It All has its own pros and cons. For the most part, the story does flow relatively well with the pacing. There are some moments where it does feel very wordy near the end that lays out the “best laid plans” of the main character which makes the ending feel probably a little bit too clear cut. However, there are elements of executing the sexual manipulation and creating a story that works almost in parallel with the present and what happens in the past that drives the character to make these plans for revenge that makes it all the more intriguing. While the story itself doesn’t feel exactly unpredictable in the path it takes and the reveal seems a little lackluster, the writing style here does give the story a big boost.

The story is written in first person perspective from the main character Mercy’s point of view. Everything is voiced through her thoughts and actions and every character plays off of her and the things that the character lays out. This does create an angle to give the characters around her a chance to reveal as she learns more about them especially since she returns twenty years later to a place that she grew up in. Despite it being focused on Colton Hahn, the mayor of the town, this story revolves around a few other characters that actually might be crafted a little better since his character feels pretty well laid out and not exactly as surprising reveal in his secrets. In fact, what drives the story better is that Mercy’s character because of this revenge and how it ends actually veers away from a personal pet peeve, that this boosted up how I felt about the story itself. However, Mercy is a rather conflicting character to back. In some ways, she’s a character that might be pitied but doesn’t want to be pitied and yet her vengeful personality and the way the character talks doesn’t exactly make her likeable as well however if you ask whether what she’s doing is right or wrong, that’s another discussion point. Perhaps what crafts an even more interesting angle is the character of Yakim and the mysterious elements with his background which stayed a mystery because of his name more in quick conversations and in passing through conversations and small moments.

Overall, Shame Of It All is a decent revenge thriller. It has its little issues. The ending is executed a little lackluster in some parts. There are some characters that are well in development however some of them also lack some depth. However, the writing style and the way it treats each of the more sexual elements and the balance of power between the characters of Mercy and Colton is done really well. There’s a certain level of msytery due to the execution building itself up throughout.

Where to Buy:
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

KT Grant is a self-proclaimed eccentric redhead who not only loves to read a wide variety of romances, but also loves writing it. As a former book blogger and entertainment columnist with a bad coffee and Twitter addiction, she still doesn’t shy away from voicing her opinion. A proud native of New Jersey, KT is multi-published and writes Gay, Lesbian and Straight romance. KT has also been a top ten best-selling author at Amazon. KT loves to hear from readers. You can drop KT an email at ktgrnt@gmail.com.

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Blog Tour: Death in Smoke by Barbara Elle (Review/Giveaway)

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Death in Smoke (The Cape Mysteries #2)
By: Barbara Elle

Death in Smoke

Publication Date: December 5, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS

*Each book in The Cape Mysteries can be read as a standalone novel*

A bloodied body buried in a snow bank on a remote island off Cape Cod.

A cold case in Kansas.

What’s the connection between two unrelated murders over a thousand miles away and decades apart?

In Death In Smoke, the thrilling sequel to Death In Vermilion, artist Leila Goodfriend unravels the truth about two brutal killings.

From Cuttyhunk Island to a Native American casino in Kansas, Leila tracks a trail of blood and revenge, littered with smoke screens and stone relics of a faded past.

Once again, Leila has to trust her instincts, which puts her at odds with Detective John Grace—a relationship of attraction that, in the end, reveals a tragic secret from her own past.

Despite the detective’s warnings, Leila puts her life at risk, obsessed with proving her friend’s innocence, at least of murder.

Death In Smoke, the new psychological thriller from acclaimed author Barbara Elle, takes readers on an inner and physical journey across clashing cultures and time, challenging assumptions about what is truth—what remains a mystery.

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REVIEW

Death in Smoke is the second book in the Cape Mysteries Series and yet, while the main sleuth carries forward from the previous book, this mystery is pretty much a standalone with only a little bit of reference to the previous book and it makes to effort to fill in those spaces for new readers (like myself). At least its the feeling that I got here which is always good to not feel like starting in the middle of a series is an intrusion and it stands alone as it promotes itself.

Psychological thrillers are always tricky business. Death in Smoke does a relatively good job. It starts off on a strong note in its set up its foundation with the discovery of the body and the well-described scenario and the forensic and detective work that follows. While the story does seem to a bit deliberate in some of its leads and the discoveries making it seem a bit predictable in certain plot progression, it does redeem itself in the second half when it shifts its scenario from the murders on an island, which is always an intriguing setting, to the link to another case in Kansas and brings in the Indigenous American elements. This brings in the unique angle for this mystery.

Looking at the characters of Death in Smoke, the main sleuth is an artist called Leila who has unexpectedly been around for this and in this story, feels the urge to follow the leads and help solve it as she finds the body and therefore responsible to follow through (or at least it seems that way). There’s a nice little bit of what would probably be a link to the previous book in terms of the little love tangent it goes on but done in a classy way. All these elements build up on Leila’s character.

Overall, there are some small pacing issues where with Death in Smoke. However, the book is well-written with some vivid descriptions and a decent main character Leila leading the mystery. The mystery itself also is well structured with gradual layers that eventually build up to the finale. The ending isn’t hard to completely figure out but it does redeem itself also with finding a unique twist. Plus, the grand finale shares a little on the origins of dreamcatcher which a lot of people know about but never the art of it or the different elements and the meanings. I’m not sure if it was meant to end to give Leila some more depth in its ending or to give it a little informative moment for the readers but whichever the reason, the ending does add to the experience.

Score: 3.5/5

Available on Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BARBARA ELLE

In her stunning debut thriller, Death In Vermilion (The Cape Mysteries Book 1), acclaimed author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a Cape Cod town. Who can you trust?

Now, Death In Smoke (The Cape Mysteries Book 2) asks what’s the connection between a bloodied body buried in a snow bank on a remote island off the Cape and a cold case in Kansas? Can artist and amateur sleuth Leila Goodfriend solve this new mystery?

Barbara Elle fell in love with books and writing at a young age, honing her writing chops as a copywriter at major publishers and as a freelance journalist.

Growing up in Boston, but she became a New Yorker as an adult. Her writing draws on people and places she remembers, setting The Cape Mysteries on Cape Cod, a place of memories.

Barbara Elle continues collecting characters and plots, often travelling the world with her touring musician husband, the musical director for rock and roll icon Cyndi Lauper. In her travels, Barbara has explored Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna and Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.

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Blog Tour: Hope by Terry Tyler (Review/Giveaway)

Hope

HOPE
BY: TERRY TYLER

Hope

Publication Date: May 24, 2019
Genre: Dystopian/Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS

Terry Tyler’s nineteenth published work is a psychological thriller set in a dystopian near future – the UK, Year 2028.

Blogger Lita Stone and journalist Nick Freer live and work online, seeing life through soundbites, news TV and social media. Keeping the outside world at bay in their cozy flat, they observe the ruthless activities of the new PM and his celebrity fitness guru wife, Mona (hashtag MoMo), with the mild outrage that can be quelled simply by writing another blog post.

Meanwhile, in the outside world, multinational conglomerate Nutricorp is busy buying up supermarket chains, controlling the media, and financing the new compounds for the homeless: the Hope Villages.

Lita and Nick suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, until the outside world catches up with them – and Lita is forced to discover a strength she never knew she possessed.

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REVIEW

Hitting quite close to home as the main character Lita is a blogger who talks about fairly touchy subjects in a future dystopian UK that results in rather dire circumstances, Hope is a gripping psychological thriller. Its dystopian setting is one that has similar goals to those familiar with movies like The Purge, where the government schemes in their own way to thin out the non-working class which is seen as being a burden to the society and disposed of in whatever way possible. “Out of sight, out of mind” kind of deal. This dystopian future is always a nice topic to look at as it also refers to different events that has happened in our current day and age and how it has affected the future of the UK (such as Brexit). This setting opens up through the eyes of Lita about the levels of governmental control, its manipulation of technology, the lies and secrets as well as its schemes to push the non-working class or the poor/less fortunate to these camps called Hope Village in the middle of nowhere and working to live there for credits while having a lot of underlying issues that the three soon discover for themselves.

Separated into a few parts in the book quite cleverly, the situation of Lita and her two friends, Nick and Kendall end up in different locations as they move from one place to the next trying to maintain their bond and stay together as they view each other as family. Each location creates a new section of the story which gives it structure. In each phase, it moves from the struggle to stay afloat as things go sideways for each of them one by one and how it leads them to live in a Hope Village which makes them desperate for change and their actions to this puts them in a much worse situation.

Its these situations that also give Lita the hard times that give her character a lot of development. It shifts from each location from the honest blogger to a much more toned down version that treats situations a little smarter through her many losses throughout the story and shifts her character trajectory. While a few of these situations, from the reader’s view is quite easily predictable and doesn’t quite do any out of the left field. Its really the combination of all these events that make Hope quite an intriguing read.

The finesse of crafting  each of the characters and the hardships they encounter each lead to their own outcome. The setting of this dystopian future UK also is one that has lots of discover. It manages to touch on a lot of the different angles from the government motives to the characters reactions and how to face this situation and find their ways to uncover the secrets trying to be hidden. There’s also a little to think about this dystopian future as the society going backwards as these Hope Villages feel very similar to restrictive camps in history. As thrilling as this might be, where it falls short just a little is that it was fairly predictable and I like thrillers to be slightly more shocking. While I say that, there is no doubt a lot of really great writing and story execution done here. 

Goodreads: 4/5 

Where to Buy:

Amazon UK
Amazon
Universal Link

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terry Tyler

Terry Tyler is the author of nineteen books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Hope’, a dystopian, psychological drama set in the UK, a decade into the future. She is currently at work on ‘Blackthorn’, a post-apocalyptic stand-alone story set in her fictional city of the same name. Proud to be independently published, Terry is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in history (particularly 14th-17th century), and sociological/cultural/anthropological stuff, generally. She loves South Park, Netflix, autumn and winter, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.

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Movies and Tea #3 – Event Horizon

Elwood and I head in to the 3rd movie of Paul W.S. Anderson’s career, Event Horizon.

Event Horizon might not have grabbed its audiences when it was first released but it sure has gathered quite a cult following since then. Probably the movie that inspired us to dive into this director’s career as we look at how Event Horizon stands for ourselves and so much more.

Head over to Movies and Tea Podcast to check it out!

Movies and Tea

Having finally achived commercial sucess with the release of Mortal Kombat Paul W.S. Anderson turned down the chance of directing the ill-advised sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation along with offers to direct the first X-Men movie. Instead Anderson choose the option to make an R-rated horror instead.

Unquestionably a risky move on Anderson’s part and ultimatly a vision which would feel the wrath of the censors sheers when his initial cut recived the kiss of death NC-17 Rating from the MPAA.

The film itself equal parts blue collar sci-fi and homage to his favourite horror films as a rescue crew uncover the secrets of this intersteller marie celeste of the title. The film intitally bombed at the box office only to find a significant cult following since its release especially as critics and audience have returned to re-evaluate Anderson’s filmography.

Continuing our own season long re-evaluation of Anderson’s filmography on this…

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Halloween Marathon: Take Shelter (2011)

Can you believe half of October is already behind us? We just wrapped up more than 2 weeks of Halloween marathon. I’m a little behind schedule so maybe I’ll be popping in some double review days or head into the next weekend with reviews as well. However, we are right on track with Friday the 13th series. If you missed any of them, I’ve updated the Halloween Horror Marathon page up in the menu on top so you can trace back whatever you’ve missed up till now :). If I remember correctly, I’ve reviewed 10 movies so far.  With work picking up steam, its a little harder to find time to watch movies during the week without it heading into some crazy 1 or 2am area (which I try to avoid).  Still, I’ll make this thing work out and I’m ready to go through a bunch of movies this weekend to be prepared for next week!

Are you ready to continue? The next review is Take Shelter.  I’ve grown to praise Michael Shannon especially after seeing The Harvest at Fantasia Film Festival this past summer.  If you missed that review, check it out HERE!  It works well with horror marathon because it is a psychological horror movie that is extremely creepy to watch and has an amazing plot.  Going into another psychological thriller  with Michael Shannon and with the Rotten Tomatoes score of 92%, I’m pretty intrigued as to what this is all about.

take shelterDirector: Jeff Nichols

Cast: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Tova Stewart, Shea Whigham, Katy Mixon,

Curtis (Michael Shannon) wakes up one morning from a dream (or nightmare) of the world being attacked by a horrible storm.  Except it wasn’t the standard storm.  Following that, he is repeatedly plagued with these more and more apocalyptic, extremely real dreams that changes everything and everyone that he loves.  Unsure whether to believe if he is being affected with his mother’s psychological issues, he goes to seek for more help while having the nagging feeling that he needs to prepare for what could destroy his family.  Its then he gains an obsession of building a shelter against something that seems impossible to everyone else.

Take Shelter

Take Shelter is a heart-pounding and terrifying psychological trip.  There isn’t one moment you can let down your guard because you are right with Michael Shannon as he wavers between whether he is actually mentally ill or that he should believe there is a storm coming and he is having visions.  That is the question that will keep circling your head as you watch Take Shelter.  The way the movie is set up with the dreams or visions (whatever you want to call them), have this creeping feeling to this especially because it specifically has ominous background noise to intensify the situation.  The tone and atmosphere of the whole setting is done really well also.

Take Shelter

Michael Shannon is extremely convincing in his role as Curtis.  He is a husband who tries hard to make end meet and balance his life. His mother’s condition has impacted his family at a young age so he relies heavily on his brother who also makes an appearance.  At the same time, he loves his wife and keeps his promise to protect both his wife and young daughter.  As a father, he is learning to cope with his daughter’s hearing problem and communicating and connecting with her. As these “dreams” intensify, we watch as Curtis’s world crumbles as he tries to hide what is actually going on causing tension between him, his family, his work and the situation they are in.  Michael Shannon is simply amazing in this. I truly sympathized for this character quite a bit.

Although compared to the role of Curtis, everyone else is pretty minor. I still want to mention playing opposite him is Jessica Chastain as his wife.  I actually  haven’t seen her in anything yet. No, I have not seen Zero Dark Thirty.  She is completely new to me as an actress. His wife was an equally important role because she needed to question him on his actions and to be his strength when he was crumbling apart.  Her character grew on me by the end of the movie when she felt so essential to Curtis.

Take Shelter

There is so much to love about Take Shelter.  It gives off an intense unsettling feeling throughout the movie.  The main character is ambiguous as to whether the problem is him or that he is experiencing visions of an impending apocalypse.  As he waver between his belief, his obsessions may ruin his life but his intentions are clear that he wants to protect his family despite just being an strong feeling that this unreal situation is going to happen. Michael Shannon delivers a strong and convincing performance and the sound, effects, atmosphere and tone are done masterfully. Its terrifying, uneasy, and dramatic all wrapped into one.

This one is definitely worth a watch even if the ending will put even more questions into the equation. Thats actually what I love the best about this 🙂

Have you seen Take Shelter? What did you think about it? Thoughts on Michael Shannon and/or Jessica Chastain?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the ending if you’ve seen this but to avoid spoilers, feel free to drop me an email 🙂

Halloween Marathon: Dream House (2011)

Next up is the first choice and one of the highest votes in the polls from you: Dream House. I’ve been meaning to watch this but it just looks so creepy, especially when you put kids vanishing into the wall as the poster.

Regardless, I managed to give this a go with my boyfriend and it was listed a thriller and I wasn’t even sure it was a horror thriller.  Basically I know nothing about it before seeing it, as with most of the movies on the polls.

Lets check it out!

dream houseDirector: Jim Sheridan

Cast: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Marton Csokas

Publisher Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) quits his job to spend more time with his family and devote times to writing a book.  However, shortly after settling into his new house, a series of events occurs that leads him to find out that his house was previously the crime scene of a family murder and that the husband, Peter Ward is still alive and recently released. Will starts tracing the steps to track Peter Ward in hopes of protecting his family: wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and his  daughters.

Expectations can kill a movie.  I think that is why Dream House has such low ratings especially with Rotten Tomatoes at the mediocre 6% score.  Dream House seemed to sell itself as a creepy horror thriller with supernatural elements.  Now, I’m not saying some of those things wasn’t in it.  Except you can completely take out the horror part because its really not in that league.  Luckily, I learned that it was a thriller (regardless of the specific sort) so I didn’t expect the whole full-on horror. Not sure if that helped.

Dream House

Don’t get me wrong.  I didn’t hate Dream House.  In fact, I actually did enjoy it.  Lets start with what I liked before we jump into what fell short. First and foremost, the best thing about this psychological thriller is the cast.  Everyone does a convincing and amazing job at each of their roles from Daniel Craig’s Will and Rachel Weisz’s  Libby to the their two daughters jumping over to the less apparent role of Ann, played by Naomi Watts as the mysterious neighbor. I think Daniel Craig deserves even more praise because he lets us see that he can be so much more than James Bond (not that James Bond is a bad thing).  His role demanded quite the opposite of what Bond’s character is and that makes what he did here stand out.  The second good thing was the premise of Dream House.  The idea was amazing with a good plot twist that kind of blew our minds.

Dream House

Unfortunately, here’s where I need to talk about the downfall.  Great thrillers have wonderful twists at the right time.  But, Dream House pulled out their twist way too early and actually it didn’t really build well enough for it, making it less effective as a mind-blowing experience but rather a WTF moment where I needed to rethink what I saw from the beginning to formulate how the story got there.  And then, to make it something more, it set out to give another twist near the end which kind of starts being predictable as I guessed half of it and had it confirmed making the second twist not too effective.  This issues with it come in the execution of the plot (as I’m starting to realize is tough to do in a lot of movies) and forming the subplot. Although, the effort was to build on Daniel Craig and his family, they didn’t focus on other relevant characters like the mysterious neighbor played by Naomi Watts who seemed to know more than she was letting on. There was literally altogether a 5 minute encounter before the first twist and it wasn’t enough to connect to her character. I rarely see flaws of execution but this one jumped too abruptly for me to overlook. Now, does that make it a bad movie? Probably not but what frustrates me is that it had all the elements to be such a better (if not great) movie.

Dream House

Overall, Dream House is an enjoyable psychological thriller.  If you acknowledge and drop the horror aspect, you will enjoy this more.  The cast does a great job in their respective roles even if at times, you may feel that each character wasn’t built enough.  However, the good cast doesn’t help to skip over how the plot execution could have been a lot better to build up the suspense and not jump prematurely into the first twist leaving the second twist to lack its needed impact.  I can’t recommend it enthusiastically but if you happen to have a day in and you want to sit down and watch something, this could be a good choice.

Have you seen Dream House? Any thoughts on the twist? Are there any memorable roles of Daniel Craig other than being James Bond? 

Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Earlier this year, I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  If you want a review of that amazing novel which is supposed to be made into film soon-ish, you can find mine HERE. With that in mind, I decided to seek out her two earlier books and read them eventually.  I bought Sharp Objects a few months ago and as I try to balance the genre of novels I read, I finally decided to start this one earlier this week.  Sharp Objects is Gillian Flynn’s first novel and she was the Edgar Nominee for Best First Novel.

sharp objects coverSharp Objects is about Camille Preaker who is a reporter based in Chicago focusing on the darker criminal cases.  Her boss is eager to find that breakout case that can make the newspaper popular and shoot up in sales, so hearing about one case of brutal child murder and a following one with a missing child in Camille’s hometown, Wind Gap, he sends her there to try to get some information.  When she goes back, her memories of why she escapes tortures her from the death of her sister, her relationship with her mother and the days when she used to cut words onto her body.  On arrival, she seeks information that everyone reluctantly hides away from her as to protect the town but she meets the other out of town cop, Richard, who was sent to help out with the case also.  As she tries to uncover the truth, she realizes she has to confront some of her own issues before she can see clearly through this case.

Can I go straight out and say that I think Gillian Flynn just became one of the most awesome writers for thrillers? Gone Girl was an amazing book and it was her breakthrough one, I believe.  However, if you think her debut novel was any worse, you may be wrong. The only difference with this one is that it starts off a bit slower.

Sharp Objects has a slow beginning to build up the situation and understand the complex relationships in Wind Gap and to get to know our main character Camille a bit better and her very messed up past.  However, once you get past that, you get pulled right into the story itself as she pieces information together from past people in her lives and as she struggles with her own issues, we see how things are related even before she probably does.  Even with that, she keeps the readers guessing as to who is doing those cruel acts of violent murders to little preteen girls right to almost the very end.

Through a good part of this novel, I was on the “really like it” level and then when that ending came by and it went completely out of the world into crazy messed up phase, I was sold.  That ending made me feel like I was almost as anxious as running a marathon.  My heart was pounding from the intensity of how the situation unravels.

I highly recommend this novel.  Its a haunting, suspenseful psychological thriller that paces itself really well and then before you know it, you get sucked right into the action.  Your brain won’t rest one minute till you know who committed those crimes.  I believe addictive is the word to describe it.  That is a rarity in my novel reading experience, especially a double hit with one author.

I’m telling you now that after I take a break to erase some of the disturbing images I have from reading this, you should be expecting a review on her second book Dark Places soon-ish!