Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Reading on a Theme: Serial Killers and the Supernatural

If you are in the mood for something a bit spine-tingling, one of these book may be just the thing. Not only are there killers on the loose but there are also creepy supernatural elements that may help our heroes solve the murder (but not without a great deal of terror) or may be contributing to the body count.

Ghost from Old Hollywood:
Willa is the new girl in Hollywood. Famous Last Words opens as she and her mother move into her new director stepfather's mansion. Willa tries her best to adapt to her new life, but the weirdness that has happened to her on a too-regular basis ever since her father's death only get worse in Hollywood. Then Willa realizes her visions are connected to the Hollywood Killer, a serial killer who reenacts famous movie scenes with his dead victims. Katie Alender really delivers with this book. Willa's interactions with her classmates are just as fantastic as the supernatural elements of the story. The ghost scenes are incredibly chilling. And it all ramps up to a nail-biting conclusion. Review copy from NetGalley.

Something Rotten in Ludlow:
Hannah is haunted by the ghost of her dead best friend, Lillian. Lillian died of anorexia, and she's not always the most pleasant ghost to have around, but Hannah misses her best friend, so she takes what she can get. As if that isn't creepy enough, the town of Ludlow is home to a serial killer who preys on young girls, and Hannah starts seeing their ghosts too. At the same time, Hannah keeps encountering Finny Boone, misunderstood bad boy, and they definitely have some zing between them. Brenna Yovanoff's Paper Valentine is a little bit mystery, a little bit ghost story, and a little bit romance. You don't really know who to trust. The ghosts are creepy. The atmosphere is sticky. And Hannah's voice is really strong.

The Seer:
Abigail Rook is the newest assistant to R.F. Jackaby, a detective of sorts who specializes in odd occurrences. Most think Jackaby's weirdness is barely tolerable, but Abigail left home to seek adventure, so this situation suits her fine. The two are on the trail of a serial killer, who Jackaby is convinced is not human. William Ritter's debut novel, Jackaby, is a lot of fun. Yes, there is a serial killer, but there is also a lot of quirk in this story. Jackaby is incredibly funny in a Sherlock Holmesian kind of way. In other words, he is 100% serious about all the weird things he says and does. Abigail is plucky and loveable. I would really like to read about more of the duo's adventures. I can see them becoming a beloved crime-fighting teams.

The Serial Killer's Son:
Jasper "Jazz" Dent is the son of one of the world's most infamous serial killers. It's not easy to keep on with your life after a childhood like he had. Then another  killer moves into Lobo's Nod, and the signs all point to Jazz's dad or maybe Jazz himself. So Jazz starts to hunt the killer himself. After all, his dad trained him to follow in his footsteps. I may be cheating a bit with this one because there's not too much of the supernatural unless you count the way that Jazz's father seems to speak into Jazz's mind. Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killer is gritty and dark. Maybe too dark for most. Jazz's obsession with whether or not he was like his father got a little repetitive for me, but otherwise this book is griping. Review copy from NetGalley.

When her professor parents take a position in Bristol, Louisiana-native Rory Deveaux starts her senior year at Wexford, a boarding school in London. London is being terrorized by a Jack-the-Ripper copycat. Rory becomes the single eyewitness and one of the few to know about London's secret ghost police. I really enjoyed this book, in part, because Rory is really funny. I actually laughed out loud several times as I was listening to The Name of the Star. (The reader does a nice job with the many different accents, by the way.) Stories like this can get really serious, but Maureen Johnson balances the action, the horror, the intensity, and the everyday perfectly. 

All reviews by JoLee.

1 comment:

  1. Serial killers represent a dual failure - of their own development as full-fledged, productive individuals - and of the culture and society they grow in. Male serial killers are more common than female serial killers.


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