Tomorrow not only begins the countdown to Halloween but also heralds the start of FrightFall, Seasons of Reading's annual salute to scary reading. My list for this challenge is small but sinister sweet in more ways than one:
Our leading lady here for the most part is Merricat Blackwood, an offbeat young girl living with her sister Constance and their wheelchair bound uncle Julian on their gloomy family estate.
The locals avoid contact with them, due to a poisoning incident that claimed several lives including Constance and Merricat's parents. The remaining three seem sadly content with their quiet existence until the arrival of a distant cousin shakes things up and not for the better.
Granted, part of my interest in this story is due to the recent film adaptation(which I have not seen yet) but there's no doubt in my mind that this tale of family ties that bind all too tightly will give me plenty of theater worthy chills right off the page:
Ending off with the first book is weird but worth it to me as this one sets up the reading group in Heaven,Colorado where event planner Amy-Faye Johnson loves sharing detective books with her good friends. Unfortunately, a member of the group, Ivy, dies under unusual circumstances that the police believe to be self inflicted rather than foul play.
Amy-Faye and the rest of the group don't see it that way and wind up taking notes from their favorite authors in order to find out who truly did in their friend. So far, there aren't other titles in the series,which is a shame, as I like to read genre themed books by someone who definitely enjoys genre themes:
Pastry chef sleuth Jules Capshaw can't even go on a simple picnic without stumbling across a dead body or in this case, a skull at the local park. While that find appears to be connected to an unsolved murder from the 1960s, the demise of Jules' grumpy landlord is really too close to home for comfort.
Meanwhile, Jules also has to contend with expanding the family business, dealing with the reality of her mother's new marriage and figuring out her own relationship status with estranged husband Carlos. I'm sure that this will be a delicious treat with mysteries that are not as easy as pie to solve yet sweet to savor:
As he sorts through the few facts clinging to Billy's story, Comoran is also dealing with new challenges in his life such as becoming so well known to the public that it may interfere with his chosen profession.
More importantly, there are personal and professional changes in his relationship with Robin Ellacott, who has an equal share in the business and a special place in his heart. Can the two of them work together in such a highly charged atmosphere or must they part ways on at least one front?
I haven't watched the made for cable TV series that the prior books are based on but I do know that part of the reason that this particular entry is so lengthy is due to the whole Comoran/Robin deal and that's fine with me. Having seen their connection develop over the course of the first three books, it stands to reason that the "will-they-or-won't-they" situation would need to be addressed and this is as good a place to make that turning point as any,in my opinion:
I'm looking forward to starting this spooky reading season off by the morrow and much thanks to Michelle Miller of Seasons of Reading(along with Castle Macabre, which is doing some Halloween themed reading as well) for making this possible.
Best wishes for fun and fearful fictional reading, fellow bookish fiends and just remember, page turning terror is truly in the eye of the beholder: