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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-18

The Fifth is Second to the Fourth

I see from reading reviews already posted, I am repeating what has been said. But it bears repeating [monkey see, monkey do]. Information from The Fourth Monkey needs to be fresh in your head starting into this one or else you need to have a memory like a steel vice.
Contrary to another reviewer's remarks, I didn't think Barker included much of a refresher. He does refer back to points from the TFM but that's reference lifted without explanation. And, this new book picks up with the same frenzied pace that drives The Fourth Monkey to its confusing conclusion. It has been 4 months since the Fourth Monkey Killer escaped, and Porter is still obsessed with Anson Bishop / Paul Watson. The wall in his apartment where his bed used to sit remains covered with everything Porter had on the 4MK: hundreds of pictures, articles, maps, and pins connected with black string. He's just returned from the scene of a new crime; a young girl has been found frozen in an icy pond, meticulously staged so when she was discovered it would look as if she was floating just below the frozen surface of the pond. She's not missing an ear. Returning to his apartment Porter looks at the wall and thinks there's no reason to believe the escaped Bishop had anything to do with this murder, but picks up a tack and pushes it in the map on the wall. It's a head-snapping turn in MO since the 4MK wrapped up his *philanthropic* project, but he decides that tack is staying there until he's sure there is no connection.

There were so many titillating specifics I'd forgotten, I finally had to grab my copy of The Fourth Monkey and do some reviewing. It reminded me of looking at a snapshot, then hearing the story behind it and going back and looking at that same photo again, seeing the evidence hidden in plain sight. Barker stays on track with the feel of the story, but his second in this trilogy still didn't escape the curse of the middle book. It feels like a middle book--a bridge to another book, less interesting, but necessary. Most interesting to me were the years Bishop is in some kind of mental facility. His diary version of his years at home with those odd and murderous parents are very revealing, but only when the doctor finally gets a hold of the diary and reads it through the lens of reality instead of Bishop's psychopathic mind.

If Barker stays on the schedule he has used thus far, we'll all have to remember all of the details for another year before we get the July.

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-18

Embrace your inner *sadomasochist!*

Author Zoje Stage has created quite a buzz with her novel and to me, the emotional force of the reactions by readers is fascinating...maybe more so than the book.
I seriously think my journey into the cognitive sciences probably began when my sitter, an old retired nurse I knew as Mrs. *B*, sat me down on a braided rug in front of her old tv and told me to watch cartoons while she finished some cleaning. Waiting for the fuzz pattern to turn into a black and white picture, I picked at my lunch -- a slice of Kraft American cheese laid on a piece of white bread and warmed in a toaster oven which caused the cheese to rise into one perfect warm bubble that browned and formed a hardened dome that felt a lot like plastic. It wasn't a cartoon that came into focus, but a movie with an immaculately ordered little girl with the most perfect blonde braids I'd ever seen. I can't tell you how many days of my childhood I spent picturing that image of sugar and spice and everything nice pounding on a little boy with the heel of her tap shoe; my reaction not so much that of horror, but more like bewilderment.

The comparisons to the child antagonist are in most of the reviews I've read so far: Rhoda, the ultimate *Bad Seed,* the "evil fruit of the devil" Damien from *The Omen* series, the *Kevin*... we need to talk about, the nihilistic diners from *The Dinner,* Isaac from *The Children of the Corn,* a sample of some of the comparisons readers are relating to Baby Teeth's enfant terrible, 7 yr. old Hannah. The book works on some level because of the outrageous and menacing characteristics that make Hannah comparable to these other pre-pubescent holy terrors (except they were teens in The Dinner) and our morbid curiosity; do you look when you drive by an accident or turn your head? And it is oddly, or disturbingly, amusing, at least it will be to some of you.

Initially the synopsis of this book didn't interest me, but the incoming reviews did (agreed with them from the 1* to the 4*) until I finally gave in to my curiosity and used a credit at Audible. Content-wise, it was a tough book to get into because obviously, you are not going to care about this little girl-monster, and the archetypes were so glaring they seem to smack you in the face. With an audio production, so much of how you experience a book depends on the narrator's interpretation. Gabra Zackman read Hannah like she was growling through gritted teeth, but did the rest of the characters fittingly. Smart writing and a well-paced story were the elements that kept me connected.

Unless you are a fan of what I've seen labeled as the *creepy kid genre*, be prepared to be at least a little thrown off by the meticulously researched and diabolical violence carried out by this little girl towards the mother. You're either locked on or repulsed (or you want to scream at the DUH-ness exhibited by the husband). Other reviewers mentioned being captivated, not able to look away, or being upset by the whole premise. It was by realizing that this was the author's intent that I thought the book worked on some level and was therefore able to read through. I also thought that the book was well-written and described each family member's view as accurately as I can only imagine. (Though I can't accept a child of this age functioning at such a level. Nor could I accept a 7 yr. old, even a prodigy, processing the history of the women condemned of witchcraft and then taking on the character of one of those young girls -- and speaking perfect French, without there being some suggestion of demonic possession. It was the professional interventions that interested me, the impact of the mother's medical history, and without giving anything away...the possibilities presented in the final lines of the book. I admit to finding myself a little mesmerized once the degree of psychopathy became so pronounced, the I-couldn't-look-away syndrome.
Psychiatrist Gail Saltz wrote on the subject of this morbid curiosity:
"It makes us feel better to say we 'can’t look away,' but really it’s that we don’t want to look away. It’s normal sadomasochistic urges and fantasies that everyone has a certain degree of — the desire to think about or imagine hurting or being hurt — combined with normal exhibitionist and voyeuristic feelings, the interest in what is hidden and secret. It’s the weaving of both of these sides, which is as old as time. It’s no different than the Romans and gladiators and feeding them to the lions and everyone watching in the Colosseum."

It's always what hits our psyche the hardest that seems to stir up that powerful mixture of emotions. I'll say that whether you like this book or not, Zoje Stage set out to entertain and shake up her readers and succeeds in hitting her mark. .I thought the book was disgustingly entertaining, upsettingly odd, quirky little gem that turns out to be sugar candy if you bite into this.

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2 of 9 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-20-18

Bleak, dark, but done exceptionally well

If you've got the heart for it...this is a great read, just very sad and dark. Even the silver lining is a bit bittersweet and tarnished by the immensity of what is lost in the years. This is the first book I've read by Lisa Jewell and I was impressed by the very good writing and sophisticated set up of the story. The delivery, in the beginning, was achingly slow, but I realized as the pace picked up later that that beginning with the barely perceptible ticks here and there was the author's stratagem -- like a comfortable drift downstream until the first rapid upends your tranquil ride and submerges you in a truly horrible world of tumult and heartbreak. It's hard to throw an avid reader off track, but I have to give Jewell props for keeping me guessing.

I used to read some by the author K. Slaughter, until I had professionals in my field point out the dangerously gratuitous violence against women in that author's books. Whatever floats your boats -- (I won't go into details, but we worked with incarcerated sex offenders and were unanimously concerned with a particular book of KS. We all chose to quit reading KS.) While not the same subject AT ALL so gruesomely detailed in KS works, I couldn't help but compare the author's choices. Jewell was able to write about a sad and frightening situation involving a crime against a child and capture the horrors without the flagrant description, instead relying on her talent for writing and her trust in the reader to fill the details, instead of gore and salacious details. Well paced unfolding of a haunting thriller.

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10 of 11 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-16-18

Better than I expected

Considering the trajectory of this pair of authors and their current collaborations, this was better than I expected but still woefully inferior to some of their earlier writings. At least I didn't finish this one with muscle spasms in my orbital sockets from rolling my eyes -- which has been routine the last few novels from these guys. The plot felt a little borrowed and bordered at times on one of the old comedy routines of Abbott and Costello meet *insert the monster of your choice here*. I don't know where the pair is going with this Gideon series (I've heard rumors of this being the swan song of Gideon) but can see possibilities with a new Eli Glinn vs. Manuel Garza series centered on the mystery of the Phaistos Disc (also spelled Phaistos Disk, Phaestos Disc). One of the most famous archaeologic mysteries that still has scholars scratching their heads, I think Preston and Child could give readers some of their former clever fun coming up with their own brand of a *scientific explanation* of the puzzling ancient clay disk (second millennium B.C.). To appreciate this novel you have to really be a fan of Preston/Child. There's too much back story to just pick this one up, the fifth in the Gideon Crew series, and be up to speed with Gideon and his crew.

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-14-18

If it was on TV I'd change the channel...

...just in case this is being considered for a miniseries.

The criticisms noted by other reviewers are admittedly pretty solid, but it's not thaaaat bad for a light beach read -- if you've got credits to burn. There is a market for this, but I personally wouldn't recommend to any of my reader friends. The formula of this story has been told in so many versions that it would be hard to take this tired out premise and elevate it to anything closely resembling an engaging thriller. Writing this review a few days after I finished listening, I had to read over the summary to even remember what the story was about. Simply put, the concept, the characters, even the structural patterns in the story are overused archetypes. In the case of Something in the Water, this leads to an early predictability, a protagonist that is agonizingly dim-witted and the architect of her own absurd conflicts. At the very least she gives *blinded by love* another dimension that is hard to swallow. And the plot...overrreaching and shallow.

Initially, I did like the first person perspective chosen by the author, having the protagonist talking to the listener/reader and stepping out of the real stream of the story. The story begins engagingly with the main character describing to the listener the technicalities of digging a's interesting on a macabre level. And then it strikes you, the implausibility of a woman with a garden shovel digging several 6 ft. deep graves and lugging dead weight into the holes in a matter of a few hours. That's just the first of many absurdities as Erin vanquishes Russian mobsters, terrorists, a rat-bastard husband, all incredible tasks accomplished with the help of an imprisoned mobster with a burner phone she met while doing a documentary film. Eventually, the story seems to pull in every cliche in a desperate attempt to pad a thin and ridiculous plot until it implodes. If it wasn't intended to be a serious psychological thriller, it would be a great comedy.

Personally, books that I absolutely hate, I usually don't finish. I return them without bothering with a review unless I feel a moral obligation to voice my opinion. This was a harmless waste of a credit that I found to be on par with a low budget made-for-TV movie I've seen in a hundred adaptations. It didn't offend my intelligence or outrage me, and though I won't be recommending to my friends, I won't think any of them are ignoramuses if I see it on their playlist. Should Ms. Witherspoon decide to adapt it to a TV movie, depending on the casting and my popcorn situation, I might tune in and chuckle through it.

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11 of 20 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-07-18

The truer the friend the uglier truth he tells you

First of all...the cover reminded me of *Stranger Things,* coincidence or copycat?....I couldn't decide.
Jumping right in, I was initially EXCITED starting to feel a little spark of all the originality King has given us in the past.
There was that momentary joyous flood of memories from long ago when Stephen was a hot new author invading the world of literature with his fresh new ideas, and attentive to treading new paths without limits. I used to feel removed from my world and saturated in whatever King was dishing up for us. Like probably a high percentage of us...King was an author that got us young people interested in reading.

This began as an exciting prospect, the Old King returning to what he does best. But, quickly he pulls back the starting gate and gives us Point A for the plot line of the book...a dead little boy, attrociously and violently molested (*molested* seems like such a mild and insufficient term in this case). The depravity, the gratuitous use of really bizarre and crude sexual violence perpetrated on a dead little boy impacted me tremendously. The perversion didn't make the little boy any less dead than the original cause of death; the branch of the tree episode was needless and perverse, *kill him again, grosser this time!*. It was purely overemphasized sensationalism; an ill-advised and desperate attempt to expand an audience by appealing to those that enjoy grizzly gore (at least to me--and I am speaking completely from my own personal experience after jumping on Uncle Stevie's wagon in 1973 with Carrie and a vast base for comparison). Pig blood showers, floating vampire babies, clowns eating little boys and letting their toy boats float down the rain gutter are fun - with King. But tree limbs used as rear-entry skewers on children doused with semen crosses the line. A BIG line.

After King throws a few of these sttartegic sickening attacks at your psyche the book felt tainted to me, which doesn't mean that it will to you. I suddenly felt as if King had traded in his creativity for pure in your face shock-factor. Still hoping to regain some of the old King, I continued on as hope waned and just rode it out. Eventually, as is his habit, King drags out his Easter Eggs, which used to be fun and challenging even to the best read King fans, but lately have become more of King just laying an plugs for his collaborations with his also-writing-progeny.

There were a few bright/dark moments, but they were like picking grains of salt out of a handful of sand. I've experienced this phenomenon with a lot of successful writers that feel they *don't-need-no-stinkin'-editor* once they've made several Best Seller's Lists, won awards, and garnered huge fan clubs. In The Outsider, the dialogue began meandering back and forth to fill in for actual story progression, the pace slowed and began to be filled in with routine bits of King type hip slang, a few oldie tune titles dropped, a couple of hot rides from the 60's or 70's mentioned...*yawn*. I wish these Millionaire Club Authors would give us all a break and use an smart editor. That is a talented editor's specialty, polishing up the dull, redundant, the tail chasing, the boring self aggrandizing. I look at them like the plastic surgeons of the writing world, giving a face-lift to authors that still have just needs a little lift.

It didn't take long for me (again, just personally) to feel like it was old King, all right....just an old King chasing the *Old King,* unable to catch up with his own former brilliance. It's tough and sad--we all get old and turn into shadows of our own former brilliance. I love what King has given us, and think that if he could step out from under the weight of his own crown, get back in touch with his reader-fans instead of the people that tell him everything he does is Epic! -- History Making Greatness!! -- Genius!! that King could write with the ground-breaking cleverness he used to. It pains me to say this, but this is what I hear from 99.9% of the people I talk with that have followed King. We are fans, have followed his whole career, realize that everybody swings and misses sometimes, but think he got lost in his own status, writing too many columns and reviews as the King instead of Stephen King. Harsh? Maybe...I think it's tough love...someone telling the emperor he looks fine inded, but his backside is bare.

Not to spoil anything, but worth a mention in my train of melancholy thoughts here, the climax of the story felt briefly invigorating, borrowed from old monster lore (the best kind), but alas, it is short-lived and morphs in to another piece of literature borrowed -- a page out of Guillermo del Toro's *The Strain Trilogy.* The wriggling little's been done, Mr. King.

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9 of 19 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-22-18

It's *One of Those*

Hopefully, all of us are familiar with those great surprise novels that we stumble upon, work into slowly, then wish it would never end. Even with a favorite author, there are works we might not love as much as the one that put that author on our top shelf. McDowell was one of those authors that I stumbled upon while searching deeply into reviews here on Audible. Before Blackwater, I'd read a couple of this author's books and thought they were comfortably entertaining -- nothing spectacular on the level of hardcore horror that scars you for life, but solidly above the middle-grounders in a genre that I either love or hate, depending on the novel. Before researching the author a bit, I was convinced he was a Writer, a man that knew how to create atmosphere and lay down a good ghosty story that leaves you looking at the world a little differently, maybe even a little suspiciously--over your shoulder.

Blackwater: TCS is a multigenerational family saga, the kind you work your way into and feel like you know the clan; you watch them grow up, stumble, succeed, you care about them or dispise them. This was a slow start for me, but I have never spent 30 hours with a book that I enjoyed so much once I was hooked. It begins ominously, at the turn of the 20th century after the Perdido River has flooded the entire Alabama town named for the muddy red river. Were you to read the book, an *Introduction* provided would tell you: [quote]*it is the story of how a river monster disguised herself as a woman and married into that family (the wealthy Caskey family), eventually becoming its matriarch, and guiding its varied members to their fates, for good and for ill.*
About the *horror* element -- this is horror like Toni Morrison's *Beloved* was horror. A better genre to squeeze this into would be Southern Gothic, Magical Realism, or Speculative Fiction. McDowell has been praised by authors such as Peter Straub, Anne Rice, and Stephen King, the latter stating that McDowell was one of the "finest writers of paperback originals in America today” and one of the most underrated authors of horror. It was this compilation of McDowell's six Caskey Family novellas that inspired King to write books in the serialized format (The Green Mile, The Tower). King's wife Tabitha completed McDowell's novel Candles Burning (2006) after McDowell's death in 1999. If you decide to look into this Alabama-born author's very original work and writings, you'll find he wrote the screenplay for some popular movies (Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Thinner, Tales From the Darkside, etc.) and that he collaborated with Hitchcock, Stephen King, among others, before his death at the age of 49.

In my opinion, Blackwater is McDowell's crowning achievement. It is rich with the feel of a small southern town situated along the banks of a dark and moody river. Like a vein pumping life or death into the people that rely on its waters, the old river is alive and knows what lies in the hearts and souls of the citizens of Perdido. I'm glad I had not read the *Introduction* provided in the print copy of this book, and that I found out about the *river monster* as I listened. SHE is first sighted sitting primly in a flooded and abandoned hotel lobby, mysteriously composed and ambiguous. Her red hair is the color of the Perdido mud still stirred into the water around her knees. Like a cross between Disney's Ariel and one of the mythological mermaids froms old sailor's stories, you will sense that Elinor is immediately a beautiful but dangerous siren with the Perdido water coursing through her veins. She is a force of nature herself, a creature of logic instead of conscience, that straddles how we define good and evil. Had McDowell lived longer, I believe he would have returned to the eternal Perdido river, that he had more stories to dredge up from that muddy swift water that flowed into bottomless whirlpools and never gave up its dead.

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24 of 28 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-12-18

No Perfection here

A lifeless revamp of a worn out story, sorry to say. An *I'll-take-one-of-these, one-of-those, that-one, and-this-questionable-outlier* group of young pregnant women join a Mommy's group, in what is intended to be social stratification -- Gen Z style. What the author produces is a lackluster homogenization with little development of the individuals; so you just really don't care. [And worst red herring EVER. Just thinking back on that...whaaat?]

The *crime* that occurs felt sloppy and not well thought out. There would have to have been some clever strategy to pull off this level of snatch other than slipping someone a Mickey in a drink...remember that old slick move? What is so prevalent in this generation, and what the author didn't seem to ponder much, is how extensively media technologies impact society today. The players in this baby-heist would probably have been filmed on several iPhones, observed by the bar's camera, and also videoed by surveillance cameras dozens of times.

The novel feels underdeveloped overall, the plot is weak, the characters overused and stale. Now that I think back, The Perfect Mother was surprisingly void of anything memorable or noteworthy and I'm questioning why I finished this one. I thought about returning this and not writing a discouraging review, especially because I read a lot of contemporary fiction and try to encourage new authors, but the *Epilogue* was so unimaginative and rote that I was actually annoyed. I dropped my spade and the flower I was planting (and my jaw) and let rip a string of onomatopoeia. Now I remember why I pressed on...there were so many promising reviews. If you are determined to tackle TPM, hopefully you'll enjoy.

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13 of 17 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-17-18

A douche of a man, but a hell of an artist

I remember reading Loving Picasso, then seeing Surviving Picasso, and then Experiencing Picasso...that is...trying not to let my new found perspective of his soul-sucking ego affect my appreciation of his paintings when I saw them. At first, I didn't picture the battered women or recall their shattered spirits, the suicides, the depression...not while looking at such unworldly talent . But, I wondered about Francoise Gilot, a beautiful young woman and an accomplished artist herself, to whom Picasso said when Gilot told him she was also a painter, [quote]That is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. Girls who look like you could never be painters.[end quote] She was 21, and the great Picasso was over 60.

How did she survive Picasso?
In the huge shadow cast by such staggering greatness, how does anyone catch and hold enough sunshine to thrive, and not just fade out and blow away?

Rachman, adeptly captures that struggle from the perspective of a child living with a father that is an artist as big as his reputation, a charismatic expressionist known as much for his womanizing persona as his art, Bear Bavinsky. Reminded me a little of Picasso, with all of the narcissism, but without the intentional cruelty. Bear is a better artist than father and a better father than he is a husband, but he is a great painter. Is that enough? The characters in The Italian Teacher will either find a way out of Bear's shadow, or be swallowed into him.

The story begins in Rome where the artist lives with his current delicate-artist-wife, Natalie, and their 5 yr. old son, Pinch. Little Pinch adores his Papa, always experiencing him in the incandescence of his fame. The mother makes pottery under such encouragement from Bear as, *Not everyone is an artist,* and other supportive bon mots. [All those cuts sound so pretty when said with a pat on the shoulder and a wink.] Pinch learns to pity his poor mother, seeing her and her clumsy art only through Bear's disapproving eyes as he brushes by her, off on his way to some opening or gala in his honor, and into the arms of another adoring young sycophant, with cute little Pinch by his side, performing like a well-trained parrot. And so Pinch grows up, an unnourished seedling without individual context or safe harbor, thinking his mother weak and his father nothing less than a god. But Bear quickly moves on to the next event, the next woman he fancies, the next canvas, spreading his charms (and his seed) and eventually totaling a dozen or so wives and 17 children; all whom he loves, skittering about his feet, calling him Papa -- until he doesn't. Once the littles are grown and with needs or wants, Bear moves on abandoning responsibilities to chase fame, leaving another broken family struggling in the wake of his ego.

Pinch stays in the closest orbit to Bear through the years of changing sceneries and families.
As if unable to stand on his own, he bends himself and his life to fit into a relationship with his father, twisting and turning further from his own desires and needs to fit into Bear's. From a child, he had dreamed of following in his father's steps and being a painter -- until his father ridiculed his work. Like a puppy kicked aside, he gathers himself up and settles on the next closest thing he can think of, being a writer/art major, with dreams of writing about his father and his illustrious career. Bear scoffs, giving a hardy laugh at this modified ambition. After telling Pinch his writing is no better than the painting he attempted, he finally growls at the young man, *You work for ME!*

This is the novel's pivotal point and Rachman handles this moment with the turn toward a clever benevolence. *Never can true reconcilement grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep,* said Milton. Seeds have been planted and Bear will continue to finally encourage something in Pinch. I wasn't a big fan of The Imperfectionists, but I recall the talent of the author. The Italian Teacher struck me as Rachman's better book, even feeling a bit Shakespearean at times. There are weaknesses, plausibility, characters or events that are close to something you recall in history or literature that weaken a strong narrative into an echo, or caricature. But those are teeny little personal gripes that didn't affect my overall satisfaction and enjoyment.

In an interview, the author said he has always been fascinated by art and the artists, [quote] What is the nature of creativity? How do they come up with these ideas? Do they have a separate sort of vision? Are they people who deserve to have a different set of rules than the rest of us? [end quote] Who of us haven't entertained that discussion after an art gallery stroll and a few nibbles of cheese chased by copious glasses of free cheap Pinot? This book offers some exploration of that inquiry, but tilts that focus more toward whether or not that *different set of rules* translates to family and accountability. I believe Rachman gives us his answer as to whether or not *any people deserve a different set of rules than the rest of us* by serving up one of the tastiest and most satisfying dishes of revenge I've come across in a while. Subtle but with the slightest undertones of sarcasm, finishing with a bitter bite.

It's a satisfying, intelligently written novel that gifts a reader with avenues of possible mental meandering, and what more can you ask of an author than to trust his reader's and give them something excellent to chew on. BTW: *Can you separate an artist from their art? I can look at a Picasso (love doing so), but I can't watch House of Cards, I wouldn't eat a jello pudding pop with a gun against my head, and if the Pope kicked my dog, there would be a rumble. And, I would personally knit Ms. Gilot one of those dreadful but wonderful P*ssy Hats.

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14 of 17 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-15-18

Bad Seed X2

Three things you should know.
First: Sometimes, I find little holes in the most tightly woven plots and don't say anything because the book still kept me jumping up and down with my head spinning.
Second: Sometimes I have to backtrack to stay on track...and backtrack...and then realize that NO; I really did get it the first time. [Outrageous!] And move on.
Three: Unreliable narrators are fun; they *might* live lives full of blackmail, imaginary friends, arson, and possible genetic evilness coursing through their veins...and they might not (but here they kinda do).

Don't believe a thing this Amber chicky says in any of her successive approximations, just listen and enjoy -- but do keep track of where she is in her prevarication-packed tale. The book begins with Amber in a coma where she informs you of the 3 things you should know about her. 1. I'm in a coma. 2. My husband doesn't love me anymore. 3. Sometimes I lie. (She often lists trivia in groups of three. Listen for them because they are fun little bits of insight into a very sick little mind.) BTW, one of those 3 statements is true.

The coma monologues are the *Now* parts of the book; the prior to the accident parts are titled *Then;* and the *Before* parts are chilling excerpts from her childhood diaries. It'll have you wondering about inherited traits because one so young would have to live a horribly demented life under the tutelage of demonic beings to acquire such a malevolent personality so early on. Think of Damien smashing his tricycle into his *mother,* sending her cartwheeling over the upstairs railing down three floors onto the hardwood. Personally, I immediately thought of the movie The Bad Seed and little Rhoda and her tap shoes. And what a bonus...Amber has an adorable little sister...and that's all I'm saying about any of this!

As far as my rating, I thought this was a blast to listen to, maybe a bit of mental whiplash lingering from the back and forth, and I have a buzz-kill penchant of figuring out pretty intricate plots early; one of my few useless talents. Just don't read too much about it from reviews and enjoy -- think of the price you paid for this as admission to a wickedly fun ride.

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58 of 66 people found this review helpful