jack the ripper

Death in Books

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a particular genre with no idea how you ended up there?

Lately that genre for me, in the broadest of terms, is death.

It started out innocently enough. A murder mystery caught my eye at the library and when I discovered it was the 5th book in the series, I decided to give the first book a try. (Well if I’m being perfectly honest, it started with “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn but that scared the crap out of me and gave me nightmares so I needed something infinitely lighter to take its place in my imagination.)

After journeying into the world of the Blackbird sisters (“How to Murder a Millionaire” by Nancy Martin), I quickly discovered that I loved the intrigue of it. This comes from a girl who doesn’t much care for serial cop dramas like CSI or NCIS. I continued to flick through the second novel in rapid pace and soon I decided to dive into something deeper.

I am a relative fan of Koontz, though he is usually too dark for me. I loved his Odd Thomas series and the random books I have read by him over the years. So I gave “The Darkest Evening of the Year” a go. And proceeded to creep myself out. I went back to the Blackbird Sisters for comfort, humor, and drama without as much gore or terror.

Then things got a little steamy (and weird) as I read the first Chrissy McMullen murder mystery book “Unzipped”. A little bit more intense than Martin’s series but nothing I couldn’t handle so I decided to go out on a limb and try another book, this time historical fiction.

The library really does offer a great selection if you know what to look for, and I found Stefan Petrucha’s “Ripper”. As you might guess, the novel focuses on Jack the Ripper, however in this version he has actually escaped London and come to America in disguise. How intriguing! A little bloody, a heart-pounding plot and several disturbing deaths were found in these pages.

After enjoying this book, I stepped into “Horns” by Joe Hill and disturbing took on a whole new meaning, and so did the devil. A brilliantly written work that captured my attention and didn’t let go. Ig was a unique character and his journey was both human and divine. Although the pathway gave me the chills on more than one occasion. At the same time, I also decided it would be a good idea to read “The End Games” by T. Michael Martin and that turned out to be a very poor decision. Not because I disliked the book but because the story of two brothers on the run from the zombie apocalypse made me cringe in several ways, especially when I was reading it home alone at night.

And now I’m onto a whole new realm of death and dismemberment in the form of two different books: “Machine of Death” and “Reviver”. The first is a collection of stories revolving around a machine that can tell you how you will die and the various reactions and interactions that people have to that. It’s humorous in some ways but also quite dark if you really think about it. Not a depressing sort of dark but a make-you-think-about-life kind of dark. I’ve actually been enjoying it but I had to put it down yesterday because it was making me wonder a little too much about my own mortality.

“Reviver” is a work by a new author, Seth Patrick, about two men whose lives revolve around and are mired in death. One is a Reviver who can bring the recently deceased back to life for a brief period to help solve the mystery of their murder or death. And the other is a depressed journalist who discovered the original Reviver who is murdered. So far, it is a little gut-churning for my personal taste but very well written.

What is my recent borderline obsession with death and murder? It makes very little sense to me as I have a very active imagination and can’t even watch scary movies without making myself want to cry (or pee my pants). Don’t get me wrong, I have also enjoyed other works recently but so far it has been a parade of either fantasy or death and I can’t quite figure out why.