Pines by Blake Crouch

Pines, Blake Crouch, 2012 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “Nature doesn’t see things through the prism of good or bad. It rewards efficiency. That’s the beautiful simplicity of evolution. It matches design to environment.” Most interesting characters: Ethan Burke, a secret service agent Opening scene: A man wakes up in a strange town withContinue reading “Pines by Blake Crouch”

The Haunted by Bentley Little

The Haunted, Bentley Little, 2012 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “I was in the room where things grow old.” Most interesting characters: Honestly, the only characters here that really captured my interest were the neighbors who snuck into the basement during a party for a frantic, satanic quickie — a tryst that even involvedContinue reading “The Haunted by Bentley Little”

Gone South by Robert McCammon

Gone South, Robert McCammon, 1992 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “It was hell’s season, and the air smelled of burning children.”  Most interesting characters: Dan Lambert, a desperate man haunted by the past; Pelvis Eisley, an Elvis impersonator; Flint Murtaugh, a freak-show refugee who carries his half-formed brother, Clint, hidden on his body OpeningContinue reading “Gone South by Robert McCammon”

The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie

The Pale Horse, Agatha Christie, 1961 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “The science of tomorrow is the supernatural of today.” Most interesting characters: Mark Easterbrook, a pretty typical dude who finds himself embroiled in a mystery with supernatural undercurrents. Thyrza, Sybil, and Bella, three creepy spinsters with creepy names that (unfortunately) no one takesContinue reading “The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie”

Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi

Floating Staircase, Ronald Malfi, 2011 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “It’s been said that nature does not know extinction — that once you’ve existed, all parts of you, whether they’re dispersed or remain together, will always be.” Thank you, Ronald Malfi, for sending me down that mental rabbit hole …  Notable characters: Travis Glasgow,Continue reading “Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi”

Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin

Fevre Dream, George R. R. Martin, 1982 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “Sometimes I think … the humanity of him is all hollow, a mask … he is only an old animal, so ancient it has lost even the taste for food, but it hunts on nonetheless, because that is all it remembers, thatContinue reading “Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin”

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Anne Rice, 1983 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “That is your life now, and you are to think of nothing else, and regret nothing else. I want that dignity peeled away from you as if it were so many skins of the onion. I don’t mean that you shouldContinue reading “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice”

In the Cut by Susanna Moore

In the Cut, Susanna Moore, 1995 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: I think the following quote nicely sums up the tone of Susanna Moore’s not-so-thrilling erotic novel, In the Cut: “I think it may have something to do with something I heard when I was a kid. Something I think I heard. Actually, IContinue reading “In the Cut by Susanna Moore”

S is for Silence by Sue Grafton

S is for Silence, Sue Grafton, 2005 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “God save us from the people who want to do what’s best for us.” Most interesting characters: My girl, Kinsey Millhone, PI; Daisy Sullivan, the woman who hires her to find her missing mother Opening scene: S is for Silence begins withContinue reading “S is for Silence by Sue Grafton”

Ghost Story by Peter Straub

Ghost Story, Peter Straub, 1979 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “It seemed that if you listened to that snow hissing long enough, you wouldn’t just hear it telling you that it was waiting for you, you’d hear some terrible secret—a secret to turn your life black.” (Thanks, Peter Straub. Now I’m afraid of snow.Continue reading “Ghost Story by Peter Straub”

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

The Witch of Willow Hall, Hester Fox, 2018 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “Yet at the same time I want to untether my heart, toss it up into the sky and let it take wing. There’s a wildness here that, if nothing else, holds promise, possibility. Who needs society? What has it ever doneContinue reading “The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox”

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah, 2015 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “Once you’re ready to die, the plan gets easy.” (Certainly not the most uplifting line in the book, but it’s the one that stood out to me the most) Most interesting characters: Isabelle, code name: The Nightingale; Vianne, her older sister; Gaëtan, the manContinue reading “The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah”

Devil’s Waltz by Jonathan Kellerman

Devil’s Waltz (#7 in the Alex Delaware series), Jonathan Kellerman, 2006 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: The opening line: “It was a place of fear and myth, home of miracles and the worst kind of failure.” (I didn’t know what Jonathan Kellerman was describing right away, but soon realized it wasn’t my underwear drawerContinue reading “Devil’s Waltz by Jonathan Kellerman”

4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

4:50 from Paddington, Agatha Christie, 1957 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “The truth is people are an extraordinary mixture of heroism and cowardice.” (Except me — I’m a total hero. Everyone says so) Most interesting characters: Elspeth McGillicuddy, a train passenger who saw something she shouldn’t have; Miss Marple, the local busybody who notContinue reading “4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie”

The Black Death: A Personal History by John Hatcher

The Black Death: A Personal History, John Hatcher, 2008 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “PESTILENCE!” (That’s what they called the Black Death back then, and hoo-boy, did they like saying that word. “PESTILENCE!” in all caps, just like that. That’s how you have to do it. I don’t make the rules Most interesting characters:Continue reading “The Black Death: A Personal History by John Hatcher”

Under the Lake by Stuart Woods

Under the Lake, Stuart Woods, 1987 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “Howell hung up the phone and pressed his forehead against the cool glass of the booth. The world was suddenly a different place. He wasn’t sure he liked it.”  Most interesting characters: John Howell, a former investigative journalist; Sutherland, a strange little townContinue reading “Under the Lake by Stuart Woods”

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

The Black Dahlia, James Ellroy,  1987 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “The longer I listened, the more they talked about themselves, interweaving their sad tales with the story of the Black Dahlia, who they actually believed to be a glamorous siren headed for Hollywood stardom. It was as if they would have traded theirContinue reading “The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy”

The Firm by John Grisham

The Firm, John Grisham, 1991 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “If you don’t think about death, you don’t appreciate life.”  Most interesting characters: Mitch McDeere, a bright-eyed young lawyer with a great future in front of him; Abby McDeere, his wife Opening scene: Royce McKnight, senior partner at Bendini, Lambert, & Locke law firm,Continue reading “The Firm by John Grisham”

Whistle for the Crows by Dorothy Eden

Whistle for the Crows, Dorothy Eden, 1962 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “It only took the forlorn sound of the baby crying to complete her loss of morale.” (I really identified with this because I, too, have felt much loss of morale at the sounds of shrieking babies — especially at Walmart when myContinue reading “Whistle for the Crows by Dorothy Eden”

Misery by Stephen King

Misery, Stephen King, 1987 My favorite quote: “That was it. In Annie’s view all the people in the world were divided into three groups: brats, poor poor things… and Annie.” (I think I’ve met more than a couple of Annies in my life, but that’s another story for another book review …) Most interesting characters:Continue reading “Misery by Stephen King”

The Entity by Frank de Felitta

The Entity, Frank de Felitta, 1978 My favorite quote: “It was neither dream nor reality. And who in the whole apartment, who in the entire city of Los Angeles, could tell her what it was?” (I’ll tell you what it is, lady — it’s a horny ghost, that’s what it is) Most interesting characters: CarlottaContinue reading “The Entity by Frank de Felitta”

The Omen by David Seltzer

The Omen, David Seltzer, 1976 My favorite quote: “It happened in a millisecond. A movement in the galaxies that should have taken eons occurred in the blinking of an eye.”  Most interesting characters: Jeremy Thorn, the coldly ambitious United States Ambassador to England and adoptive father of the sweet-faced, cherub-cheeked antichrist; Katherine Thorn, the scowling-one-minute-and-manic-the-nextContinue reading “The Omen by David Seltzer”

The Clocks by Agatha Christie

The Clocks, Agatha Christie, 1963 My favorite quote: “One gets infected, it is true, by the style of a work that one has been reading.” (Which is probably why I feel so compelled to kill so many folks in my books when I read Agatha Christie — which is frequently. From now on, when myContinue reading “The Clocks by Agatha Christie”

Body Language by Julius Fast

Body Language, Julius Fast, 1967 My favorite quote: “The inheritance of instinct is not a simple matter, nor is the process of learning simple. It is difficult to pinpoint just how much of any system of communication is inherited and how much is learned. Not all behavior is learned, any more than it is allContinue reading “Body Language by Julius Fast”

After Midnight by Richard Laymon

After Midnight, Richard Laymon, 1997 My favorite quote: “My eyes are brown. So are my teeth. Just kidding about the teeth.” Most interesting characters: Alice, who’s real name isn’t Alice; The intruder   Opening scene: Alice, enjoying a quiet night alone while house-sitting for a friend. But let’s be honest: After Midnight IS a Richard LaymonContinue reading “After Midnight by Richard Laymon”

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

The Last Time I Lied, Riley Sager, 2018 My favorite quote: “Although their eventual fate remains a mystery, I’m certain that what happened to those girls is all my fault.” Most interesting characters: Emma Davis, a painter with a past; Francesca Harris-White, a socialite who encourages Emma to return to the past  Opening scene: CampContinue reading “The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager”

The Back Passage by James Lear

The Back Passage, James Lear, 2006 My favorite quote: “Youth and athleticism are a wonderful combination: not even a sudden murder can quell the storm in a young man’s flannels.” Most interesting characters: Mitch Mitchell, a well-hung insatiable stud who collects clues at almost the same rate he collects steamy sexual encounters with other well-hungContinue reading “The Back Passage by James Lear”

Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? by Harold Schechter and Eric Powell

Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?, Harold Schechter and Eric Powell, 2021 My favorite quote: “You can’t apply morality to an insane person.” Most interesting characters: Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? centers, of course, on Ed Gein  Opening scene: Harold Schechter and Eric Powell begin Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?Continue reading “Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? by Harold Schechter and Eric Powell”

The Guide to Getting it On by Paul Joannides

The Guide to Getting it On, Paul Joannides, 2009 My favorite quote: “Morality, from this Guide’s perspective, is respecting and caring for your fellow human beings. It has little to do with the way you enjoy your sexuality, unless what you do breaks a special trust or violates the rights of others.” Most interesting characters:Continue reading “The Guide to Getting it On by Paul Joannides”

Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh

Archangel’s Enigma, Nalini Singh, 2015 My favorite quote: “If blood alone is what defines us, no child born is born in freedom.” Most interesting characters: Nassir, the most rambunctious and undomesticated member of a powerful group of angels and vampires known as “the Seven”; Andromeda, the young scholar who accompanies him on his mission; Raphael,Continue reading “Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh”

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? by Henry Farrell

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Henry Farrell, 1960 My favorite quote: “She may be your own sister, honey, your own flesh and blood, but you’ve got to face it, deep down inside she hates you like poison and nothing would please her more than to see you get it right in the neck.” MostContinue reading “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? by Henry Farrell”

R is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton

R is for Ricochet, Sue Grafton, 2004 My favorite quote: “I couldn’t tell if the ticking I heard was my biological clock or the delayed timing device on a bomb.” Most interesting characters: Kinsey Millhone, the best PI ever; Reba Lafferty, a recently-released criminal who just can’t keep her nose clean; Beck, the sexy badContinue reading “R is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton”

Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward

Lover Revealed, J.R. Ward, 2007 My favorite quote: “I liked you, cop. From the moment I met you. No… not the first moment. I wanted to kill you when I first met you. But then I liked you.” Most interesting characters: J.R. Ward is always sure to give readers a good amount of every memberContinue reading “Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward”

Nemesis by Agatha Christie

Nemesis, Agatha Christie, 1971 My favorite quote: “Any coincidence is worth noticing. You can throw it away later if it is only a coincidence.” Most interesting characters: Miss Jane Marple, a small-town spinster who just can’t seem to get away from dead people; Jason Rafiel, a recently-deceased millionaire; Michael Rafiel, Jason’s son; Verity Hunt, whoseContinue reading “Nemesis by Agatha Christie”

The Sociopath Next Door by Dr. Martha Stout

The Sociopath Next Door, Martha Stout, 2005 My favorite quote: “If, instead, you find yourself often pitying someone who consistently hurts you or other people, and who actively campaigns for your sympathy, the chances are close to 100 percent that you are dealing with a sociopath.” Most interesting characters: The Sociopath Next Door is aContinue reading “The Sociopath Next Door by Dr. Martha Stout”

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

My Cousin Rachel, Daphne du Maurier, 1951 My favorite quote: “Because I believe there is nothing so self-destroying, and no emotion quite so despicable, as jealousy.” — I’m totally with you on that, Daphne du Maurier …  Most interesting characters: Ambrose Ashley, owner of a large estate; Philip, his younger cousin and heir; Rachel, Ambrose’sContinue reading “My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier”

M is for Malice by Sue Grafton

M is for Malice, Sue Grafton, 1996 My favorite quote: “Ghosts don’t haunt us. That’s not how it works. They’re present among us because we won’t let go of them.” Yeah. I like that.  Most interesting characters: Kinsey Millhone, my all-time favorite PI; Guy Malek, a man with whom Kinsey feels an instant kinship  OpeningContinue reading “M is for Malice by Sue Grafton”

Communion by Whitley Streiber

Communion, Whitley Streiber, 1987 My favorite quote: “Humanity could be clutching the frail barque of an outmoded worldview while the wind of the mind is swaying the stars into very real craft, and out of them is coming… a faint call for help from a lady in a flowered dress.” — Which pretty much sumsContinue reading “Communion by Whitley Streiber”

The Night Boat by Robert McCammon

The Night Boat, Robert McCammon, 1980 My favorite quote: “‘I felt hatred,’ Moore said. ‘I felt the pressure of hatred and evil inside there.’” Notable characters: David Moore, who discovers the sunken submarines; the many moist nazi zombies who still (somehow) live on within them … (I’m not gonna lie: These guys are my favoriteContinue reading “The Night Boat by Robert McCammon”

Fox’s Earth by Anne Rivers Siddons

Fox’s Earth, Anne Rivers Siddons, 1981 My favorite quote: “Not even an errant spectre of the South’s splendid, sad and silly Civil War walks the matted earth here …” That’s just one of many, many great lines in Fox’s Earth. It’s Anne Rivers Siddons, though, so you can always expect some great stuff Most interestingContinue reading “Fox’s Earth by Anne Rivers Siddons”

The Bad Seed by William March

The Bad Seed, William March, 1954 My favorite quote: “She will destroy us all. I did not escape, either. She will destroy us all, in time.” Notable characters: Rhoda Penrose, the bad seed herself; Christine Penmark, her long-suffering mother; Leroy Jessup, the warped maintenance man who recognizes (and relates to) the evil that dwells inContinue reading “The Bad Seed by William March”

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every Door, Riley Sager, 2019 My favorite quote: “Never take anything you haven’t earned, my father used to say. You always end up paying for it one way or another.” Notable characters: Jules Larsen, the apartment-sitter; Nick, another resident Most memorable scene: The fire. That’s all I’ll say about that for now Greatest strengths:Continue reading “Lock Every Door by Riley Sager”

Craven Manor by Darcy Coates

Craven Manor, Darcy Coates, 2017 My favorite quote: “For the few brief days he’d worked at Craven Manor he felt as if he’d escaped into a better life. His work mattered … even if it was just to a ghost and a man made of shadows.” Notable characters: Daniel, the new caretaker; Bran, his not-quite-normalContinue reading “Craven Manor by Darcy Coates”

The Silent Companion by Laura Purcell

The Silent Companions, Laura Purcell, 2017 My favorite quote: “Sometimes, the brain cannot cope with the information it has to process. It makes sense of trauma in odd ways.” Notable characters: Elsie Bainbridge, co-manager of a factory; Rupert, her recently (and mysteriously) deceased husband; Sarah, Rupert’s unusual cousin Most memorable scene: When the locked doorContinue reading “The Silent Companion by Laura Purcell”

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, 1847 My favorite quote: “If all the world hated you and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved of you and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.” Notable characters: Jane Eyre, governess turned wife; Mr. Rochester, the master of Thornfield Hall Most memorable scene: The discoveryContinue reading “Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte”

Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

Dolores Claiborne, Stephen King, 1992 (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS) My favorite quote: “An accident is sometimes an unhappy woman’s best friend.” (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, Dolores) Notable characters: Dolores Claiborne, a housekeeper who’s had enough and ain’t taking no more; Joe St. George, her husband, with whom she’s had enough and ain’t taking no more; VeraContinue reading “Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King”

Shattered by Dean Koontz

Shattered, Dean Koontz, 1973 (originally published under the pseudonym K.R. Dwyer — which is just one of several pen names Dean Koontz used in the early days) My favorite quote: “The things we regret most in life are the things we don’t do.” Notable characters: Alex Doyle, the new groom; Courtney, his bride; Colin, herContinue reading “Shattered by Dean Koontz”

Endless Night by Agatha Christie

Endless Night, Agatha Christie, 1967 My favorite quote: “‘Nobody shall drive us away,’ I said. ‘We’re going to be happy here.’ We said it like a challenge to fate.” Notable characters: Michael Rogers, a young man who can’t quite figure out what he wants to do with his life; Fenella Goodman, a business-smart heiress; GretaContinue reading “Endless Night by Agatha Christie”

The Rats by James Herbert

The Rats, James Herbert, 1974 My favorite quote: “Harris smiled thinly at him. ‘Are there any safe places around here anymore?’” (There aren’t in this book, you guys, I’ll tell you that much) Notable characters: Harris, an art teacher; Mr. Foskins, the Minister of Health; Stephen Howard, a researcher; Ferris, an exterminator Most memorable scene:Continue reading “The Rats by James Herbert”

Darkness by John Saul

Darkness, John Saul, 1991 My favorite quote: “Tonight, she was certain, she was finally going to find out who she was, and why she had always known she was different from anyone else.” Notable characters: Kelly Anderson, a teenage outcast in a new town; Michael Sheffield, her new friend; Amelie Coulton, a swamp dweller; TheContinue reading “Darkness by John Saul”