Book Review: I KNOW EVERYTHING by Matthew Farrell

i know everything

From the publisher:

A psychiatrist grapples with his own sanity as murder evidence mounts against him.

Police investigator Susan Adler is ready to close the book on a deadly car accident, but after the medical examiner discovers evidence of foul play, she knows she has a murder on her hands. The victim was the wealthy wife of Randall Brock, a renowned psychiatrist who treats patients with disturbing, brutal fantasies. And just like that, Susan’s got a suspect.

Randall has a violent past but knows he didn’t kill his wife. In the midst of his crushing grief, Randall receives a visit from a stranger with information to share about his wife’s death. But there’s a catch: in exchange for the stranger’s information, Randall must reveal dark secrets he’s kept hidden for years. As this shady figure applies more pressure and Susan closes in, Randall begins to doubt himself, clinging desperately to the pieces of his sanity.

Revelations and suspicious coincidences send shock waves through the investigation, and circumstances spin out of control. Susan must race to put it all together before it’s too late—before the next murder strikes too close to home.

From me:

I’ve been curious about Matthew Farrell ever since I heard a lot of acclaim for him after the release of his first novel, What Have You Done. Well, one thing I personally haven’t done yet is read that book, but I plan to get to it soon – especially since he impressed me so much here with his second novel, I Know Everything.

I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers and I’m a little picky about them. This makes me sometimes cautious with books by authors that I’ve never read before. If I begin reading it and I start to see plot points or predictable story “twists” that I’ve seen repeatedly in other mysteries/thrillers, I can then quickly become bored and then lose interest in the book and then stop reading it.

There were a couple of times here when I thought those kinds of things were starting to happen and I was afraid the book was beginning to lose me. However…a big “however” here so let’s go with big letters…

HOWEVER, things in the story DID (I really like big letters) quickly turn around and I was given some nice, very unexpected twists and turns that kept me interested in the story throughout the entire book. Actually, “interested” is a bit of an understatement here. I got totally wrapped up in the story and found it to be VERY (there I go again) compelling.

Author Matthew Farrell has a lot of talent as a storyteller. I thoroughly enjoyed reading I Know Everything and I’m definitely interested now in reading more by him.

*This book will be published on August 6, 2019. I received an advanced reading copy of it from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for a fair review.

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Book Review: CLONING ELVIS by Brian David Floyd

cloning elvis better

From the publisher:

Music producer Cameron Ogilvie has hatched his biggest money making scheme ever — he’s going to clone Elvis Presley.

Obtaining a hair follicle of the late King of Rock and Roll, Ogilvie enlists the assistance of ground-breaking geneticist Dr. Victoria Hadley to turn his plan into reality.

But there’s a snag. And it’s a big one. Literally.

The hair Ogilvie bought came from Elvis only two months before the singer’s death in 1977.

Instead of having a clone of the slender, leg shaking, pelvis gyrating, rock and roll rebel of the mid-1950’s, Ogilvie has a clone who’s grossly obese, addicted to prescription drugs, and on the verge of a massive heart attack.

Can Ogilvie and Dr. Hadley convince Elvis to make the major lifestyle changes needed to stay alive?

If so, will Elvis be able to avoid the self-destructive pit falls of fame and fortune this time around?

And does the world of the early 21st century have a place for Elvis Presley 40 years after his demise?

From me:

This book was a very nice surprise. Up until two days ago, I was unfamiliar with both the book and the author, Brian David Floyd. My wife found the book online and thought it would be something I might enjoy, so she bought me a copy of it as a gift.

Well, she proved once again that she knows me PERFECTLY well because I loved this book! As soon as I started reading it, I was hooked.

A plot about cloning Elvis Presley could have easily ended up as an unbelievably ridiculous book in the hands of the wrong writer, but author Brian David Floyd proves here that he was absolutely the right person for the job.

CLONING ELVIS is very well-written and incredibly compelling. Some people might see the plot of this and think it’s some sort of silly comedy, but it’s definitely not. While there are some funny parts in it, this is far more of a serious story. It’s actually very moving in parts.

If you’re a fan of Elvis, I think you’d definitely enjoy this book. However, I don’t think being an Elvis fan is a requirement to enjoy this one. If you’re a reader who enjoys unique and cleverly told stories, you should definitely consider checking this one out. Personally, it’s one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year.

Book Review: THE UNEXPECTED VACATION OF GEORGE THRING by Alastair Puddick

George Thring

From the publisher:

George Thring runs away from home. By accident.

Depressed, lonely and tired of life, George Thring leaves work one night but never makes it home. Before he knows it, he’s driven over 200 miles in the wrong direction and finds himself in a strange little town, in the middle of nowhere, during their annual Elvis Presley appreciation festival.

As he stumbles from one mishap to another, George meets the woman of his dreams, unwittingly aids in a bank robbery and finds himself pursued by both the police and a gang of angry criminals.

With a big life decision to make, and a girl to try and win over, George is given the chance to become the hero he has always wanted to be. But is he brave enough to take it?

From me:

As you can probably guess from the description of this book, this is a very quirky story. Personally, I’m a bit of a quirky person myself, so I tend to enjoy stories that are on the sort of “far out” side, which The Unexpected Vacation of George Thring definitely is.

It’s a clever and unique kind of story. Author Alastair Puddick is a very talented writer. He does something here which I think a lot of writers of humorous stories fail to do: he makes you care about the characters, even when they’re in the middle of ridiculous situations. Humorous novels can sometimes be difficult to read because they often get too silly and then become ludicrous to the point that the plots become very unbelievable and the characters become almost impossible to relate to.

Is this story silly? Yes, absolutely. But it’s not too silly. It’s just the right amount of silly. At least it was for me. Your silliness mileage may vary, of course.

I was very entertained by this novel. However, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I thought it was totally perfect. There were some parts in the book that were a little too repetitive. Also, there were some scenes that went on a little longer than I think they needed to, sometimes to the point that I started to lose interest in what was going on and I then wanted to skip ahead in my reading.

But those kinds of things were very minimal and I happily kept reading. In fact, once I completed the book, I instantly searched for and then purchased the next novel from Alastair Puddick. He has a new fan in me.

If you enjoy quirky and clever stories, I highly recommend The Unexpected Vacation of George Thring to you. It’s a very fun read.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.

Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

darkmatter

Have you ever started reading a book that initially excited you, but then you read a little bit more of it and then you weren’t sure if you liked it enough to continue reading it? That’s how it was for me at first with Dark Matter. But before I go much further here, let me share this blurb of the book from the publisher, so you know a little bit about the story:

Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

Okay, that seriously sounds like a fantastic read, doesn’t it? I was very excited to dive into the book and get totally wrapped up in it. And I did – for a little while. The first couple of chapters had me totally hooked. But then, it started to lose me.

To be honest, I’m still trying to figure out why I began to lose interest in it. The writing was certainly good enough. This is the first Blake Crouch book I’ve read, but I was immediately impressed with his skills as a writer.

I think, though, that the problem was more with me than with the book itself.

I don’t read a lot of sci fi thrillers, so it probably took me a little longer to totally get into the story than it probably would for regular readers of books like this. Some of the more “scientific” parts of the story slowed it down for me towards the beginning and I wasn’t sure if I cared enough to keep reading.

But I did. And I’m very glad that I did. Like I said before, Crouch is a talented writer and storyteller. He made the book very compelling and I eventually grew to care a lot about the characters. Also, the story itself kept getting better and better as it moved forward. In particular, the last hundred or so pages were especially interesting, clever, and exciting.

So, my recommendation is to read this book. Chances are very good that you’ll love it all the way through. However, if you do struggle at all with it, well, don’t give up on it too soon. Stick with it and I bet you’ll like it.

As for me, I ended up liking it a lot. I’ll be reading another Blake Crouch book very, very soon.