This Is My Design: Reviewing Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Hi everyone! I hope you forgive my absences. I am bogged down with academic reading now that (obviously) has to be a priority. Thank you all so much for 400 subscribers! Wow, I still can’t believe any of you are interested in what I have to say. Since I have your attention, I will be giving you my review of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon, which is the novel that first introduced the world to Hannibal Lecter. I am a huge fan of the television show, “Hannibal,” so I had to read one of these novels. Also, since we are creeping towards October, it felt appropriate to do a horror/thriller novel.

Will Graham risked everything in order catch the ingenious and dangerous Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Graham was ready to start a normal life when he was called upon to catch a killer called the Tooth Fairy, who has murdered entire families. In order to find him, Graham must first understand him. Only Hannibal can help him enter the killer’s mind. Will Graham must risk it all, once again, in order to catch this new monster

I had read this novel previously and, upon revisiting it, forgot how genuinely uncomfortable it made me. I mean that in the best way, though. Any good murder mystery novel should give the reader visceral feelings and Harris succeeds at that. Even though Lecter isn’t technically a threat, he still looms over every page of this novel. It feels as though we are watching Will Graham outrun him while still trying to catch the “Tooth Fairy.” Graham and the other “good guys” are relatable and sympathetic while still being morally grey. The novel is wonderfully suspenseful. It is not afraid to reveal the gruesome details. Even in a clinical language, the descriptions of the crimes still give you chills. The cat-and-mouse game keeps you hanging on until the end. I would then recommend Red Dragon as a good fall read for anyone looking for a thrilling and complex mystery.

If you want me to talk more about “Hannibal,” the television show, I will happily create a post about that where we can have a discussion.

We Never Stop Burning: Reviewing Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Hello everyone. As I am soon heading back to college, I am using as much time as I have left to do some leisure reading. This particular novel as been on my TBR list for a while now and I even managed to get a signed copy. I’ve become more of a Krysten Ritter fan after watching Marvel’s Jessica Jones, which I highly recommend. Celebrity written books tend to be looked down upon as they are either hit-or-miss unless it’s an autobiography of some kind but I let my bias for Ms. Ritter guide me to this novel. So, I will now tell you about her debut novel, Bonfire. 

Environmental lawyer Abby Williams had spent a decade trying to escape from her small town and reestablish herself. She is forced to confront the past when a case involving a big company, Optimal Plastics, takes her right back to where she came from. The case becomes deeper and stranger when Abby finds a connection to the disappearance of her former best friend, Kaycee Mitchell. Abby finds her self struggling to keep her mind together as she is sucked back into her not-so-quiet hometown. With the weight a conspiracy on her shoulders, Abby Williams must solve these seemingly serrate mysteries in order to fix her small town.

You all know at this point that I’m a sucker for a good mystery novel and Bonfire definitely fulfilled this. Ritter’s prose is realistic and vivid with hints of snark and sentiment. The way that all of the mysteries tie together is satisfying, as well as how the main character’s arc is completed. Ritter doesn’t hold back on the emotional side of this story but balances it out with the technical, legal aspect. Sometimes the conversations of legal jargon can weigh the story down but it’s not enough to throw off the pacing of the story. Some of the side characters were a little flat but, again, it didn’t throw off the story. If you are a fan of Gillian Flynn or Paula Hawkins, then I definitely recommend Bonfire for you. Krysten Ritter’s literary debut is a strong one with plenty of twists, turns, and suspense that will keep any mystery novel-lover turning the pages.

Very Few of Us are What We Seem: Reviewing Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Hi everyone. I am back and I’m going to give you my first book review of 2018. The only benefit of the freezing cold weather is it gives me more motivation to read. I have mentioned in the past that I am a big fan of mystery novels so I was very excited to read my first Agatha Christie novel. This one seemed appropriate as a movie adaptation came out last month/year. Anyways, before I ramble on, I will give you my thoughts on Murder on the Orient Express  by Agatha Christie.

The famous Orient Express was making its usually journey when it is stopped by a snowdrift. In the morning, one of its passengers, the millionaire Edward Ratchett is found dead with over a dozen stab wounds. Detective Hercule Poirot must take matters into his own hands as he tries to uncover which of the other passengers in the murderer. Surrounded by Ratchett’s enemies, Poirot must work quickly before the murderer takes another victim on the Orient Express.

Being that this is my first Christie novel, I was not entirely sure what to expect. Now, that I have read it I must say that I enjoyed this a lot more than other mystery novels I have read. The pacing of the novel was steady and rarely stopped for anything other than the main plot. This focus is beautifully woven into the character of Poirot, who was refreshing to read compared to more fast-thinking or gritty fictional detectives. As a reader, I felt that it gave me an opportunity to “solve” the crime myself. It reminded me a lot of a giant riddle but I enjoyed that aspect as I love solving complicated riddles and puzzles. I didn’t feel as though I was just waiting to the end for the conclusion but that I was able to come up with at least part of the conclusion myself. (No spoilers, I promise.) In the end, I really enjoyed Murder on the Orient Express and I will definitely pick up another Christie novel in the future.

Note: There is a really good Doctor Who episode about Agatha Christie that I recommend you watch.

Current Favorites: Podcast Edition

Hello All! I had some time this weekend in between studying and reading to share with you all some of my favorite podcasts. I’m a little bit of a podcast junkie so I hope to introduce some podcasts for those who are interested and those who already love podcasts. These aren’t any particular genre or style. These podcasts are simply ones that I love to listen to.

Welcome to Night Vale – This is probably the most well-known current podcast. Set in the mysterious and weird desert town, Welcome to Night Vale is the local radio show hosted by the enigmatic Cecil Baldwin. The story is perfectly bizarre and profound. This podcast also showcases indie artists as part of the “weather report.” It may not make sense right now, but you will be sucked into the abyss once you give this podcast a listen.

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The Nerdist – Chris Hardwick hosts this interview series where he sits down with celebrities from all over the entertainment industry and they talk about everything. Hardwick manages to make an interview sound more like a fun conversation between friends (who just happen to be A-list celebrities).

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Ear Biscuits – If you are a fan of YouTube then you have probably heard of Rhett and Link, the hosts of Good Mythical Morning. In this podcast, they sit down and talk about everything from conspiracies, to being cool, and even vasectomies. It’s a humorous and enjoyable listen for anyone looking for comedy.

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How Did This Get Made? – Did you ever want to know how some of the most terrible movies to grace cinema were made? This podcast is for you. Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas sit down with celebrity guests to review and dissect the bizarre, the humorously bad, and the poorly acted. This podcast is perfect for movie buffs.

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Lore – For fans of creepy history and urban legends, I present to you this particular podcast. The narrator (with a soothing voice, I might add) doesn’t look to spook but to merely explore these dark and gruesome parts of history. This podcast is great for the fall season.

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The NoSleep Podcast – In the same vein as Lore, this podcast incorporates various narrators to read submitted scary stories. It is not for the faint of heart but horror fans are sure to love this one to.

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Stuff You Missed in History Class – Time to give one for the history buffs. This podcast explores the lesser known figures of history who deserve recognition and lesser known historical events. The hosts do put an emphasis on women who have been disregarded by history, which I feel we can appreciate now. This podcast is informative and will keep you wanting to learn more.

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The Writers Panel – I have a feeling a lot of you will be interested in this one. This podcast is a series of panels where writers from across entertainment discuss their craft. They do not limit it to just novelists but they interview screen writers, non-fiction writers, comic writers, and many more. Any writer is sure to be enamored with this podcast.

the writers panel

Stuff You Should Know – Have you ever wondered how the CIA works? Why do people stutter? What about fever dreams? This podcast covers a whole variety of diverse topics as the hosts delve into explaining how everything works. The never-ending topics will keep you saying, “Wow, I didn’t know that!”

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Small Town Murder – Dark comedy is not meant for everyone but if you do have a slightly twisted sense of humor, then I recommend this one. Two comedians explore some of the strangest murders to happen in middle of nowhere-type places. The hosts keep a sense of levity while still providing an informative look at some graphic crimes. It sounds a little weird when I explain it but once you listen to it, you will understand what I mean.

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This is my list for now. I will put out a part two once I listen to a few more podcasts. I hope you listen to these because I would love to discuss these with my followers. Let me know what you think and thank you for reading this.