If you "suffer" from a love of cemeteries, there's a word to describe your condition: taphophilia. When a friend recently sent me a link to this great post, "6 Ways for Writers to Find Inspiration in a Graveyard," I was grateful. I love visiting cemeteries and graveyards and don't hesitate to admit it.
One of the most interesting things I've learned lately about gravestones, particularly those in Victorian times, is the symbolism that the stones featured. It's almost like a secret code. I appreciate how cool Victorians were in their interest in the deeper meaning of things. Flowers, for instance, had their own secret languages. So did color in dress...
But getting back to symbols on gravestones, here are some of the more popular symbols. Did you know that a broken column meant a life cut short? Or that a circle represented eternity while a broken flower indicated a sudden death? Ivy symbolized the memories of the deceased that would remain evergreen, while a bird in flight symbolized a spirit going toward heaven. One flying down meant being "with the Holy Spirit." In ancient Egyptian times, a serpent represented life and health. You can learn more about the symbols on gravestones on the BBC website or this blog, Cemetery Travels.
I have to admit something here and now: I wanted to like this book. I read another book by Jenny Milchman, Cover of Snow, and really enjoyed it. I was honored to share space over at Kingdom Mysteries with Ms. Milchman recently. And I love, love, love suspense novels set in the great outdoors. This one, Wicked River, combines two of my passions: suspense and survival stories in one.
So what were my thoughts on this novel, set in the neighboring New York state? I loved it!
Not only did Ms. Milchman deliver a well-thought out story full of twists and (sometimes very) unexpected turns, but she also had a cast of really interesting and well-developed characters. The suspense was taut. The action was prevalent. And there was ample opportunity for the reader to wonder, "what ELSE can possibly go wrong?" just before the bottom fell out...again.
Want to learn more? Here's a description of Wicked River from the author's website:
"Six million acres of Adirondack forest separate Natalie and Doug Larson from civilization. For the newlyweds, an isolated, back country honeymoon seems ideal: a chance to start their lives together with an adventure, on their own. But just as Natalie and Doug begin to explore the dark interiors of their own hearts, as well as the depths of their love for each other, it becomes clear that they are not alone in the woods.
Because six million acres makes it easy for the wicked to hide. And even easier for someone to go missing for good."
Highly recommend this great book, Wicked River, which you can find via the usual online shopping channels, your local library or your favorite indie bookstore. Enjoy!
Exciting news! A handful readers will have the opportunity to read, Let the Dead Rest, before it's release date on 8/17/18.
Want to enter to win a spot on the Early Review Team? Just click the link and enter your email address. We'll let you know soon if you were selected or not. Thanks for your interest in J.P. Choquette's newest novel.
Today marks the official half-year mark. I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the best suspense books I've read so far in 2018. Plus, I'm sharing a look at a suspense novel I can't wait to get my sweaty little hands on!
I'm not much for cozy mysteries, I tend to like things a little darker and grittier. And while Mister Mottley Gets His Man isn't entirely cozy, it is a fun read--definitely more on the light-hearted side. It was also one of my favorite reads so far this year.
The author, Ellen Seltz, does a brilliant job of keeping everything perfectly balanced. Like a just-right meal, the book has a lot of action, humor, extremely fun characters with lots of quirks, and a rollicking "who dunnit" mystery that I couldn't solve. Plus, since Ms. Seltz has a background in the film/theater industry, the book reads like a movie script (in a good way). Thoroughly enjoyed.
The Bullet, is a novel of suspense and intrigue. It's written by a VPR commentator, Mary Louise Kelly. It was eerie and fast-paced. The storyline follows a young college professor who discovers she has a bullet lodged in the base of her neck. She has no idea how it got there.
From that MRI, the young woman's perfect life starts to crumble around her. The harder she looks for answers, the more frightening her situation becomes. Excellent read! I look forward to more by this talented author.
I so enjoyed this quick read, The Yellow Room, by vintage author, Mary Roberts Rinehart. I can't believe that it's taken me so long to read one of this legend's books. Wasn't she named the "Queen of Suspense," before Mary Higgins Clark took over the title?
This was a great, gothic suspense story and had just enough spine-tingles to keep you flipping pages. Also loved the time period it was set in (1940s).
Listen to this opening paragraph:
"As she sat in the train that June morning Carol Spencer did not look like a young woman facing anything unusual. She looked merely like an attractive, and highly finished product of New York City, who was about to park her mother with her elder sister in Newport for a week or two, and who after said parking would then proceed to Maine, there to open a house which she never wanted to see again."
Already there are questions to be answered. Why doesn't Carol want to see the house again? If she doesn't, why is she opening it? What unusual thing is she facing? Love the hook.
All right, I admit it: I'm cheating here a little. This miniseries, And Then There Were None, based on the novel by the same name by Dame Agatha Christie, was a must-watch for me. In fact, it had been on my wishlist on Amazon for more than a year!
While the script deviates in some ways from the original book (one of my very favorite of Christie's novels), it was similar enough in the most important ways. The director did a great job of climax and tension, and the house and setting were completely atmospheric and just creepy enough to be delicious.
And a suspense book I'm looking forward to reading...
I am so, SO looking forward to reading this new thriller/suspense by Jenny Milchman. I recently learned about it's release from writer/book reviewer, Beth Kanell, who maintains an excellent site, Kingdom Books, that you should visit. Ms. Milchman and I were featured in the same post--her for this book and me for Shadow in the Woods.
Welcome to the website of author J.P. Choquette (pronounced, "show-kett"). Join the Reader Group and nab a free short story, along with the latest news, goodies, upcoming event announcements and more.
Already read a book? Have you checked out her other suspense novels?