October Genre Discussion

For October 2017, we will be reading mysteries and spooky books.
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hsimone
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October Genre Discussion

Post by hsimone » 04 Oct 2017, 01:25

Come share what you read this month or what you're in the middle of reading in the genre(s) of Crime/Mystery/Thriller/Horror!

When discussing, please tell what us what you read, the genre, what was it about, what were the book's strengths/weaknesses, and the rating you gave. If you could, let's also discuss the parts that seemed unique to the genre(s) of the book you read.

In the light of Halloween, if you read a spooky book, feel free to throw a little spooky ghost :scared-ghostface: :scared-eek: in your post, lol.
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Post by jenjayfromSA » 06 Oct 2017, 04:22

Recently I read Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. I've read her Girl On the Train too, but I preferred this one, mostly because the heroine was such a whingy character, hitting the bottle when she couldn't get what she wanted. Into the Water incorporates crime and mystery. Over the centuries, women have drowned in a pool by the old Mill House in a remote English village - drowned as a witch, after killing her husband etc - now two have died within months, a schoolgirl who filled her pockets with stones and walked in. She meant to die, but why? The second is an author who has recorded all the previous drownings. She seems to have jumped from the cliff into the water, but her estranged sister and daughter do not believe it. She had to have been pushed. I enjoyed the gradual build-up of tension as the various threads started to come clear. I loved the characters' motivations and their often traumatic backstories and I particularly enjoyed the stories, apparently written in the first person by the drowned author, about the other women who drowned. Who were they? What were their motivations? You started to feel the attraction of this dark pool and the release or finality it offers. Others suspect a crime, including the young female police officer who recently joined the local station, so there is a crime, investigation element. The end is unexpected, but totally in keeping. Actually, if you consider the suspense, perhaps this should be in the thriller category too!

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Post by hsimone » 06 Oct 2017, 06:38

Ooo...I read Girl on the Train and fairly enjoyed it, but Into the Water does sound pretty interesting! I love the mystery and kind of attraction to this body of water. I'll have to check this one out!

I recently read In the Woods by Tana French. It definitely falls into the mystery, crime, and thriller genres. After the disappearance of his childhood friends, twenty years later Rob Ryan keeps this part of his life hidden. That is, until the day comes when a dead child is found in the same woods that Rob's childhood friends disappeared into. Could there be a connection? Will he found out the true story of his friends?

Crime - the murder that happened
Mystery - who committed the murder and does it relate to Rob's friends' case?
Thriller - that feeling of excitement of not knowing where the story will go

I would also argue that there is a sense of potential supernatural/horror. The author hints as much a handful of times, but isn't explicit enough to determine if that was the case or not. :scared-ghostface: :?:

I found the book as a whole to be okay. There were so many unanswered questions that it left me frustrated, and from what I can gather the unanswered questions are not referred back to later in the series, which is even more frustrating. I rated it a 2 out of 4 stars.
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Post by kio » 06 Oct 2017, 11:00

For mine I read The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken. I would consider it horror/humor (I know oxymoron). It's about a boy named Prosper whose relative created a Faustian deal with a demon during the Salem Witch Trials, but outwitted it. Now the demon, Alastor is out for revenge and is co-inhabiting Prosper's body. Family is out to kill him to get rid of the demon and he has to figure out to get rid of the demon without getting killed.

It's humor, for me, was definitely a strength. It lightened up the horror a bit while engaging the reader. Some of its weaknesses would be that the book's plot takes a bit to set up. I would give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it.

The demons out for revenge definitely put it in the horror category for me. Other horror elements would include the other supernatural, evil elements that pop up through the book. I think it did elicit the scaring the reader element, because it's dealing with the fear of the unknown as well as the devil himself. These elements, for the most part seemed unique to the genre.
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Post by Ashley Simon » 07 Oct 2017, 15:53

Ahh, Girl on the Train was actually my first audiobook - I listened during a 24 hour road trip to Colorado. Don't know if it was the audio that made it even more chilling but I enjoyed it. I thought the movie was pretty spot on, too.

At the moment, I'm reading Zero K by Don Dellilo. It's a psychological thriller set at a secret compound where people can go to die and then volunteer their bodies to be preserved, in the hopes that science will one day bring them back to life. The book is narrated by Jeffrey Lockhart, the son of a billionaire whose wife, Artis, has gone to the compound to volunteer her body. As he watches the events unfold before his eyes, Jeffrey tries to figure out what is going on behind the veil of secrecy that seems to cloak everyone in the compound, and he wrestles with his own conflicting feelings toward the way that death is being controlled.

I'm about halfway through the book, and I'm loving it so far. I'm not usually one for dark thrillers/anything horror, but this book stays away from cheap scare tactics. It's chilling but incredibly thought-provoking.
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Post by jenjayfromSA » 10 Oct 2017, 01:01

Has anyone encountered Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz? It's basically a thriller. Evan was taken as a child by a secret US agency, separated from the world and exhaustively trained to be an assassin by experts in everything from fighting to surviving undercover. His only contact is his trainer Jack, who tries, somewhat against the rules, to keep a spark of humanity alive in the boy. At 18 he is unleashed, very successfully, until he revolts and takes himself off the radar. Then everyone is against him because he knows too much. He uses his skills to help those who cannot help themselves, the poor, desperate and downtrodden. I found Evan a fascinating character psychologically, especially his confusion when he encounters a warm single mother with an enchanting son and little tendrils of humanity start to break through the ice. Of course there is plenty of action, close encounters, lots of detail and a wry humour. There's a sequel, The Nowhere Man.

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Post by gali » 10 Oct 2017, 01:50

jenjayfromSA wrote:Recently I read Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. I've read her Girl On the Train too, but I preferred this one, mostly because the heroine was such a whingy character, hitting the bottle when she couldn't get what she wanted. Into the Water incorporates crime and mystery. Over the centuries, women have drowned in a pool by the old Mill House in a remote English village - drowned as a witch, after killing her husband etc - now two have died within months, a schoolgirl who filled her pockets with stones and walked in. She meant to die, but why? The second is an author who has recorded all the previous drownings. She seems to have jumped from the cliff into the water, but her estranged sister and daughter do not believe it. She had to have been pushed. I enjoyed the gradual build-up of tension as the various threads started to come clear. I loved the characters' motivations and their often traumatic backstories and I particularly enjoyed the stories, apparently written in the first person by the drowned author, about the other women who drowned. Who were they? What were their motivations? You started to feel the attraction of this dark pool and the release or finality it offers. Others suspect a crime, including the young female police officer who recently joined the local station, so there is a crime, investigation element. The end is unexpected, but totally in keeping. Actually, if you consider the suspense, perhaps this should be in the thriller category too!
I started "Girl On the Train" once, but quit it. The second one sounds better. It is on my reading list.

-- October 10th, 2017, 9:51 am --
jenjayfromSA wrote:Has anyone encountered Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz? It's basically a thriller. Evan was taken as a child by a secret US agency, separated from the world and exhaustively trained to be an assassin by experts in everything from fighting to surviving undercover. His only contact is his trainer Jack, who tries, somewhat against the rules, to keep a spark of humanity alive in the boy. At 18 he is unleashed, very successfully, until he revolts and takes himself off the radar. Then everyone is against him because he knows too much. He uses his skills to help those who cannot help themselves, the poor, desperate and downtrodden. I found Evan a fascinating character psychologically, especially his confusion when he encounters a warm single mother with an enchanting son and little tendrils of humanity start to break through the ice. Of course there is plenty of action, close encounters, lots of detail and a wry humour. There's a sequel, The Nowhere Man.
I have read it and loved it. I have also read the sequel and liked it as well.

-- October 10th, 2017, 9:56 am --
Ashley Simon wrote:Ahh, Girl on the Train was actually my first audiobook - I listened during a 24 hour road trip to Colorado. Don't know if it was the audio that made it even more chilling but I enjoyed it. I thought the movie was pretty spot on, too.

At the moment, I'm reading Zero K by Don Dellilo. It's a psychological thriller set at a secret compound where people can go to die and then volunteer their bodies to be preserved, in the hopes that science will one day bring them back to life. The book is narrated by Jeffrey Lockhart, the son of a billionaire whose wife, Artis, has gone to the compound to volunteer her body. As he watches the events unfold before his eyes, Jeffrey tries to figure out what is going on behind the veil of secrecy that seems to cloak everyone in the compound, and he wrestles with his own conflicting feelings toward the way that death is being controlled.

I'm about halfway through the book, and I'm loving it so far. I'm not usually one for dark thrillers/anything horror, but this book stays away from cheap scare tactics. It's chilling but incredibly thought-provoking.
Sounds good! I will add it to my list.
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Post by RegularGuy3 » 10 Oct 2017, 20:33

Maybe it's not the spookiest, but The Girl with All the Gifts has one of the strongest opening scenes I can recall in a book. You should go into it without knowing anything about the book if you can. It's the only free sample that I have ever completed the purchase on.

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Post by jenjayfromSA » 11 Oct 2017, 03:11

Talking of crime, there is a series I love - the Cadfael books by Ellis Peters - about a monk in England around the 1400s who solves crimes with basic forensics, common sense and shrewd observation. He is a delightful, down to earth character. I was fascinated by daily life in those times as well, while kings battled it out - Stephen vs Matilda.

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Post by Steph K » 12 Oct 2017, 12:31

We were talking about Stephen King in another thread, so one of his books is the first I thought of. Mr. Mercedes is about a man who drives a Mercedes into a crowd of people, killing many. The book shows a retired cop and a couple of his friends try to solve the case, but it also delves into the mind of the killer and his point of view. I found that unique. I've only read the first book, but I believe all three books in the Mr. Mercedes trilogy are published now.

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Post by Kat Kennedy » 13 Oct 2017, 17:05

I like to reread Dracula this time of year. I love the original Bram Stocker text and I have lots of the old movies. Edgar Allen Poe is always fun in October, especially The Raven! Those are my two favorites! Oh and Wuthering Heights!
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Post by Gravy » 16 Oct 2017, 00:47

I read Meg by Steve Alten.

I'd say more thriller than horror, but it might stradle the line. Lots of gore in this one (giant shark eating people = well, peices really).
A lot of license was taken, scientifically. I can't imagine a megalodon would even give humans a first look, much less a second. We'd be like cleaner fish to them. :doh:

Still, an interesting take on their possible survival, and fairly good science otherwise, like including the ampullae of Lorenzini.

I rated it a 4, and plan to continue the series.
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Post by MarisaRose » 19 Oct 2017, 06:20

hsimone wrote:Ooo...I read Girl on the Train and fairly enjoyed it, but Into the Water does sound pretty interesting! I love the mystery and kind of attraction to this body of water. I'll have to check this one out!

I recently read In the Woods by Tana French. It definitely falls into the mystery, crime, and thriller genres. After the disappearance of his childhood friends, twenty years later Rob Ryan keeps this part of his life hidden. That is, until the day comes when a dead child is found in the same woods that Rob's childhood friends disappeared into. Could there be a connection? Will he found out the true story of his friends?

Crime - the murder that happened
Mystery - who committed the murder and does it relate to Rob's friends' case?
Thriller - that feeling of excitement of not knowing where the story will go

I would also argue that there is a sense of potential supernatural/horror. The author hints as much a handful of times, but isn't explicit enough to determine if that was the case or not. :scared-ghostface: :?:

I found the book as a whole to be okay. There were so many unanswered questions that it left me frustrated, and from what I can gather the unanswered questions are not referred back to later in the series, which is even more frustrating. I rated it a 2 out of 4 stars.
Hi! I've also read In the Woods and felt much of the same frustration with the ending that you describe. However, I really enjoyed French's writing style, and that (along with some encouragement from a good book friend) led me to read other books in the series (Dublin Murder Squad). I've now read them all, and I have to say, the other books have significantly better endings (they don't lack closure like In the Woods), and the tales French spins are rather intricate and enjoyable! Although you didn't love the first one, I would highly recommend giving the author another shot! Her second book, The Likeness, has a female lead and was by far my favorite. :)

-- 19 Oct 2017, 06:23 --
jenjayfromSA wrote:Talking of crime, there is a series I love - the Cadfael books by Ellis Peters - about a monk in England around the 1400s who solves crimes with basic forensics, common sense and shrewd observation. He is a delightful, down to earth character. I was fascinated by daily life in those times as well, while kings battled it out - Stephen vs Matilda.
Hi! I read all of the Brother Cadfael books a few years back, and I absolutely loved them! I found them to be entertaining but also intelligent, and I loved the setting and that the main character was a monk (very different from the typical 'detective' we find in these types of books). In general, Peter's writing is clever and fun. I highly recommend these books as well! :)
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Post by elivia05 » 16 Jun 2018, 18:58

Everyone keeps mentioning Girl on the Train, and I have never read it. I have to look into this book some more. There are so many great reviews for it, as well.

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