|RIP Goal: Peril the First, or four books in total|
My reading (once again) outpaced my reviewing, so not of all these titles have been reviewed, but here's what I'm counting towards this challenge:
The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes: Ooooh boy is this book creepy--in a good way. Mostly. Beukes has taken the traditional serial killer novel and flipped it on its head, this time featuring a serial killer who not only kills girls (whom he dubs "his Shining Girls"), but jumps through time to do it. But his last shining girl, Kirby, lives--making Harper's previously untraceable self just a little more traceable. This is one gutsy novel (both literally and figuratively), and not for the faint of heart, but damn, is it good.
Joyland, by Stephen King: I haven't read much King, but this was another shining example of King's power as a storyteller and crafter of characters. The murder-mystery-cum-haunted-amusement-park tale is just fantastical enough to keep you guessing from start to finish, and a likeable if sometimes thickheaded narrator proves the glue that holds the whole thing together. A must-read for fans of King and those new to his works (like myself). Read my full review of Joyland.
This House is Haunted, by John Boyne: Boyne takes on the classic Victorian ghost tale with This House Is Haunted. Eliza accepts a job as a governess in the country estate, hoping to get away from London after the death of her father, only to find the estate house occupied only by children and a few servants--no parents to speak of. Things only get stranger from there, as Eliza finds herself battling what feels like the house itself. Read my full review of This House Is Haunted.
Bellman & Black, by Diane Setterfield: I'm wild about Setterfield's first book, The Thirteenth Tale, so I'd been counting down the days until I could get my hands on her second novel, Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story. And with a subtitle like that, what could be better for RIP VIII? Unfortunately, this one didn't wow me. Setterfield is clearly an excellent writer, but the story felt dry, bogged down in details, and ultimately not particularly haunted or ghost-like. Maybe this was a case of too-high expectations, but as much as I wanted to love this book, I just couldn't.
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte: I read this with a group of great read-a-longers for Septemb-Eyre, and ended up liking it more than I'd expected to, though I struggled with the middle (and St. John, ugh). This classic isn't known as a ghost story per se, but there's a fair chunk of otherwordliness that keeps things interesting from start to finish, from the Red Room on. Read my wrap-up post on Jane Eyre from the Septemb-Eyre readalong.
Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, edited by Sarah Weinman: Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives is a collection of 14 tales of domestic suspense written from the 1940s to the 1970s. Editor Sarah Weinman argues that these women writers write more than simple police procedurals: they "take a scalpel to contemporary society and slice away until its dark essence reveals itself: the ways in which women continue to be victimized, their misfortunes downplayed by men (and women) who don't believe them, and how they eventually overcome." It's just as compelling as that makes it sound. Read my full review of Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives.