Lowcountry Boneyard

So I was given an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of this book in exchange for an honest review. I read it withoutI read this book first before book one and two, but decided to not change anything but leave the review the same.

Lowcountry Boneyard (Liz Talbot Mystery #3) Susan M. Boyer

I am an avid reader of mysteries, but have never been a fan of the supernatural mystery genre. I have often found them redundant, (as they seem to be the same story told over and over again); have the ghosts, ghouls, vampires, zombies, etc being the one to do all the actual work instead of the investigator or police officer; or used as just another venue to tell a supernatural love story. Most of the time when I read a synopsis involving the help of the dead, I pass it by.

However, Lowcountry Boneyard (A Liz Talbot Mystery), by Susan M. Boyer, intrigued me and once I started reading it, I found it extremely hard to put down.

Liz Talbot is a private investigator, placed on a case to look into the disappearance of heiress Kent Heyward. Assisting her is her boyfriend, and partner in business, Nate Andrews, and dead best friend from high school turned ghostly guardian, Colleen.

Liz is going to need all the help she can get as this case takes her into a world of the wealthy, involves a family with long reaching arms, and a dark secret that those involved would do anything to stop Liz from discovering.

I really enjoyed this book as the mystery was amazing. The characters are realistic in their approach to the case, not discovering the answer immediately, but going through a lot of threads until they find the one that leads to the right answer. This one had a wide collection of possible suspects and theories, leaving mystery lovers enthralled as they try to discover what really happened to Kent Heyward.

Liz Talbot is an endearing character with her Southern charm, ladylike ways, intuition, and stubbornness; all cumulating in the perfect P.I. She is equally matched with Nate Anderson, partner and lover, whose cool logic balances out her more impulsive personality. I also enjoyed the spirit of Colleen, who role as guardian has the right amount of restrictions on what she can and cannot do, allowing Liz to not diminish in her ability to solve cases, yet have a bit of help when she needs it.

After reading this novel, I am inspired to read all that came out prior, and stay on the lookout for those to come. I’d give this novel a five out of five.

For more Liz Talbot mysteries, go to Lowcountry Bombshell

For more by Susan M. Boyer, go to Lowcountry Boil

For more private investigators, go to The Key to Midnight

For more female private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

For more disappearances, go to Kidnapped!

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The Key to Midnight

The Key to Midnight by Dean Koontz

Thoughts Before Reading:

I had a Dean Koontz phase. I read almost all his books until I had burnout and moved on to something else. It all started at a book sale:

And this book was one I really enjoyed.

Plot Synopsis

Johanna Rand is an American singer who has lived in Japan about ten years. She loves living in Japan and her job at the Moonglow Lounge.

The only thing she doesn’t love, she constantly has these nightmares about a man with steel fingers and a hypodermic needle-violating and assaulting her. She would wake up and feel as if it just happened.

Alex Hunter, private investigator, is vacationing in Japan. He sees Johanna and is struck by her beauty and voice. She looks so familiar, but when they talk-there is no recognition. He spends a wonderful time and the two fall for each other-hard.

The next day, Alex is getting ready when it hits him! He knows where he knows her from-she’s Lisa Chelgrin.

He is sure she is Lisa and questions her on their date. Everything matches up that it could be the same girl, but he doesn’t want to scare her off or frighten her as he waits until he has proof as to who she is.

I’ve got to play this cool.

The two spend time together and he begins to wake up the memories so long hidden. But what they uncover is a deeper, darker, secret than either had imagined!

Oh no!

Thoughts After Reading:

So this one I thought was really good. It was pretty heavy on the romance, but otherwise kept you guessing. I never saw that ending coming!

For more missing children, go to Candy from a Stranger

For more books from a library book sale, go to Real Murders

For more books with private investigators, go to Lowcountry Bombshell

For more books not in a series, go to An Unwanted Guest

Lowcountry Bombshell

Lowcountry Bombshell (Liz Talbot Mysteries #2) by Susan M. Boyer

Liz Talbot is living on the Stella Maris island and has recovered from her past adventures in Lowcountry Boil. She has given up her obsession over ex-sweetheart Michael Devlin, and has admitted her feelings for Nate Andrews, partner in her private investigations and her ex-husband’s brother.

The two have things to work out as he wants to stay in Greenville, South Carolina-but Liz needs to stay in Stella Maris-in order to protect the island from developers and keep Colleen, the spirit of her dead friend who is a guardian spirit for the island. As long as Liz’s investigations fall into her mission-she will assist her in any way she can.

Elizabeth has just gotten a new case, and boy is it a doozy. In walks a beautiful blonde who is the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe.

And that’s not all that’s the same. She has the same birthday June 1st: birth name Norma Jeane Mortenson; her mother Gladys was in and out of hospitals because of her schizophrania; her client was in and out of foster homes; she married a Jim to leave her mother-but also divorced him; she later married a Joe, a baseball star (although only minor leagues, and a few other similarities.

After her second husband died, she changed her name from Norma Jeane to Callista McQueen. Her husband played the lottery every day, and won the big jackpot before he was murdered. Callista moved around, settling on Stella Maris.

She wants to hire Liz as she feels someone is trying to kill her, and mimic Marilyn’s death. Liz only has a few days until, August 5th.

Liz doesn’t know whether this Marilyn stuff is true, but does admit that her client is afraid. She starts investigating and discovers that someone is after her, but who?

Hmmm…?

Then Callista’s psychic/life coach, Harmony, is murdered-the gun one that was used in a murder years ago and should be in an evidence locker-but is missing.

WHAT!

Obviously, someone has infiltrated in Callista’s life and wants to kill her, but who?

Hmmm…

Could it be her mother who has mental disease and fixation on copying Marilyn’s life for her daughter? Or her mother’s friend Grace who is crazy and high strung?

Her ex-husband who is obsessed with her and is unwilling to let her go again?

Her creepy Mrs. Danvers-esque housekeeper?

Niles, the gay yoga instructor who has become her confident and resides in her house?

Hmm…

Her security team who are watching, but somehow allowed someone into Callista’s home?

Her creepy psychiatrist who is way too into Callista?

This is not good

The man who attacked her years ago? Or the man who murdered her second husband?

With each step Liz finds herself in another thread and possibility. But it is clear that someone is after Callista and with each day passing, will Liz and Nate solve it? Or will Callista end up like her namesake?

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was good although not as good as book one and three. The mystery is interesting and intriguing-I LOVED it-it was the Nate and Liz relationship that got me.

In the 1st book they were purely professional, although it was super clear that Nate was into Liz. Then in this we are barely in and they are consummating their relationship. I know time passed, but it felt like bang-no buildup nothing.

We also have barely any Colleen, which really causes issues as I grew to like her in the other book and its not the same without her.

Bring her back

I love the Marilyn Monroe angle and that whole storyline. A fantastic idea.

For more Liz Talbot Mysteries, go to Lowcountry Boil

For more female private investigators, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

For more on private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

Dark Places

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

So I really enjoyed the book Gone Girl, and was interested in Flynn’s other works. I just hadn’t had a chance to read them.

Yeah, I have a giant to-read book list.

So the book is split into three parts: Libby Day in the present, and her mom and brother, Ben, in the past.

When Libby Day was seven, her mother and sisters were brutally murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. The murderer? Her Brother!?!!!

Libby managed to hide and escape the house, hiding in the snow. She lost part of her toes, but had her life-and gained PTSD.

People felt sorry for Libby and donated a lot of money to her, to help her. She has tried to work, but just can’t. Unfortunately, the money has started to run out and Libby is lost at what to do next.

She looks at her “fan mail” and sees an offer to true-crime group’s meeting. For a personal appearance they will give her a big chunk of money.

She calls the guy and sets up a meeting. They discuss it and Libby decides to come. It all turns out to be a big mistake. None of these people believe Ben did it. They all attack her and her testimony.

Jordan

Libby becomes so upset she leaves and doesn’t look back.

Afterwards, she starts thinking about it. There is no doubt in her mind that Ben did it, but maybe those guys will pay her to investigate it. To talk to people.

She goes back to the group and they are in. Soon Libby is asking questions, researching, and finding out things she had never realized or thought about. Could she have been wrong? Is Ben innocent?

Hmm…

In both the Mom’s and Ben’s chapters we travel back before the incident. Libby’s mom is trying to make ends meet. She married Michael Day and inherited the family farm. Michael turns out to be a jerk wad who does nothing. He leaves and things grow tighter and tighter in the household. She barely has enough to make pancakes. What will she do? How will they survive.

Ben hates his life. Ben hates being poor. He hates having nothing. He has a hot girlfriend but she and her “cousin” make fun of him when they are together. No way they are just “cousins”, they they are all on each other. He does like one thing, helping out in the elementary school and is crushing on an elementary age girl. Did he murder his family?

Thoughts After Reading

Gillian Flynn is a great author but this is a very dark, dark book-that name is on point.

Too dark for me, hold me

And I could not stand the parts where Ben is talking about the elementary girl’s body and breasts, I reached that part and I was done!

For more retrograde mysteries, go to I’ve Got You Under My Skin

For more not in a series books, go to Big Little Lies

Lowcountry Boil

Lowcountry Boil (A Liz Talbot Mystery #1) by Susan M. Boyer

So I first became aware of the Liz Talbot Mysteries with the third book, Lowcountry Boneyard. I was a book reviewer for a blog, we didn’t get paid but I did get free books to read, like that gum commercial.

I tried to get the rest of the series but the libraries didn’t have it and I thought about buying it but I really wanted to read it first. I finally got my hands on the first book, so here we go!

Liz Talbot left Stella Maris Island, her hometown, for college and marriage and has hardly been back. Her high school sweetheart, Michael Devlin, married her evil cousin Marci Miller (seriously she has some screws loose), and then she married, Scott Andrews, turned out to e a narcissistic conman.

She is divorced and now runs a successful private investigator team with her ex-brother-in-law Nate Andrews. (It is obvious he has feelings for her but Liz doesn’t see it and still carries a torch for her high school sweetheart).

Everything changes when she sees the ghost of her high school friend, Colleen Stevens. She warns her to come back to the island as her grandmother, Gram is dead.

At first Liz thinks her grandmother died by accident, but soon she and her brother. Blake Talbot, Police Chief, decide there was something more happening.

Liz inherits her Gram’s house and Colleen, a guardian spirit who is connected to the island. As long as Liz remains on the island, Colleen is there to guide and protect her-but if Liz doesn’t stay then terrible things will happen.

As Liz says goodbye to Nate and her other life, she sets out to make Stella Maris her new home and solve who killed Gram.

She finds herself in a wasp nest of developers, fighting city council, blackmail, hired guns, domestic violence, choosing between her old flame or starting something new, and more! Will she find out the truth, or end up joining Colleen in the spirit world?

Thoughts After Reading:

It was a great read. I love how classy and ladylike Liz is, as a Southern woman should be, along with how tough and resourceful she is.

This novel is great read as it gets intense in the middle and I was flipping pages trying to get to what happened next.

I loved it and can’t wait for book 2!

For more private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

For female private investigators, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

For more Southern mysteries, go to Design for Murder

For more supernatural mysteries, go to Christina’s Ghost

Design for Murder

Design for Murder (Death on Demand #2) by Carolyn G. Hart

It has been a while since we reviewed a Death on Demand, so let’s do a quick review. Annie Laurence, from Texas, tried to be an actress in New York, but when she didn’t ht it big she headed to Broward’s Rock of South Carolina where her beloved uncle lived. When he died, she inherited his mystery bookstore, Death on Demand.

She was followed by the wealthy billionaire, Max Darling, who she met in New York and fell in love with. She left him as she felt they were too different, but Max won’t let true love get away. He opens up a private investigators business on the island. Meanwhile, in the last book, Elliot Morgan was murdered and a whole list of suspects were involved-with Annie being number one. She and Max solved the case and since then life has been good.

Until…Annie is hired to do a Mystery Night for historic Chastain’s garden and historic house show. The Historic board is championed by tyrant Corinne Pritchard Webster who likes everything her way. She didn’t want to add this mystery night, but was outvoted, the board hiring Annie to plan it.

Corinne is a snake, but Annie is thrilled to create her own murder mystery play with clues! This is perfect as it takes her mind off her fight with Max about wedding plans.

Annie receives a note from Cordelia with her outline for the murder mystery, which infuriates Annie as she spent hours planning something else. But when she presents it to the board she discovers it wasn’t sent by Cordelia, but that someone pretended and sent a mystery to embarrass Cordelia.

After that Annie works extra hard on an English style murder mystery that has no resemblance to anyone whatsoever and her booth for the night. Before you know it, the day has come and it is time to stage it all. As Annie does a once-over of the grounds she spots the body in the wrong place. When she goes to move it-it turns out to not be a mannequin but a real body. Cordelia! But which of the many people who hated her murdered her?

Could it have been Lucy Gaines, the once fiancé of Corrine’s brother, the relationship Corrine broke up. Soon after Corrine’s brother died and Lucy never married or had children. She also was stuck working and dealing with Cordelia everyday. Did it finally get to her and she killed her to get back at the life that could never be?

Mayor Webster, Corinne’s husband, has been alienated from her for years. In fact he developed a relationship with one of the local teachers. Could he have murdered her to get his money, freedom, and a new girl?

Or her…

Corinne bought off her niece, Gail’s, “unsuitable” boyfriend and has been crushing her spirit. Could she had snapped and finally stopped her aunt from being involved?

She has taken all paintings and works made by local and museum artist Tim Bond. She has a contract that they are owned by the museum and selling them not to Tim’s New York show, but loaning them out to other museums. This will ruin his career. Did he kill her to get everything back? Or was it his girlfriend Sybil Giacamo who hates Corinne and wants to help Tim, her lover?

You know artists have artistic temperament

Roscoe Merrill got drunk when out of town on business. He slipped up on his marriage and Corinne just happened to see him. She holds that over him and threatens to ruin his perfect marriage. Did he kill her to end the blackmail? Or was it his wife who killed Corinne  to ensure no one sees their marriage as anything less than ideal?

Dr. Sanford has been practicing on that area to work exclusively with a doctor in his specialized field. He has plans to increase the hospital and increase his work. Corinne wouldn’t let him change anything in the hospital. Could he have done it, so that he continue his love?

Is it?

Edith Ferrier gives so much to the community and wanted to have the position of president of the historical society as it is her favorite thing. Corinne wouldn’t give up her power, even though Edith would do a better job. Was this the last straw after constantly being crushed? Did she snap and kill her?

Unfortunately, the only one who the police are focusing on IS Annie! Will she be able to solve the case or be sipping her future mint juleps in jail.

Thoughts After Reading:

It’s so good, and always get me.

A real page turner!

For more Death on Demand, go to Death on Demand

For more Design for Murder, go to So Many Books to Review, So Little Time

For more Historical Socities, go to Death by Cashmere

For more Southern mysteries, go to For Whom the Bluebell Tolls

The Case of the Invisible Dog

The Case of the Invisible Dog (Shirley Homes Mystery #1) by Diane Stingley

After falling to strike it big in Hollywood, and two awful relationships, Tammy Norman has headed back to her hometown in North Carolina.

Desperate for work she takes a job with a Sherlock Holmes obsessed private investigator (who also believes to be a descendent of the real Sherlock Holmes), Shirley Homes.

At first Tammy spends her days doing nothing and getting paid well. Then a case comes their way. Every night a man is kept up by a barking dog, but neither he or his neighbors own one?

What’s starts out as a benign case turns to murder with Tammy wondering if she and Shirley have gotten in waaaay over their heads.

Thoughts After Reading:

This was soooo awful.

Ugh!

It was stupid. It makes fun of Sherlock Holmes and fans.

The characters are so awful.

Don’t read it. It was boring and the end was unsolved and made no sense. I can’t stress enough, do not read it.

For more private investigators, go to Wolverine Noir

For female private investigators, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

Wolverine Noir

Wolverine Noir (Marvel Noir Series) by Stuart Moore and C.P. Smith

Thoughts Before Reading:

This was a Christmas gift from my sister who knows my love of film noir, mysteries, private investigators, and the 1940s.

This series involves taking characters from the Marvel Universe and combining them with elements from Pulp fiction novels and film noir.

Plot Synopsis:

It is 1937 in the Bowery of New York City. Jim Logan (Wolverine) is the head of Logan & Logan Private Detective Agency with his brother Dog (Sabertooth), who is not mentally there after a horrible accident.

Logan is the best knife expert, using as many as six knives. However, he hasn’t had very much luck lately. There has been no cases coming his way.

That all changes when the beautiful Mariko Yashida walks into his office and brings a case that will bring up the past and a world of painful memories Logan hoped to never face again.

Thoughts After Reading:

It was good, but very, very dark…

For more noir, go to Archie Andrews: Not So Private Eye

For more private investigators, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

For more reviews, go to The Secret Adversary

Archie Andrews: Not So Private Eye

So this month is November or Noirvember

I try to put any Noir books that I read in this month. So when I spotted this comic from an Archie Laugh magazine I had to share it

 

For more Noir, go to This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

For more Archie Comics, go to Little Archie: Man of the House

For more private investigators, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

For more stolen jewels, go to The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

Midnight in Austenland

So I wanted to write a post on this book, but my sister blog already did it. So I thought I would just reblog it on my site! Thanks sis for doing the work for me. 🙂

janeaustenrunsmylife

Day 10) J is for Jane Austen: Choose a book based on, a sequel to, or a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s works

So I know I said I wasn’t going to review one of Austen’s works as that isn’t really fair as I talk about her books all the time.

reading Jane Austen

But I never said anything about a retelling!

Go on... Go on…

So I’m going to review my absolute favorite out of all the books I have read so far.

Austenland

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale

So I one day I was going through Goodreads and looking at if any authors I liked had published anything new. I really enjoyed reading Shannon Hale, and thought Austenland was pretty good except for a few things, so when I saw that she did a sequel I decided to check it out.

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I got the book and started reading it…but then I couldn’t…

View original post 3,821 more words

Innocent in Las Vegas

Innocent in Las Vegas (Tiffany Black Mysteries #1) by A. R. Winters

Tiffany is a single blackjack dealer that dreams of one day finding the perfect man and becoming a private investigator.

Tiffany has been working hard for license, but even though she isn’t fully licensed she gets a case from an old high school friend who is need of a P. I. as she is going on trial for the murder of her husband casino-mogul Ethan Becker.

Things look bleak for Tiffany’s friend, a stripper turned wife of millionaire, Mrs. Becker- especially as the gun that killed her husband was found in her house.

Tiffany starts investigating Ethan’s family and co-workers; but soon finds herself threatened, having to run from thugs, her house tossed and trashed, and needing an ex-Special Forces body guard.

Will Tiffany figure out who the real murder is and save her friend? Or will Tiffany’s first case be her only one?

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was an okay mystery and didn’t think that Tiffany Black was a very good detective.

She knew nothing about investigating and was pretty naive about everything.

The end was quickly wrapped up and the love interest characters and her client were all one dimensional.

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to Iced

For more female private investigators, go to Secrets Can Kill

For more mystery reviews, go to The Mystery of Jessica Benson

Iced

iced

Iced (Regan Reilly Mysteries #3) by Carol Higgins Clark

So I read Laced and thought it was okay, but then I read this one and thought it was bad.

I didn’t want to keep reading the series, but knew I had to before I could post this one. I read Decked and Snagged; and loved them.

So what went wrong?

Plot Synopsis:

P.I. Regan Reilly is invited to join her family and their friends on an Aspen vacation. But when they arrive things are not as they expected.

The place is a total mess and Eben Bean, the caretaker is missing!

He’s not the only thing missing, the family’s priceless artwork have been stolen.

Eben has a record, could he have decided the straight and narrow is too boring and returned to his life of crime.

Thoughts After Reading:

This was boring.

They give the whole mystery away in the beginning when they show that Eben is kidnapped by art thieves.

That’s it?

Eben and the maid Bessie interactions were dumb as well.

And they turn out to be long lost twins. Really? Where you running out of ideas?

Boring, boring, boring, Not worth your time-I’d skip it.

For more Regan Reilly Mysteries, go to Snagged

For more by Carol Higgins Clark, go to Decked

For more mysteries with private detectives, go to This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

For more mysteries with female private investigators, go to Secrets Can Kill

For more kidnapping mysteries, go to Run Run As Fast As You Can

For more mysteries that take place in Aspen, go to Catering to Nobody

This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

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This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies (Reed Ferguson Mystery #1) by Renée Pawlish

Thoughts Before Reading:

I belong to a site called BookBub in which you can be redirected to get  Kindle books cheaply or for free. This was one that was on the free section of the site.

I picked this book because every facet of it intrigued me. The cover was interesting in its 1940s noir feel, the title with it instantly bringing to mind a character who loves film (especially noir) as much as me; and the synopsis sounded great. Now did it live up to its expectations?

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Reed Ferguson loves old film noir. He’s favorite is The Big Sleep starring his hero, Humphrey Bogart.

On the case!

In fact, Reed wants to be just like his hero that he has decided to start his own detective agency.

investigate

As he lives in Colorado, he doesn’t have to be licensed. Now Reed may dream of being the next Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe; but hasn’t hit it big on a case really. He spends most of his time watching old movies or sitting around reading detective novels.

doNothingbutRead.49 PM

Unfortunately, Reed’s dad doesn’t view things the same way.

moviesandbooksoutsiders

He thinks of Reed as playacting and wants him to concentrate on a “real” job.

What?!

So Reed is hoping that he will get a “real” case to prove that it is a “real job”.

One day a beautiful blonde walks into his office. She is straight up a femme fatale out of his movies. Her name is Amanda Ghering and she wants Reed to find her dead husband. She’s willing to pay anything.

Right off Reed smells something fishy, but agrees to investigate. As he has his first case, he is raring to go.

Amanda Ghering’s husband, Peter, traveled a lot and was quite the wanderer. However, that lead dries up quickly as none of those women appear to be involved.

Hmm…

Reed also hears conflicting information and begins to follow Amanda, knowing that there is a whole lot more to the tale than what she is saying.

When Reed gets his life threatened, that seals the deal for him. He’s in this to the final stretch.

He follows Amanda to a restaurant where she passes a comic book to a waiter, who passes it along to another woman.

Hmm…

After a bit more investigating, and pressure on Amanda, Reed discovers that he’s been made a patsy. Amanda was behind the disappearance/murder of her husband. She hired this group of avengers of women’s rights and injustice, the X Women, by lying and saying her husband is abusive and controlling. When they discovered the lie, they let her husband go, and he has been missing ever since.

Seriously?

Reed tries to help aid Amanda, but she has pissed off the wrong people. These women will not be treated as such without a fight.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I did not like this mystery which made me sad as I thought it was going to be a winner. I mean I love classic noir, ’80s music, comics; etc. But this was just boring and badly written. And don’t be using Spider-man if you don’t even know who he is or how he acts.

I really didn’t care for Reed as he was boring and lazy, I mean we read more about him eating  than his actual investigating.

Ugh

The side characters were too numerous and annoying. The goofball brothers, ugh please no more.

Pretty much a fail for me. 0 out of 0 stars.

I hate it.

For more on private investigators, go to The Red Headed League

For more BookBub books, go to The Itsy Bitsy Spider

For more book reviews, go to Psycho

Psycho

Psycho

Psycho (Psycho #1) by Robert Bloch

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and one of my favorite films is Psycho (1960).

psycho

I could go on and on about it, but my sister blog, janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com, already reviewed it.

 So as I had become obsessed with Psycho, when I spotted the book Psycho II at a book sale I bought it.

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I had never read Psycho, but if the movie was that fantastic, then I thought the book must be and the sequel.

wrong

I did not like the sequel. To me it was not a good book at all. And ten years later I decided it was time to try and actually read the first novel that the film is based on. Now this won’t be a comparison, as that is a job for my sister blog fromprinttoscreen.wordpress.com

So here we are with Psycho.

The book was written in 1959 and is based on the Ed Gein serial killer (although Bloch claims to have written it without knowing anything about the case). The point of the novel was that an insane serial killer could live next door, and be overlooked even in a small-town.

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Plot Synopsis:

So the book starts off with Norman Bates, a 40-year old man who lives with his mother.

Yeah something’s not right with this situation.

Their property is massive and includes a huge farmhouse for the two of them, and then a motel lower down the hill.

Norman has an unhappy life with his mother, being the one to take care of her, while she is sick, abusive, and not fun to be around. The only bright spot for Norman is his books, through them he is able to escape his everyday existence.

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So Norman is having a regular day, when he hears a sound that means someone is there to check in.

We then switch to Mary Crane (Marion in the film). Mary Crane has not lived the life she wished for. She was planning to go to college but canceled that when her father died in a car accident and she decided to help at home. Her boyfriend left her when he was sent by the army to Hawaii, where he met another girl. Then her mom became sick and Mary paid for Lila’s, her sister, education. She works at Lowery’s real estate office as a secretary but that is not what she wants. She wants to be married with children.

After her mother’s death and the sale of the house, they had some extra money and Lilia convinced Mary to go on a cruise. There she met Sam Loomis, a divorced hardware store owner who inherited his father’s business and his debt. The two fell in love, but Sam doesn’t want to be married now. He wants to wait a few years until the fiances are better. Mary doesn’t like it, but decides to wait.

How she feels inside.

When a buyer walked in and bought his daughter her dream house for $40,000 in cash; Mary just snapped and stole it instead of depositing it like she was supposed to.

She travels to Sam, but decides to stop for the night instead of coming right over. Her stop? The Bates Motel.

Norman seems sweet and tells Mary that he will make them a snack. They do and talk about their issues.

Now here is what I thought was slightly weird. Norman in the film was adorable, kind-hearted looking, and like a cute little boy. I could see talking to him as he seemed safe, and in need of a friend. In this he is a bit creepy. 40-year old man with his mom, I don’t think so.

Mary decides that her plan is a horrible one and is planning to return to Fort Worth, TX. Before she leaves, she decides to take a shower, to wash off her sins.

While in the shower she is attacked and killed.

Norman has been drinking, and is depressed at their conversation as he knows that Mary is right. His life is hard and unpleasant and he should do something about it. He also has a thing for Marion and wants to be with her.

I hate my life!

Norman discovers Mary’s dead body and figures that his mother is the one behind the attack. He then cleans up the mess, tossing everything in Mary’s car; and all that into the swamp.

Sam is writing a letter to Mary, when Lila shows up on his doorstep! She comes to him looking for Mary, relating what happened and how Mary is missing. She is followed by Lowery’s private investigator Arbogast.

Hearing this news about Mary, Sam starts having second thoughts about the marriage wondering how he fell for such a woman. And does he know her as well as he thought he did?

Arbogast traces the steps of where Mary could have gone and discovers the forgotten drive that leads to the Bates Motel.

He questions Norman and asks to talk to his mother. He lets Sam and Lila know, asking them to wait for his next call. Norman reluctantly agrees to Arbogast meeting the mother,but when Norman’s mother meets Arbogast she slices his throat. Another body for the swamp.

Norman knows more will be coming, and against his nother’s wishes, he hides her in the fruit cellar.

Sam and Lila have been waiting for Arbogast but no call comes. Lila becomes worried and impatient and the two go to the Sheriff to ask for his help. There they find out that Norman’s mother is dead and buried.

If she is dead then who is in the house?

What?

The Sheriff complies with their request and heads out to question Norman. When he returns he lets the two know that Arbogast isn’t there, the mother isn’t there, and Mary isn’t there. he believes that Arbogast took off for Chicago and just forgot to call.

Lilia doesn’t believe in that and tells Sam she is heading out to the motel.

Lila and Sam pretend to be a couple traveling, but Norman knows something is up; especially with Lila looking so much like Mary.

The Sam and Lila split up and start investigating. Mary heads to the house while Sam decides to distract Norman. It works for a while but Norman knocks Sam out and heads to the house after Lila.

Sam wakes up when the Sheriff finds him. He received a call about Arbogast that made him suspicious and he came out here to look for Sam and Lila. They both hear Lila screaming and head up to the house.

Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like it.

Well first of all, I didn’t like Sam. He was much better in the film. Book Sam doesn’t defend her or think about helping her; but wonder if he was just taken in by a cold stone criminal. To me, I don’t think he really loves her as he continues to talk himself out of the relationship.

Marion isn’t as endearing as all she wants is to find a handsome, rich man to marry and improver her life. She meets Sam, who later she is upset to discover is not wealthy but won this cruise, and just as on hold as she. She wants to marry anyhow, but Sam refuses and asks her to wait.Mary seemed fueled by money rather than her love in trying to catch a husband and escape out of her life.

Ugh

Norman wasn’t as good as in the film. Book Norman is a 40 year old man who lives with his mother. He has been controlled by her (and abused in every way). He is overweight, impotent, intellectual on his own (but falls apart in front of mother or others), passive, and dreams of a better life (living the lives of the books he reads.) Even though he is an adult he still acts like a child, being controlled and dictated by his Mother.

To me I thought Norman in the book was good, but to be honest if I stayed at a hotel with this guy I wouldn’t spend time having sandwiches with him. I don’t know of I would even want to rent a room from him as he just sets off my creepo meter. The way he acts and talks I would keep my distance.

While the book was good it can not compare to the visuals of the film. I mean the way it was shot, the actor’s performances, they just brought the text to life in an astounding way. It was just amazing, all the right actors and director at just the right time. There is a reason why this movie became so iconic and why directors, writers, and actors are constantly trying to copy it.

For more on Psycho, go to The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

For more serial killers, go to Dying for a Date

For more private investigators, go to The Red Headed League

Ghost of the Hardy Boys

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Ghost of the Hardy Boys: An Autobiography by Leslie McFarlane, (the first Franklin W. Dixon)

I have never really been a fan of the Hardy Boys, except when they intersected with Nancy Drew. The Nancy Drew Casefiles had a cross over The Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys: Super Mysteries; along with the TV show The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. The books, the few I read, never captured my attention. However, when I found this book, I decided to check it out and learn more about the creation of the Hardy Boys.

But first:

Happy 115th Birthday Leslie McFarlane!

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McFarlane started as a Canadian writer, trying to strike it in the publishing world. He works at a newspaper during the day, and at night putts away at the keyboard trying to write stories and have them published.

He works at a midwestern newspaper, while still trying to get his work published. One day he came upon an advertisement by Stratemeyer looking for a writer. It promised good money, so McFarlane decides to answer it.

He receives an outline for a book about two boys, Dave Fearless and his best pal as they go on all kinds of adventures, but the book was to be written not by McFarlane but a Roy Rockwood.

Yes, Stratemeyer has an amazing idea in that he will have all these series written, but not by real people but pseudonyms. If an “author” leaves, they can always be replaced with no one noticing.

MacFarlane gets paid enough that he leaves his job at the paper and heads back to his hometown. But even though Dave Fearless is paying the bills, MacFarlane hates the character with a passion.

However, one day he is given an outline without the snippet for the next book. He doesn’t think much about it, but it turns out that Fearless is toast. Instead, Stratemeyer has a new idea, a crime-solving duo The Hardy Boys.

From here begins MacFarlane’s career as Franklin W. Dixon. With him he breathes his own life and ideas into the characters, creating pieces that would remain with them throughout the years and their many rebranding for new generations.

Thoughts After Reading:

I Lobed it. MacFarlane is hilarious and so genuine in his writing. It feels as if he is taking directly to you and he holds nothing back. Loved it!

For more Non Fiction, go to High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

For more biographies, go to Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries