Tag Archives: Murder

Review: Ocean State

Ocean State

Ocean State
By Stewart O’Nan
Grove Press, 9780802159274, March 15, 2022, 240pp.

The Short of It:

Only O’Nan could write a story where the murderer’s identity is revealed in the first paragraph and he still manages to hold my interest.

The Rest of It:

This is a simple story, really. Two young girls, in love with the same boy. The push-pull tension of the story is laid out slowly in its less than 250 pages. Angel knows that her boyfriend has been seeing another girl, Birdy, but in her mind, there is no other outcome possible. She will be with him and Birdy won’t be. How she gets to that decision is how the story plays out.

Angel’s younger sister Marie, reflects on that autumn where it all went wrong. There’s plenty of familial tension but it’s all a little gritty and unsavory and I had a hard time liking any of the characters. I felt empathy for Marie, having to deal with the aftermath of Angel’s actions and her losing the only person she was really close to. But if you are a fan of O’Nan’s, what you might miss in this story is the sense of place that he so elegantly builds in his other books. Other than that, I enjoyed Marie’s reflections on sisters, mothers, and life in general.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The Stowaway

The Stowaway

The Stowaway
By James S. Murray & Darren Wearmouth
St. Martin’s Press, 9781250263650, September 2021, 320pp.

The Short of It:

Gruesome, but oddly entertaining.

The Rest of It:

Two years ago, Maria Fontana, the head of the Psychology Department at Columbia University, sat on a jury for one of the most depraved cases ever to pass through the hallowed halls of City Hall. ~ Indiebound

The set-up is very good. Maria’s role on that jury comes back to haunt her and her family as they are vacationing on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. Maria and her fiancé are trying to put the events of the past behind them while getting a little R&R with Maria’s young children in tow. But things suddenly take a dangerous turn on the ship when people turn up dead. People, mostly, young children. How can this be? Could the man on trial, Wyatt Butler have a copycat?

Maria spent a lot of time reviewing the evidence of that case. All the gruesome photos of Butler’s young victims. Plus, her background in Psychology gives her enough info to know how these serial killers work, but could there really be a copycat on board? Why? What is he after?

This book is a classic example of being trapped with no place to run. It’s a ship but there are only so many places to hide and Maria’s knowledge of the case and what this killer is capable of keeps the story flowing at a breakneck pace. I really enjoyed this one. I read it in one sitting and could not put it down for long.

But…

It’s gruesome. The crime scenes are very graphic. It seemed somewhat tolerable only because the killings are not in real time. As readers, we only hear of the aftermath but it’s children, which is a bit hard to swallow. Many of you warned me about how graphic it was but it was done well-enough that it didn’t keep me from frantically turning those pages.

If you need something a little different, something that is hard to put down and you don’t mind the graphic nature of these killings, then I highly recommend it.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.