Book reviews

August Book Reviews: “Trace of Evil” Offers Weird and Haunting Thriller | Opinion

EDITOR’S NOTE: Starting this year, PR book columnist Thomas Grant Bruso is introducing a five-star rating system to provide an “at-a-glance” look at each book.

The dimensions are as follows:

1 star = a snoozer.

2 stars = lukewarm.

3 stars = nice.

4 stars = Excellent.

5 stars = A triumph.

“Trace of Evil” ★ ★ ★ ★

In the first of a gripping new series, Alice Blanchard delivers a well-paced and deliciously disturbing thriller with “Trace of Evil”.

Rookie Detective Natalie Lockhart investigates the brutal and surprising murder of Daisy Buckner, a schoolteacher beloved by many in the small town of Burning Lake, in upstate New York.

The book opens with Natalie having been tasked with finding nine missing transients over the years. Battling the scars of the unsolved murder of her late sister, Natalie sets out to find out what happened to these missing cold cases while attempting to conduct another investigation as chaos erupts over the city’s mysterious past.

Blanchard imbues a disturbing presence throughout the tight-knit community of fleshy figures, all of whom harbor secrets. Witchcraft issues play a big part in the plot, which only adds a textured richness to an already disarming mystery.

“Traces of Evil” is an evocative, mean and haunting cat and mouse game. This hard-to-let thriller promises surprises, scares and lonely satisfaction.

“The damage” ★ ★ ★ ★

A one-night stand turns into a nightmare for the protagonist of Caitlin Wahrer’s impressive debut film, “The Damage”.

An evening of propulsive and nervous lust finds Nick in a hotbed of danger and violence when he is assaulted by a stranger after an impromptu meeting at a local bar. What starts off as a fun, flirtatious evening of chatter between the two men quickly escalates into a whirlwind of confusion.

Nick wakes up in a motel room, sexually assaulted. Embarrassed, hurt and angry, he must face and deal with the difficult question: “How do I tell my family?” “

The moments leading up to Nick’s date are blurry and blended into a skillfully plotted story filled with sentimental characters, told from different perspectives, all shamelessly and terrifyingly real as the story unfolds. story unfolds.

A media circus is developing in the small town of Maine, opposing families and neighbors. But as the testimony unfolds in a public forum, the truth about what really happened that night shines a light on the victim and the perpetrator, changing the trajectory and dynamics of a family that people thought. to know. Wahrer holds a mirror up to our own lives and asks the inevitable question: what would you do?

“The Damage” is a book about redemption, family and the love that binds and separates people – a major and exceptional debut thriller you can’t miss.

“The Drowned Boy” ★ ★ ★ ★

Karin Fossum’s ‘The Drowned Boy’ is reinforced by a compelling story that leads readers down a rabbit hole of hard truths about the dark side of humanity.

Sixteen-month-old Tommy’s body is discovered in a pond near his house in the novel’s opening scene, and Inspector Konrad Sejer and his partner Jacob Skarre work with minimal clues to try to figure it out what happened.

According to the mother’s statement, the child’s parents, Carmen and Nicolai, were at home at the time. She left Tommy alone in the living room, playing with his toys while she worked in the other room. Nicolai was in the basement working and fixing his motorcycles.

Konrad and Skarre find logical the statements of the distressed mother, that her son wandered through the front door of the pond and drowned. She said Tommy had lost his way before, telling police his side of the story during questioning on multiple interviews.

As Konrad meets and interviews family members and friends of the deceased’s relatives, the detective learns that something Carmen acknowledged in her initial statement no longer rings true for him now. The shocking realization changes the direction of the novel’s outcome, and readers will be shocked.

Fossum’s subtle narrative is powerful in its succinct storytelling. Thanks to some good old-fashioned detective work, “The Drowned Boy” is a triumphant, quick-witted puzzle game.

Thomas Grant Bruso is a resident of Plattsburgh who writes fiction and has been an avid reader of genre fiction since childhood. Readers and writers are invited to log on and discuss the books and writing on