Tag Archives: Suspense

Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay

Growing Things and Other Stories is the eighth book published by Paul Tremblay, winner of the Bram Stoker, British Fantasy, and Massachusetts Book awards.  Growing Things is a page-turning collection of nineteen short stories with strong character development and psychological suspense. Tremblay is acclaimed for his previous work, the bestselling The Cabin at the End of the World.

While all the stories are new, some blend past moments or use characters from Tremblay’s previous works with the current tale. I identified with several of the protagonists throughout. The piece which I enjoyed most is called “Her Red Right Hand,” which pays homage to popular comic book and movie character Hellboy. At the end of the collection, he has a list of notes discussing the thought process coming up with each story. 

This particular book reminds me of Stephen King‘s works with a little more thought-provoking “what if” scenarios. I appreciate how Tremblay makes me want to read more and more until no end. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a good read during the fall season, specifically Halloween or Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). 

Tremblay has just released his latest novel, a tale about a rapidly-spreading disease, called Survivor Song, which seems eerily on point for the current pandemic. It was released on July 7, 2020.

For similar reads, I suggest the following titles:
Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
Full Throttle by Joe Hill

Review by Micah, St Matthews Branch

Editor’s Note: We have a review of Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts by Calliope Woods.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

The pool has been a place where many women have spent the last minutes of their life, whether by suicide or by force; maybe even murder. Nel Abbott tries in vain to reach out to her little sister, who ignores her until she receives a call that Nel is dead.

When Jules Abbott receives news that her older sister, Nel, has been found in the drowning pool, she drives back to the town that she had vowed never to return to. With Nel’s fifteen year old daughter, Lena, who believes that her mother has committed suicide and a town that she vowed to never return to, Jules is forced to relieve experiences that she’d rather forget. Lena is angry with her aunt for ignoring her mother for so long and doesn’t even want her around.

 

I picked up this book because Paula Hawkin’s last title, The Girl On the Train, was intriguing to me. Into the Water was fine. It’s very hard to follow a blockbuster like Girl, which had national success. It reminded me of when I rushed to read Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger after the huge success of The Time Traveler’s Wife. I was very disappointed. I felt like the author built you up so high and then left you there to dangle without ever knowing if you would sink or float.

I will not say that the book didn’t have its moments but it’s so hard to get invested in characters that you don’t even like. For argument’s sake, you can say that the title is intriguing, and it is, but…it was all over the place. There were too many characters to count. There were too many back stories to remember. There were too many time hops and not enough real story. To top it all off, the ending felt almost like an afterthought.

I really suggest that you check it out and prove me wrong. Maybe I missed something. Let me know your thoughts. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it more than I did.

– Reviewed by Damera, Newburg Branch

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

 

For all the troublesome women out there…

Danielle Abbott has always been obsessed with the Drowning Pool. An area of her town’s river that has taken numerous women’s lives, including now, her own. Was it an accident? Suicide? Or something more?

Danielle had many enemies and she has left behind an angry teenage daughter who is harboring dark secrets from her best friend’s earlier drowning. Hawkins weaves together the secrets of the town and deaths as each chapter takes the voice of a different character and their viewpoint and involvement. Into the Water had me hypnotized and kept me guessing until the very end and even then I didn’t get it right! Hawkins is quickly becoming a master of psychological suspense.

I felt notes of magical realism peppered throughout the mystery. The way the Drowning Pool pulls you in and swept away so many women’s lives is eerie and otherworldly. Hawkins is particularly adept at capturing the way the past holds on to us and just how deceiving and destructive memories can be.

Just as addicting as Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins has a diehard fan in this librarian.

Review by Heather, St. Matthews