REVIEW: Fatal Intent by Tammy Euliano

REVIEW: Fatal Intent by Tammy Euliano

Series: N/A

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: medical thriller, serial killer, moral questions, amateur detective, personal stakes

Quick Review: Uniquely interesting and thought-provoking, with a solid thriller core, this pushes genre boundaries for a great read!


When her elderly patients start dying at home days after minor surgery, anesthesiologist Dr. Kate Downey wants to know why. The surgeon, not so much. “Old people die, that’s what they do” is his response. When Kate presses, surgeon Charles Ricken places the blame squarely on her shoulders. Kate is currently on probation, and the chief of staff sides with the surgeon, leaving Kate to prove her innocence and save her own career. With her husband in a prolonged coma, it’s all she has left.

Aided by her eccentric Great Aunt Irm, a precocious medical student, and the lawyer son of a victim, Kate launches her own unorthodox investigation of these unexpected deaths. As she comes closer to exposing the culprit’s identity, she faces professional intimidation, threats to her life, a home invasion, and, tragically, the suspicious death of someone close to her. The stakes escalate to the breaking point when Kate, under violent duress, is forced to choose which of her loved ones to save, and which must be sacrificed.

FATAL INTENT is a medical thriller that pits an amateur sleuth doctor against an extremely clever serial killer.

The first thing you will notice about this book is that it is distinctly not a police procedural. This is a series of crimes that takes place largely in hospitals, investigated by a doctor, lawyer, and an elderly lady. The police are involved to some degree, but the main investigative force here is distinctly a team of medical professionals. That different perspective — one which Euliano weaves in comfortably and knowledgeably — makes this a refreshing read.

The characters themselves are also believable, with lots of detail about things going on in their personal lives that make them feel real. None of them suddenly develop super-sleuth skills; it’s fairly straightforward logic and an investigation that is sensible for them to be taking on themselves. The characters are human in a way that makes the story much more real, which is particularly important given some of the difficult moral and emotional topics that this novel tackles, which are not often present in a standard thriller.

That said, this is still a solidly plotted, page-turner of a thriller. Euliano has done an excellent job of keeping it tightly paced without feeling forced or contrived, or like the characters are in unreasonable amounts of danger. The peril and tension fit well with the story and the circumstances, and make this novel very easy to lose yourself in.

FATAL INTENT is definitely one that you should pick up if you are a thriller fan, especially if you are looking for one that is a bit different in terms of setting and style!

REVIEW: Skim Deep by Max Allan Collins (Nolan #9)

REVIEW: Skim Deep by Max Allan Collins (Nolan #9)

Series: Nolan

Book Number: 9

Read this book for: heist, vintage noir style, action, thriller, adventure

Quick Review: A vintage 70s or 80s heist movie in novel form, complete with all the action, sex, danger, violence and quick twists that the genre holds!


The first new Nolan novel in 33 years from one of the masters of the genre, Max Allan Collins, award-winning author of Road to Perdition.

The onetime world-class thief Nolan – now happily gone straight with his own restaurant/nightclub – whisks his longtime lover Sherry off to Vegas for a trip to a wedding chapel and a honeymoon stay. But an eye-in-the-sky security cam at a casino spots Nolan, whose past catches up with him when he’s thought to be casing the joint. An old “friend” sees Nolan as the perfect patsy for a scheme to heist the weekly skim haul, and when the former thief’s young frequent accomplice, Jon – a musician in the casino’s house band – finds the couple mysteriously, suspiciously missing, it’s up to Nolan’s Best Man to keep wedding bells from tolling a funeral march.

SKIM DEEP is a racy, action-packed heist thriller — a movie on the page. However, it adds flavour with several surprising twists that take it beyond your typical Vegas heist thriller, and a depth of atmosphere that makes it especially visceral.  

This is part of a continuing series featuring Nolan the master thief; the ninth full-length instalment in the set. I have not read any of the other Nolan novels, but that did not impact my enjoyment of this one in any way — there’s more than enough detail to easily follow who the main characters are and what their relationships are to one another. This one can be enjoyed fully as a stand alone piece. 

One of the things any reader of this novel will notice first is the way the atmosphere is finely crafted. The way that Collins captures that gritty, late-Seventies/early-Eighties gritty noir feel is pitch-perfect; you can almost feel the film grain through the page. In fact, I correctly assumed the time period just through the feel of the novel before finding any information in the book that explicitly gave it a date. that kind of atmospheric writing is rare, and Collins does a brilliant job of crafting that dangerous, dirty, organized crime feeling. 

The characters fit perfectly in that vintage movie atmosphere; they’re fairly one dimensional but so richly described that they are very easy to picture. The way that they are written is so visual and visceral, it’s almost impossible not to see them as though they were on film. 

Even the content of the plot makes this feel like a movie, but this is a heist novel with a twist – the thief starts out simply on vacation, and falls victim to the plots of others, rather than proactively trying to launch a heist on his own. When everything else in the novel has the familiarity of an old film, this little change to the way the plot is handled makes the whole thing feel fresh again. 

If you are a fan of some of those vintage heist films, SKIM DEEP is definitely a novel you should check out!

REVIEW: Death of a Messenger by Robert B McCaw (Koa Kane Hawaiian Mysteries #1)

REVIEW: Death of a Messenger by Robert B McCaw (Koa Kane Hawaiian Mysteries #1)

Series: Koa Kane Hawaiian Mysteries

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: Hawaiian mystery, US mystery, whodunnit, police procedural, damaged detective, thriller

Quick Review: Unique setting, interesting topics and a decent plot make this an interesting mystery to pick up, especially if you’re stuck in a reading rut!


On Hawai’i Island, an anonymous 911 caller reports a body at Pohakuloa, the Army’s live-fire training area. Hilo Chief Detective Koa Kane, a cop with his own secret criminal past, finds a mutilated corpse—bearing all the hallmarks of ancient ritual sacrifice. Koa encounters a host of obstacles as he pursues the murderer—an incompetent local medical examiner, hostility from both haoles (Westerners) and sovereignty advocates, and a myriad of lies. Koa races to discover whether the victim stumbled upon a gang of high-tech archaeological thieves, or learned a secret so shocking it cost him his life and put others in mortal danger. Will Hilo’s most respected detective stop this sadistic fiend—or will the Pohakuloa killer strike again, with even deadlier consequences?

DEATH OF A MESSENGER is a Hawaiian police procedural, which ties together a fascinating range of topics and an interesting plot for a solid and unique read.  This is the first novel in the Koa Kane series that centres around Chief Detective Kane, head of the Hilo investigative branch in Hawaii. Kane has a bit of a dark past that is hinted at, and I am looking forward to more novels in this series to see how that develops. It’s also a good starting place for the series; enough setup with the characters without feeling too much like an establishing novel. 

And it has an impressive opening array of topics. This novel ranges from archaeological discoveries to astronomical discoveries. McCaw has clearly done his research on both topics and the portions of the novel that delve into the history and archaeology of the Hawaiian islands are quite fascinating. It’s a unique topic and woven throughout in a way that never feels forced; the book is worth a read just for this bit of history that’s very atypical for this type of novel. The setting also adds an interesting reason to read. The logistics of detective work on the Hawaiian islands lend a special set of challenges to the proceedings, and they add colour to this mystery. From volcanic caves to Naval installations, helicopters to boats, mountain snow to beaches, this mystery is a tour of the islands, outside of the tourist hotspots. 

That backdrop and range of topics makes a decent plot even better. Without spoiling anything, what appears to be a fairly typical thriller plot turns out to be satisfyingly complex, and blends well with the various unique elements of this novel. 

DEATH OF A MESSENGER is an interesting break from the typical dreary, rainy mystery novels, with its own special island flavour. 

REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of the Stapletons by James Lovegrove

REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of the Stapletons by James Lovegrove

Series: N/A

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: classic Holmes pastiche, Sherlock Holmes, cozy mystery, supernatural elements, classic mystery, whodunnit

Quick Review: Packed with familiar faces and places but with a fresh twist, this is a novel perfectly suited to classic Holmes fans. 



1894. The monstrous Hound of the Baskervilles has been dead for five years, along with its no less monstrous owner, the naturalist Jack Stapleton. Sir Henry Baskerville is living contentedly at Baskerville Hall with his new wife Audrey and their three-year-old son Harry.

Until, that is, Audrey’s lifeless body is found on the moors, drained of blood. It would appear some fiendish creature is once more at large on Dartmoor and has, like its predecessor, targeted the unfortunate Baskerville family.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are summoned to Sir Henry’s aid, and our heroes must face a marauding beast that is the very stuff of nightmares. It seems that Stapleton may not have perished in the Great Grimpen Mire after all, as Holmes believed, and is hell-bent on revenge…

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE BEAST OF THE STAPLETONS is Holmes writer James Lovegrove’s follow up to the classic HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, and a fitting continuation of that story written by a proven expert.  

James Lovegrove is one of the most prolific Holmes writers currently working, and writes a convincing Holmes in a number of situations, often with a supernatural or semi-supernatural twist. Check out reviews for SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CHRISTMAS DEMON, SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE DEVIL’S DUST, and SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE MISKATONIC MONSTROSITIES on this blog.  

Lovegrove writes Holmes extremely well. Once again in this installment, the character feels like the Holmes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. In fact, this is probably his most traditional edition that we have read, with the inclusion of Watson as biographer (also captured very well), the type of story, the mention of other major players and adventures in the canon Holmes catalogue, and the type, pace and style of plot. 

The plot itself is pure Baskerville, part two. A giant, man-eating beast, the darkness and mystery of the moor and even the characters themselves are all drawn directly from HOUND. Lovegrove carefully balances nods to the original with his own new elements to create a tale that feels as fresh as it does familiar. It’s also a fairly gratifying plot in itself; not overly complicated but satisfyingly twisting. 

If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan looking for some new material to read, you will definitely enjoy the familiar feeling and faces present in SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE BEAST OF THE STAPLETONS!

REVIEW: Enemy of the Raj by Alec Marsh (Drabble & Harris #2)

REVIEW: Enemy of the Raj by Alec Marsh (Drabble & Harris #2)

Series: Drabble & Harris

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: UK mystery, India mystery, adventure thriller, historical fiction, thriller, amateur investigators

Quick Review: A fun adventure thriller with the added bonus of a sumptuous, detailed and unique setting in India in the late 1930s.  


India, 1937. Intrepid reporter Sir Percival Harris is hunting tigers with his friend, Professor Ernest Drabble. Harris soon bags a man-eater – but later finds himself caught up in a hunt of a different kind…

Harris is due to interview the Maharaja of Bikaner, a friend to the Raj, for his London newspaper – and he and Drabble soon find themselves accompanied by a local journalist, Miss Heinz. But is the lady all she seems? And the Maharaja himself is proving elusive…

Meanwhile, the movement for Indian independence is becoming stronger, and Drabble and Harris witness some of the conflict first-hand. But even more drama comes on arrival at Bikaner when the friends find themselves confined to their quarters… and embroiled in an assassination plot!

Just who is the enemy in the Maharaja’s palace? What is the connection to a mysterious man Drabble meets in Delhi? And what secret plans do the British colonial officers have up their sleeves? 

ENEMY OF THE RAJ is the newest novel from Alec Marsh, which takes Drabble & Harris – a pair of unlikely English heroes – to India that takes them from tiger hunts to attempting to foil assassination plots.  

This is the second novel in the Drabble & Harris series, which is a historical series of adventure thrillers starring an unlikely duo of British history professor and journalist. Check out the review for RULE BRITANNIA, the first novel in the series, to learn more about this English Indiana Jones.  

One of the immense strengths of this novel is the contrast between Drabble — intelligent, driven, physically capable — and Harris, who is a bit hopeless and hedonistic in a very Wodehouse way. It allows Marsh to tell the story from two very different angles, and it’s fascinating to watch how Marsh weaves the two very different threads and experiences together.  

The mystery in itself is not overly complicated, but is incredibly action-packed. A tiger hunt, car chases, bomb plots, physical fights are all found in abundance… this is an adventure thriller to its core. It is also a lot of fun, and sumptuously steeped in the details of dress and atmosphere of the period. 

Marsh’s choice of sending Drabble and Harris to India for this instalment is a refreshing one. Like the previous novel, he explores some of the political tensions and complications of the time, but without bogging the piece down in too much detail. It’s lightly educational, and the setting adds an exciting new element that is not often seen in novels of this type. 

If you are a fan of historical fiction, or fun adventure novels, ENEMY OF THE RAJ is definitely one to pick up! 

REVIEW: The Best New True Crime Stories: Small Towns edited by Mitzi Szereto (Best New True Crime #2)

REVIEW: The Best New True Crime Stories: Small Towns edited by Mitzi Szereto (Best New True Crime #2)

Series: The Best New True Crime Stories

Book Number: 2

Read this book for: short stories, true crime stories, little-known true stories, anthology

Quick Review: Unvarnished selection of interesting true crime stories from a wide variety of places and over 150 years. 


A collection of non-fiction accounts by international writers and experts on small town true crime shows readers that the real monsters aren’t hiding in the woods, they’re inside our towns. Small towns aren’t always what they seem. We’ve been told nothing bad happens in small towns. You can leave your doors unlocked, and your windows wide open. We picture peaceful hamlets with a strong sense of community, and everyone knows each other. But what if this wholesome idyllic image doesn’t always square with reality? Small towns might look and feel safe, but statistics show this isn’t really true.

Tiny town, big crime. Whether in Truman Capote’s detailed murder of the Clutter family or Ted Bundy’s small-town charm, criminals have always roamed rural America and towns worldwide. Featuring murder stories, criminal case studies, and more, The Best New True Crime Stories: Small Towns contains all-new accounts from writers of true crime, crime journalism, and crime fiction. And these entries are not based on a true story―they are true stories. Edited by acclaimed author and anthologist Mitzi Szereto, the stories in this volume span the globe. Discover how unsolved murders, kidnapping, shooting sprees, violent robbery, and other bad things can and do happen in small towns all over the world.  

THE BEST NEW TRUE CRIME STORIES: SMALL TOWNS is a new anthology of short true crime stories, written by various authors and collected by Mitzi Szereto. 

This is the second of Szereto’s anthologies of true crime stories. The first centred around serial killers (THE BEST NEW TRUE CRIME STORIES: SERIAL KILLERS), while this one has a bit of a unique thematic topic: demonstrating that major crimes do happen in idyllic small towns.  

The best descriptor for this particular collection is the word ‘variety’. Each author has their own particular approach and writing style, and takes a slightly different approach to the piece they are covering. Some choose to focus on a simple recitation of facts, while others delve into atmosphere and sentiment more than the actual facts of the crime. The tellings are generally fairly unvarnished and straightforward, and also fairly short; usually you have all of the details you need, but occasionally you want to learn more. 

The variety also extends to the selection of stories, which span 150 years, and at least 3 continents.  The crimes described also show a huge variety: a vigilante mob, a spree killing, single domestic murders, unsolved cases and more all feature in this collection. 

If you are a hardcore true crime fan and looking to learn about a selection of cases you likely have not encountered, this collection is definitely includes some interesting stories! 

REVIEW: Killer, Come Back To Me by Ray Bradbury

REVIEW: Killer, Come Back To Me by Ray Bradbury

Series: N/A

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: horror, supernatural mystery, mixed genre, short stories, mob stories, creepy stories

Quick Review: Creepy, suspenseful, and showcasing a vast range, Bradbury’s crime stories should be read, whether you are a Bradbury fan or love crime novels with a horror edge. 


Time travelers…dark carnivals…living automata…and detectives? Honoring the 100th birthday of Ray Bradbury, renowned author of Fahrenheit 451, this new, definitive collection of the master’s less well-known crime fiction, published in a high-grade premium collectible edition, features classic stories and rare gems, a number of which became episodes of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS and THE RAY BRADBURY THEATER, including the tale Bradbury called “one of the best stories in any field that I have ever written.”
Is it murder to destroy a robot if it looks and speaks and thinks and feels like a human being? Can a ventriloquist be incriminated by the testimony of his own dummy? Can a time traveler prevent his younger self from killing the woman they both loved? And can the survivor of a pair of Siamese twins investigate his own brother’s murder? No other writer has ever rivaled the imagination and narrative gifts of Ray Bradbury, and the 20 unforgettable stories in this collection demonstrate this singular writer’s extraordinary range, influence and emotional power. 

KILLER, COME BACK TO ME is a collection of short crime stories written by Ray Bradbury, collected and published in a special edition for his 100th birthday.   

This is one of the many brilliant Hard Case Crime novels published by Titan Books.  Hard Case Crime pulls unpublished or lost crime stories, sometimes from famous authors that you would never have guessed have written in the genre. Check out reviews for screenwriter Donald E. Westlake’s FOREVER AND A DEATH,  and Stephen King’s THE COLORADO KID, as well as Scott Von Doviak’s excellent CHARLESGATE CONFIDENTIAL, and director Brian De Palma and Susan Lehman’s ARE SNAKES NECESSARY?, for more of their published stories.

Bradbury is not the first author you would think of when it comes to crime stories, but he has written quite a few of them, and they span genres from 30’s and 40’s mob stories, to the supernatural, to those involving androids, to the downright creepy and sinister. Most of these stories incorporate at least some sort of horror element.

And most of these stories are genuinely creepy. Bradbury’s straightforward, matter-of-fact tellings of bizarre situations lend them a distinctly unsettling edge. He uses the middle America and white picket fence setting to great effect here, although is equally at home in one or two stories that have more exotic settings – a circus sideshow, a few mob stories, a ventriloquist’s show.  

The range of stories, settings, time periods, characters, and even the feel of the stories themselves – from suspense, to horror, to psychological thriller – makes this a collection that feels fresh every time you turn the page. A few of the stories pair nicely together (or were written as pairs), and the editors have done a fantastic job of arranging the stories into an order that makes a lot of sense when read straight through. However, each of the stories can be easily read on their own for a bite-sized bit of crime fiction.

I devoured this set of short stories, and if you are a fan of Ray Bradbury, or like crime stories that are especially chilling, KILLER, COME BACK TO ME, is definitely one to pick up. 

REVIEW: She Lies Close by Sharon Doering

REVIEW: She Lies Close by Sharon Doering

Series: N/A

Book Number: N/A

Read this book for: psychological thriller, unreliable narrator, missing person’s case, female lead character, twisting plot, suspense 

Quick Review: Intense, emotional, and chilling, this twisting story will grip you, and make you question your opinions about the characters again and again.  


Five-year-old Ava Boone vanished without a trace six months ago. No witnesses, no sightings or arrests. But Grace Wright just moved in next door to the only suspect the case had: quiet, middle-aged Leland Ernest. Recently divorced, Grace uprooted her two small children to start again and hopes the move will reset her crippling insomnia. With whispered neighborhood gossip and increasingly sleepless nights, Grace develops a fierce obsession with Leland and the safety of her children. Could she really be living next door to a child-kidnapper? A murderer? With reality and dream blurring more each day, Grace desperately pursues the truth – following Ava’s family, demanding answers from the police – and then a body is discovered…  

SHE LIES CLOSE is a recently published stand-alone psychological thriller by Sharon Doering. It tracks the emotional and mental spiral of Grace Wright, a recently divorced mother of two whose anxiety over her children’s wellbeing has led her to obsess over her neighbour, a suspect in the kidnapping of a little girl the same age as her own.  

That fear and anxiety permeates this novel, and the emotional intensity of Grace’s worry is one of the most prominent and powerful aspects of the story. Her nerves are palpable, and somehow make her actions – even though they are unreasonable – completely understandable, rather than over the top. Doering also handles Grace’s slipping grip on reality with subtlety and deftness. 

This subtlety means we’re never quite sure what is real and what isn’t in Grace’s experience, which is perfect, because as time goes on, neither is she. Without spoiling anything, it’s this unreliability that drives the plot, but it also makes you desperate for answers as to what is actually going on, and turns a fairly simple plot scenario into something much darker and more twisted. 

I was expecting a fairly simple resolution to the plot of this novel: a woman who is completely obsessed with a particular crime and suspect suddenly becomes much more involved than you expect at the outset. However, Doering has created a couple of fascinating twists on that particular theme that made the ending a bit of a surprise to me; the reversals and changes are almost Hitchcock-ian. 

If you are looking for a tense psychological thriller that will drag you in with tension and keep you riveted, desperate for a resolution, SHE LIES CLOSE is definitely worth picking up! 


REVIEW: No Signal by Jem Tugwell (iMe #2)

REVIEW: No Signal by Jem Tugwell (iMe #2)

Series: iMe
Book Number: 2
Read this book for: futuristic mystery, tech mystery, UK/European mystery, thriller, political thriller
Quick Review: Fast-paced, brilliantly imagined, and thoughtful, this is multiple genres and stories in one; fans of many different genres will enjoy this novel.


Can a game change the world?

The Ten are chosen – they are reckless, driven and strong.
They are tested. Ten become Four.
In a country where everyone is tracked, how can the Four hide from the police?

DI Clive Lussac hates the system that controls everything, but he’s ill and it’s helping him. He must decide: conform or fight.

As Clive’s world unravels, he and his partners DC Ava Miller and DS Zoe Jordan can’t believe the entry price to the game.
They strive to answer the real questions.
Why does the ultimate Augmented Reality game have four different finishes?
And how is a simple game wrapped up in politics, religion and the environment?

NO SIGNAL is the second in the near-future sci fi series by Jem Tugwell that features the ‘iMe’ system – implants for all British citizens that allow continuous tracking and monitoring. Under such a system of surveillance, you would imagine no crime could possibly be committed without those people being immediately caught. But this system has a few holes, as this series fascinatingly explores.

This is the second book in Tugwell’s ingeniously imagined iMe series (check out the review for book one, PROXIMITY, here). You do not necessarily need to read the first instalment to pick this one up, but it does help rather a lot to understand the dynamics on DI Clive Lussac’s team, his standing with the police department, and how the system works. It’s also a very interesting introduction to the world, so it’s worth a look.

It’s also worth a look as the technology/sci fi element to this is one of the best parts of this story; it’s such a believable concept, imagined so vividly with all the little logistics details worked out – immigration, visitors, removal, system failures, and how other countries might interact with a country that has adopted such a system. Then, he goes on to imagine how this would impact the religious and political life in the country in a vivid and real way. And yet, the technology is blended with the world such a way that it never becomes overwhelming for the story.

One of the most interesting parts about this story is the ‘game’ – the selection process and the lengths the players go to are gripping, partly because it’s plausible, and partly because it’s a very interesting concept. Tugwell does a great job of making you care about the way these characters chase across the UK under the eyes of this ubiquitous system, and then horror when you realize what they are doing – both willingly and unwittingly. It gives this story a surprising amount tension in a setup where the entire concept is that nothing can go un-tracked.

Most thrillers would stop with the chase of the game – the thriller element. However, that’s only part of this novel. The rest of it is an interesting discussion of political factors that are relevant to us even outside this sci-fi world, and a hunt to discover which political faction might be behind the attacks. The fact that multiple sides of the spectrum could be responsible for the use of extreme force like this is terrifying and thought provoking.

If you can’t decide what genre you’d like to spend some time in, or if you’re interested in the fusion of technology and detective work — or if you’re just looking for a thriller with a really interesting backdrop — NO SIGNAL is something to check out!

REVIEW: The Weight Of Small Things by Julie Lancaster

REVIEW: The Weight Of Small Things by Julie Lancaster

Series: N/A
Book Number: N/A
Read this book for: unconventional storytelling, suspense, thriller, unreliable narrators, domestic mystery
Quick Review: Chilling, unsettling and surprisingly dark; a unique book that has to be experienced.


Nine-year-old Frankie Appleton likes to count gates.
One day she hopes to design the perfect gate – a gate to keep the bad things out.
Little does she know that the bad things have already got in.
Now her mother is dead, and the only other person with a house key has disappeared.
Frankie thinks she knows who it is. But first she has to prove it.

THE WEIGHT OF SMALL THINGS is a brand new novel by Julie Lancaster, which follows the web of stories spun around a nine-year-old girl, Frankie Appleton. Her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, but as she sets out trying to prove that her mother was murdered, the story spins out to her past, her mother’s past, and the dangers that lurk around her.

This is not a book for those looking for a cozy whodunnit. This novel is an experience, as you are drawn through the lenses of a list of characters who all have a particularly distorted and unreliable lens way that they see the world. It depicts mental illness in a vivid, visceral, uncomfortably realistic way. Parsing the reality of the story through the twists and turns of some very disturbed individuals is not for the faint of heart or the easily unsettled. There are moments and twists that will trouble even veteran horror readers.

And despite being a fantastic whodunnit, which twists and turns and keeps you guessing, the ultimate point of the novel at some point stops being what happened — whether or not there was a murder and who was responsible — and more about what happens to each of the individual characters (friends, neighbours, family members) through which the story is told. It’s an absolutely fascinating dissection of some very particular worldviews and every character has a much darker side than you would imagine.

A major part of what will compel you to keep turning pages is the element of suspense that Lancaster has layered in so subtly that you don’t realize that it’s there. You simply find yourself tense, worried about Frankie and what might happen to her. The subtlety, combined with the unpredictable, unstable nature of so many of the characters, makes that tension so much stronger than most straightforward ’suspense’ novels.

This novel will disturb you, but you will not be able to put it down. THE WEIGHT OF SMALL THINGS is a masterfully crafted novel that you have to experience to understand.