The End of Temperance Dare

Title: The End of Temperance Dare
Author: Wendy Webb
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

When Eleanor Harper is fired from her job as a crime reporter, she applies to be the director at Cliffside Manor. Cliffside was originally a Tuberculosis sanitarium but the owner, Chester Dare, turned it into a retreat for artists. His daughter, Penelope now runs it but she has decided to retire and pass the reins off to Eleanor. However, the day Eleanor arrives, after learning the basics of how the building is run, Penelope Dare is found dead in her room with an apparent suicide note on her chest. After the initial shock, Eleanor finds a letter from Penelope that says she has left a puzzle for her to solve. Once the writers and artists arrive for the four week retreat, Eleanor soon finds out that all of the fellows have prior connections to Cliffside which led Penelope to choose them to come. Eleanor is left with the mystery of why all those fellows were chosen to come to this haunted manor.

I loved this book! It was so spooky. It reminded me of The Shining, because a new person has come to run this old building, but they discover it is somehow haunted.

I really liked how everything was explained at the end. I figured out some of the twists just before they happened. But they were still exciting.

This story is also a little mysterious because you have to figure out the connection between the people at the manor right along with Eleanor.

This is a really good story, but I don’t recommend reading it at night!

The Only Child

Title: The Only Child
Author: Andrew Pyper
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Rating: ★★★

Lily Dominick is a forensic psychologist. She analyzes dangerous criminals locked up in New York’s Kirby facility. One day, a man comes in who ripped the ears off a stranger with his bare hands. But he tells Lily that he did it so he could be sent to see her. He tells Lily things about herself to prove that he knows who she is. She lived in a cabin with her mother in Alaska, but her mother was brutally murdered when Lily was six. She never knew her father. Now, this man claims to be her father. Once he escapes police custody and murders one of Lily’s colleagues, she is led on a chase to find out the truth behind the mysterious man, Michael, and her true lineage.

This story had a lot going on. Michael claims to have been the inspiration for Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula. Normally, I like contemporary stories that are based on classics. However, this one had too much going on with Michael claiming to be all three monsters.

I didn’t have a big enough emotional connection to root for Lily in the story. She made a lot of bad decisions and didn’t seem very stable so she wasn’t a very likeable character.

I enjoyed the end of the story. It was a thrilling chase leading to the conclusion. It was very intense. But the story still dealt with too many possible thriller plot lines for me: it had monsters, vampires, spies, murders, fake passports, abandoned cabins, and an orphaned girl. I think if it had less of these typical aspects of the contemporary thriller story, it would have been a better story.

Follow Me Back

Title: Follow Me Back
Author: A.V. Geiger
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Tessa Hart has severe agoraphobia following an incident at a writing program she attended in early summer. She can’t leave her bedroom. Her therapist holds sessions for her in her room. Tessa is obsessed with the pop star Eric Thorn. She wrote a fanfiction story about him that went viral. She even started the hashtag EricThornObsessed that was trending at number one. Meanwhile, Eric Thorn’s manager and PR team are loving the attention he’s getting from this hashtag. But Eric isn’t as into the attention. He is still freaked out by the death of a fellow singer. Dorian Cromwell was stalked by a fangirl and then she slit his throat. Eric is worried about this happening to him too. He creates a fake account to try to give himself some negative attention, so his fans will move on to someone else. But his interactions with one fan leads to more than he ever expected.

I almost read this entire book in one sitting. I read until 2 AM and then continued as soon as I woke up in the morning! It was so thrilling!

The narrative of Tessa and Eric is interspersed with police transcripts about an incident that happened involving both of them. This hinted at them meeting one day and something serious happening!

The premise of all of these interactions happening on twitter is so realistic. You never know who you’re talking to online. This story really shows how dangerous it can be to blindly throw yourself into an online relationship.

The ending was amazing! There were so many twists and turns, until the very last page. It’s also amazing that this story was first published on Wattpad. A.V. Geiger is very talented. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with in the future!

New Release: The Ridge

The thrilling narrative styles of Gillian Flynn and Stephen King meet in this new thriller!

Megan and her husband Tyler move to Willow Ridge. Tyler has just gotten a job at the institute at the edge of the Ridge as a technician. The families of employees at the institute all live in the neighbourhood of the Ridge. Megan is furious that her neighbour, Rachel, has been flirting with her husband. One evening, she goes over to talk to Rachel in her garage. Rachel is standing on a ladder and stacking clay pots on a shelf. Megan tells Rachel to leave her husband alone. When Rachel just laughs at her, Megan starts throwing Rachel’s gnomes at the wall. Then she throws some of the clay pots at Rachel. Rachel loses her balance and falls off the ladder, her neck twisting at an unnatural angle. Megan looks at her and decides that she is dead. Megan runs back home but she’s too scared to call the police. She calls her husband to come home from work, and she tells him what happens. Tyler decides to go over to Rachel’s house and knock on her door, so that when she doesn’t answer he can go around to the back of her house and “discover” her body in the garage. However, he comes back into his house a few minutes later, saying that Rachel opened her door. Megan is sure that she saw Rachel’s neck break when she fell off the ladder, but Tyler saw her open her front door. Has Megan lost her mind or did Rachel somehow come back to life?

I was sitting on the edge of my seat through this whole novel! The chapters were short, yet almost all of them ended with a major cliffhanger. Though Megan doesn’t narrate the story, the narrative follows her, making her perspective seem unreliable. It is a great thrilling mystery and a really fast read too!

New Release: Gone Without A Trace

After attending a conference in Oxford, Hannah is so excited to get home and tell her boyfriend about the promotion coming her way. Her boss told her that she is in the running to become a director at their company soon. She wants to see the look on her boyfriend, Matt’s, face when she tells him the good news. But when she arrives home, she notices his paintings are no longer on the wall. His TV is gone too, with her old one in its place. Everything in her house looks just as it did before he moved in with her, years ago. She goes to the fridge and even his bottle of ketchup is gone. Not only are his belongings gone, but his texts, emails, and phone calls to Hannah have disappeared from her phone. She can’t figure out why he suddenly left her like this. Things only get worse when she starts receiving texts from random numbers, sent from someone who claims to be watching her. If it’s Matt texting her, why doesn’t he just talk to her? Or is it more complicated than just an ex-boyfriend wanting revenge?

Hannah tells the story from her perspective. This makes her an unreliable narrator. She starts drinking, so she doesn’t remember everything she does. She quickly begins questioning herself and her relationship with Matt. She’s confused about the whole situation, and she doesn’t notice that the people around her are acting suspicious, such as her best friend, Katie and her boyfriend James, and her coworkers Sam and Lucy.

To me, what makes a good thriller is the ending. This ending didn’t disappoint. The last 50 pages were so exciting, I think I held my breath the whole time. I’m excited to see what the reception is like for this great, thrilling book.