Book Review—Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic Cover

If you’re looking for classic gothic horror that doesn’t shy away from the macabre, you can’t do better than Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. For me, the best ghost stories are those that place the unwitting protagonist in a situation she has no desire to be a part of. In this case, the unlucky girl is Noemí Taboada. She is rich and spoiled, and her chief concern seems to be which party she will attend next. Like the best heroes, though, Noemí is layered. She’s whip-smart, headstrong, and caring. And a little calculating. Her cousin is in trouble somewhere in the countryside, and Noemí’s father wants her to investigate. She agrees, but not before obtaining a quid pro quo. And so, with enough dresses and shoes to weather a trip abroad, she embarks on a lonely journey to High Place.

Sometimes, stories of horror and madness escalate too quickly, subjecting the reader to a dizzying intensity that’s difficult to sustain without resulting in boredom. That’s not the case with this novel. What I loved best about the book is the author’s carefully crafted ascent that, like the town situated below High Place, takes its time. But there’s a dark side to this kind of storytelling; Noemí is on an inexorable path that must deliver her to her final destination. The question, of course, is whether she and her ailing cousin will survive the journey.

When you read Mexican Gothic, fix yourself a nice cup of hot chocolate. Wrap yourself in your favorite blanket and prepare to experience a deliciously original tale—a deathless dream of family gloom.

You can find this review at Goodreads.

Book Description

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.  
 
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
 
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. 
 
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

Where to Buy

Amazon US
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July 2020 Highlights and Book News

Sparklers
Courtesy of Kovis Lo

Greetings! Well, summer is in full swing, and most of us are still sheltering; still wondering if face masks are going to be a permanent thing. I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are well and that you have found ways to be happy in these extraordinary times. Me, I’m still writing. Speaking of which…

Writing

As I mentioned last time, I have finished Book 3 in the Sarah Greene Mysteries series. I sent it off to be copyedited, and I have commissioned the cover. In the meantime, take a look at the title and blurb.

The Blood She Wore

After finding a cursed object in her house, Sarah is driven to solve the mystery of why the town’s founder, John Dos Santos, turned to the demonic. Meanwhile, the streets are plagued by a terrifying wave of violence that includes the ritualistic killing of strangers. As Sarah gets closer to unearthing the truth, she discovers a connection to John that centers around the year 1925. But what is more frightening is the recurring vision of his housekeeper’s ghost covered in blood.

With this book, I have created a trilogy that takes Sarah from discovering a dead girl in a mirror to full-on evil erupting in the town of Dos Santos. It’s a journey that will test Sarah’s faith and take her to the brink. The book is scheduled for publication on November 2, 2020.

As a reminder, for those of you who are Kindle Unlimited subscribers, you can read Book 1 and Book 2 now for free.

Recommended Reading

What Has Mother Done Cover

What Has Mother Done is a first-rate mystery thriller that features lots of twists and turns and wicked humor. You can read my review here.

Tea Anyone Cover

If you’re in the mood for a cozy mystery with time travel, check out Tea, Anyone? by my friend and USA Today bestselling author S. R. Mallery.

Recommended Viewing

For those of you with a Netflix account, take a look at this scary movie, It Comes at Night. I thought the actors were convincing and the writing and directing tight. This film shows you what happens when the line between survival and paranoia is erased.

Stay well. See you next month, when I continue my search for face masks featuring members of The Monkees.

Book Review—What Has Mother Done

What Has Mother Done Cover

I’m just going to come out and say it. Barbara Petty is a little sneaky. When I began reading What Has Mother Done, the author introduced a story that could easily have been a cozy mystery. Sure, right off the bat, there’s a body. But we’ve got a main character who is wicked-funny with her internal thoughts and asides pitted against the proverbial small town where everyone—and I mean everyone—has a secret.

Petty’s Thea Browne is no ingenue, either. She’s a hard-bitten investigative reporter who has been around the block a few times. When we meet her, she faces the bleak prospect of looking after her recently widowed mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. During the investigation, Thea is forced to put up with her best friend, Annie, who has gone a little wonky of late. And she must also deal with her sister, Beryl. Yeah, they don’t get along. As if all that wasn’t enough, let’s throw in some hot flashes.

Yes, the story could have been a perfectly respectable cozy mystery. That is until the body count goes up. What Has Mother Done is a first-rate mystery thriller. The characters are engaging—and often frustrating. As Thea goes about trying to solve the mystery of her stepfather’s untimely death, I found my pulse quickening. If you enjoy smartly written scenes of small-town intrigue, violence, and questionable loyalties, then I suggest you check out this excellent novel.

You can find this review at Goodreads.

Book Description

In a small Midwestern town, on a cold, blustery March day, a man plunges to his death off a high, rocky cliff, setting in motion a string of events that lead to murders and rips open the long-hidden secrets of the town’s most prominent family…

The man is George Prentice, and the woman the police suspect of murdering him is his wife, Daphne. But Daphne has Alzheimer’s and, as she is likely to be incompetent to stand trial, has not been arrested.

Daphne’s daughter, Thea Browne, is a trained investigative reporter, who is furious that the police haven’t bothered to look any further for a culprit other than her mother. She suspects her stepfather made enemies when meddling in local politics and, according to one of his cronies, George wrote a memoir threatening to “blow the lid off this town.”

As Thea follows her own investigation, she discovers a widening circle of suspects, some much closer to home than she expected. Even her best friend from childhood, Annie Biggs, seems to be keeping a deep dark secret that she refuses to share with Thea.

More murders push Thea to the point where protecting her mother forces her to put her own life on the line to track down a diabolical killer.

Where to Buy

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

More Reviews

Did you enjoy this review? Check out my other reviews here.