Pet Sematary Book Review

Is Pet Sematary the darkest King novel? King himself thinks so.

It’s been while since I published a book review, and that’s because I don’t have any time to read anymore. I’m getting married in 11 days, so reading has unfortunately taken a back seat, while table plans and favours are all I can think about.

However, about two weeks ago I began Pet Sematary. It took me a while to get into it, but once I reached the halfway mark, I finished the book in two days.

 

Plot Summary

The book is set in Maine, as are most Stephen King books. Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, have moved here with their two children, Ellie and Gage. They very quickly meet their neighbours, Jud and Norma, who live across the very busy road that separates the two houses.

Louis has just begun work as a doctor in the university, attending to students whenever they need medical attention. On the first day of his new job, a student dies from a very severe head injury. Upon dying, the student whispers something about a pet cemetery in Louis’ ear. Louis disregards what he heard as the ramblings of a person on their death bed.

However, Jud takes Louis, Rachel, Ellie, and Gage on a walk at the back of their new house. On this walk, they come across the ‘pet semetary’, a place where children have buried their dead pets for hundreds of years. The cemetery has plenty of DIY’d headstones. Rachel isn’t happy about her children being exposed to death in such a way.

The cemetery is forgotten, until the family cat, Church, is killed by a car on the busy highway outside the house. Jud tells Louis of a place, where the cat can be buried, and Ellie will never know he even died. Jud takes Louis on a dangerous trek through the woods in the middle of the night, taking him past the pet cemetery and to a different place entirely.

The next morning, Louis gets the fright of his life when Church appears, almost his normal self, but with something different about him. Is he a zombie, a figment of imagination, or something creepier? He smells funny, and acts funny, but besides that, he looks just like Church did.

But what would happen if you were to bury a person in the strange land on top of the hill? And what would the repercussions be?

 

Review

Stephen King published Pet Sematary in 1983, but wrote it years earlier and locked it in a drawer, thinking he’d finally pushed the subject matter too far. He believes his scariest novel to be The Shining, but his most disturbing book to be Pet Sematary. 

As I said, it took me a while to settle into this book. It could almost be a short story, that has been elongated and slowed down to fit into a 400-page novel. But once I arrived at the point when Church gets reincarnated, I was hooked.

As King says, the novel is shocking. There are many times when you’re pleading with a certain character not to do what they’re planning on doing. You want everything to go wrong for them so they can’t reach their end goal. I don’t think it’s my favourite King novel, but it’s one I’d definitely read again.

I wouldn’t say I particularly liked any one character. We find out some dark things about Rachel’s past that were unexpected, and acted as a kind of subplot. Louis is a likeable character but his actions make us dislike him. Ellie is the most annoying child you’ll ever meet, but then what 7 year old isn’t annoying? There’s something funny about Jud and Norma too, though it takes a while to work out what this is.

If you’re a fan of The Shining, this is the next read for you.

 

Buy your copy here:

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Other Stephen King book reviews:

The Stand

 

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Book Review: You Can Lead a Horse to Murder

NEW RELEASE….You Can Lead a Horse to Murder

There’s a killer in Sanctuary, and the prime suspect is a horse.

When spirited Ember Burns is led back home to open her own veterinary practice, her first client lands her in the middle of a mystery. It starts as a desire for Ember to clear her name, and turns into a personal entanglement in a rapidly unfolding story of lies and deceit.

The small mountain town of Sanctuary has always had its secrets. Who can be trusted? It’s been ten years since Ember lived there but roots run deep. Discerning friend from foe isn’t an easy task. Relying on her intelligence and instinct, Ember tries to piece the clues together as the town gears up for its centennial celebration.

From the quaint historic shops, to the rugged mountains surrounding them, Ember works to unveil the true culprit before time runs out.

 

Available to buy from……
Amazon.co.uk Paperback

 

Book Review

Ember Burns has returned to her home town following the death of her mother. She’s taken over the only veterinarian centre in the town, and business is booming before she’s even officially opened.

Her first case is that of a distressed horse, but everyone else quickly becomes distressed when they find the body of the farrier in the horse’s stable. At first, the horse is blamed for killing Tom. However, Ember thinks that the test results and Tom’s autopsy don’t quite add up. As she digs deeper, she begins to uncover some secrets that were long buried that puts her own life in danger.

You Can Lead a Horse to Murder was not what I expected based on the title and the cover (I know you shouldn’t judge but….). It was much more of a crime thriller than I expected. You couldn’t trust any characters as lots of them looked suspicious, and had their motives for killing Tom. The horse angle was an interesting one. There is so much money in horse racing, and breeding ex-racehorses. As people begin to get greedy, they all want in on the action, causing crimes to be committed and, in this case, murder.

Ember is a very likeable character, as is her puppy labradoodle, Daenerys. A lot of thought was put into the characters and location as a whole, as Tara Meyers includes the new logo for Ember’s vet business in the book, a small detail that makes the vet centre feel like a real business (you can see the Sanctuary Animal Clinic logo below).

You Can Lead a Horse to Murder was a surprising read, that kept me guessing about ‘whodunnit’ the whole way through. Was it really a horse accident, or is there something deeper lying below? You’ll have to read it to find out!

 

Read an excerpt

About the author
You Can Lead a Horse to Murder author picture

At nineteen, I was recruited into a secret government program, where my memory was erased .. wait — that’s the outline for a potential book. Sorry, my real biography isn’t quite as interesting, but I’ll give it a shot!

I live in the Pacific Northwest, and when I’m not writing, I’m out beach combing with my dogs for sea glass, or hiking in the rugged Cascade Mountains. It’s the perfect backdrop to fuel my creative genius. *rubs hands together evilly*

You’ll find all my adult romantic suspense and cozy mysteries on Amazon under Meyers, and on my OTHER profile (secret identity ;)) Tara Ellis, I keep my middle grade and young adult books. Check them out, You might like those, too!

Find the author on the following sites….Facebook Twitter Goodreads Amazon Author Page

You Can Lead a Horse to Murder, banner of the front cover

 

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Book Review: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

So before you think it, I know, I’m about twenty years late on The Secret History.

My dad came over the other day (who isn’t a big reader) and goes, Oh that’s a good book. If he’s read it, then I’m definitely behind.

The first Donna Tartt novel I read was a few months ago. It was The Little Friend, a book that I’d picked out because of the creepy looking doll on the cover, and the small font—I only read books with small font which is a big hindrance when choosing a book to read.

The Little Friend drew me in because of the cover and the blurb. But I’ve never been so disappointed when reading a book. It took me months, but I was so determined to finish it because I’d already invested so many hours of reading just to make it halfway. I stuck it out, but it went straight in the charity bag (and I rarely throw books out).

I’d heard many good things about The Secret History, so decided to give Tartt another chance. And I am so glad I did.

 

Brief Plot

The Secret History follows a group of six friends, narrated by Richard, who’s one of the six. The group have murdered one of their six, Bunny. This is revealed in the prologue, before the actual book has even started. It starts at the end, and then returns to the beginning, showing us how and why the group ended up killing one of their own. Will Yates, in his review on Oxford Student, claims the novel has been described as a ‘whydunnit’ as opposed to the traditional Poe-sian ‘whodunnit’.

The Secret History is a harrowing tale, and I won’t give away any spoilers. Each member of the group have their problems. Richard, the narrator, is poor and spends much of the book trying to convince the group otherwise.

The rest of the group, Henry, Francis, Camilla, Charles, and Bunny are from extremely privileged backgrounds. Most receive money every month from their parents. They’re all students, studying Classics at Hampden College by their elusive and bizarre professor, Julian. Tartt shows that although the rest are more privileged than Richard, they have as many problems as him. Charles is an alcoholic, Francis is a gay man who struggles to find reciprocated love, Henry is too proud.

And Bunny finds out a secret that he won’t let the others live down. So they decide to shut him up themselves. This is revealed at the beginning. The remainder of the book shows the run up to the murder, and also how they evade being found out by the police, their college and the FBI. It shows how guilt can hammer down on you, force you to do things that you wouldn’t otherwise have considered. Can the group pretend it never happened, or will one of them crack?

 

Analysis

The Secret History was a fabulous novel. At 630 pages it was a long one, but every page was needed. The characters were so deep and…real? Tartt truly captures the feeling that you’ve been let into a huge secret, that you mustn’t tell anyone else. You become the 7th member of the group, experiencing things as they do.

The Greek, Latin, Italian, and French elements that appear in the novel only seem to draw you into a different world that you didn’t know existed.

 

Buy your copy now, with £2 off – only £6.99!

 

Other books like this:

The Little Friend, Donna Tartt

 

Then She Was Gone, Lisa Jewell

 

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Book Review: Last Seen Alive by Claire Douglas

Blurb

SHE CAN RUN

Libby Hall needs to hide, to escape from everything for a while. Which is why the house swap is a godsend. The chance for Libby and her husband Jamie to exchange their tiny Bath flat for a beautiful haven on the wild Cornish coast.

BUT SHE CAN’T HIDE

But before they can begin to heal their fragile marriage, Libby makes some disturbing discoveries about the house. And soon the peace and isolation begin to feel threatening. How alone are they? Why does she feel watched?

BECAUSE SOMEONE KNOWS HER SECRET

What is Jamie hiding? Is Libby being paranoid? And why does the house bring back such terrible memories? Memories Libby’s worked hard to bury. Memories of the night she last saw her best friend alive… and what she did.

Plot

Last Seen Alive is about a young couple, Libby and Jamie, and the struggles they’re going through in life (aren’t we all?). There are aspects of the plot that we’re confused about here. Libby is holding secrets, and there’s mention of something that happened back when she lived in Thailand for a few months.

Libby gets a leaflet through the door from another couple, asking residents to get involved in a house swap. The letter explains that their daughter needs life-changing surgery in the hospital in Bath.

Libby jumps at the chance for a week away in Cornwall, and accepts the offer. Very quickly, their relaxing Cornish holiday starts to go wrong. Jamie is poisoned, some bloodied underwear is found in the garden, and who is the strange man following them around? The house is creepy, just too empty and un-lived in. Everything looks to perfect.

Their trip is cut short, to their relief, and they return to Bath. But their bank accounts have been emptied, other accounts have been opened in Libby’s name, and items start to arrive in the post, including a backpack and a blonde wig. And then they find a dead man in their garden, of which Libby is the ultimate suspect.

Can she convince the police that they’ve been away in Cornwall all week, or is she being framed by someone?

Book Review

I felt like there was a bit of a lull in Last Seen Alive whilst the couple were in Cornwall. My reading of it slowed down, and I couldn’t visualise where it was going.

Until the flashback to Libby’s time in Thailand and OMG COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN FROM THIS POINT. Everything changed, everything started to make sense. So what did happen in Thailand all those years ago, and why is Libby only paying the price for it now?

It’s really hard to write this review without giving away too much about characters that I can’t tell you about (otherwise the plot gets ruined) or about what the hell happens in Thailand. Just trust me, it’s worth buying, the book is good.

I read half of this book in one sitting once I reached the shocking twist that no one saw coming (see Jenny’s review here). I absolutely would love to read some more of Claire Douglas’ books. Last Seen Alive is definitely one for any thriller fans, and will leave you thinking about it for days afterwards.

Grab your copy of Last Seen Alive from Waterstones or read an extract here!

 

Books similar to this one:

Best Day Ever, Kaira Rouda

Then She Was Gone, Lisa Jewell

 

 

Photo header credit: https://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk/

 

Book review of The Stand, Stephen King

It’s Stephen King’s 70th birthday, so what better excuse to post a book review of The Stand, arguably his best book.

This book review of The Stand will demonstrate why it is a must-read, and you’ll be promptly adding it to your Waterstones’ baskets by the time I’m done. It won’t contain any spoilers, for those King fans that haven’t yet attempted this piece of art.

The Stand was first published in 1978 and then re-worked and re-published in 1990 as an uncut edition. And I’m glad King wasn’t too worried about the monstrous size of his novel. It’s a huge one, yet people still read it through to the end, multiple times.

book review of the Stand - front coverGeneral Plot

In The Stand, the ‘villain’ is portrayed as a disease, a sickness, that goes by the name of Captain Trips. King, in the magical way he has, makes us fear this disease so much. It wiped out 99.4% of the population. Seriously, read this book, and try not to flinch when someone sneezes on the bus.

Captain Trips was created accidentally by humans. When the scientists behind it became ill and gradually died, one fled the lab out of fear. He passed Captain Trips on to his wife and child. When the three of them died, they passed it onto the police and coroners, and so the majority of the population was quickly gone.

But something scarier (if that’s possible) emerges from the illness. Randall Flagg is pure evil. He visits the sick, ill, weary, and weak in their dreams, and encourages them to meet him.

But where there is pure evil, there is plain purity, and this comes in the form of Mother Abagail. She’s luring in the good and honest people to create an army that will fight the evil of Flagg.

It becomes obvious very quickly that these groups of people have survived for a reason. Why were they, the remaining 0.6%, immune to Captain Trips when it so violently killed everybody else?

Structure

As with all King novels, there is a whole host of characters, with wives and children, and backgrounds. It takes a while to become confident in who is who, but as always with King, not only does he achieve success with the number of characters, but they’re all incredibly real. You feel sympathy for them, you relate to them, and they’re so three dimensional. I’m yet to experience this with any other writer. You feel as if you have experienced the end of the world with them.

The characters are sort of introduced one by one, and then they gradually meet, until they either pick a ‘side’: that of Mother Abagail, or the evil Flagg.

This is one that needs to be read multiple times. Every time you’ll take something away from this novel that you never noticed within it before. You’ll either love it or hate it. You’ll get 100 pages through or will read all 1300 10 times in your lifetime.

Top Tip: If you don’t think you’ll get through it all, read the cut edition from 1978 first. It’s about 300 pages shorter.

Pick a copy up now for £8.99 at Waterstones

 

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