ALL THESE BODIES
Written by Kendare Blake
Published by Quill Tree Books, September 21, 2021
My star rating – 2 stars
Summer 1958. A gruesome killer plagues the Midwest, leaving behind a trail of bodies completely drained of blood.
Michael Jensen, an aspiring journalist whose father happens to be the town sheriff, never imagined that the Bloodless Murders would come to his backyard. Not until the night the Carlson family was found murdered in their home. Marie Catherine Hale, a diminutive fifteen-year-old, was discovered at the scene—covered in blood. She is the sole suspect in custody.
Michael didn’t think that he would be part of the investigation, but he is pulled in when Marie decides that he is the only one she will confess to. As Marie recounts her version of the story, it falls to Michael to find the truth: What really happened the night that the Carlsons were killed? And how did one girl wind up in the middle of all these bodies?
Oh….. well that was just bad. Sorry but this review is going to be far from positive and I’m not normally that person. I try and find the positive side of things and focus on that, while also explaining why the book didn’t work for me. Sadly, there isn’t anything positive to focus on so it leaves me with a very negative review. Those who love it when the tea spills may enjoy….
So, yeah. This book was terrible. It read like a half written manuscript to be honest. It was as if there were the bones/skeleton of a novel and they hit the “big red publish button” without filling in the meat of the story. The premise is captivating! A serial killer in the 1950’s, victims drained of blood, and a 15 year old girl found at the scene, claiming to be innocent. When she finally decides to tell her story, she refuses to speak to anyone other than 17 year old Michael, the son of the sheriff. Sounded right up my alley! But the execution was lacking.
My main problem with this book was the fact that there were no details or information to speak of and the plot holes were a gaping cavern. We have a girl with a murderous story to tell. She claims that she was with a man (that doesn’t have a name but he totally looks like a movie star…) who killed people, drank their blood, and she was along for the ride. If you were about to be charged with murder that would result in your execution, I would imagine the story would come out as quickly and in as many details so that it would prove your innocence. But no. She was so nonchalant about it all and kept saying that she couldn’t prove it so what’s the point anyway.
It wasn’t even the fact that she didn’t say anything of substance that bothered me though. It was the complete lack of story to go along with it. Their conversations were sometimes only a page or two long and we learned nothing. Then we would just be told that Michael interviewed her daily for a week but we didn’t hear how any of it went. What did they talk about? What did he learn? We never knew. We were just told it happened. When he did finally talk to her on the page, the whole time we were reading jokes about vampires, him asking how she was doing in the jail cell, and her complaining about the fact that he forgot to bring her smokes again.
I get it. I understand what the author was trying to do with this story. I really do. But it fell so flat that I couldn’t trip over it if my life depended on it. So much time was spent following Michael in his life when it should have been focusing on her telling her story. If we got more time with her, explaining her past and explaining the murders, then we would have had more time to understand her and get invested in the murders and more (I wish I could say more but I don’t want to risk spoilers). More pages, more details, ANYTHING! The physiological thriller aspect could have been all consuming if we were granted access to our suspect. We could have been brought into her world and the murders and it could have been deeply terrifying! Were those details kept out because this is a YA novel? Or were they kept out because the author thought that the more we asked questions, the more creeped out we would be (which never works by the way)? I wonder.
Those are only a few small examples of the caping plot holes within the story. I wanted to like this. I really did. But in the end it felt like I had just read a first draft manuscript that was published on accident with no editing at all. I feel terrible for posting such a negative review but I’ve got to be honest! I’m sure there will be people out there that will enjoy this, but I’m not one of them!
Until next time, happy reading!