Review: Eye of the Ouroboros by Megan Bontrager

Eye of the OuroborosEye of the Ouroboros by Megan Bontrager
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**


Eye of the Ouroboros is one of those rare books that I picked up on a whim. I knew nothing about it, had heard no buzz, but did notice it on a graphic of April 2024 Horror releases.

There was just something about the cover that called to me and then the title, I was intrigued by that as well.

We follow Theodora Buchanan, who goes by Theo. She’s a park ranger for NPS. More specifically, she’s part of the Search and Rescue team and patrols the forests surrounding her hometown of Mill Creek, West Virginia.

No one knows these woods like Theo. She’s been searching them most of her life, looking for her little sister, Flora, who went missing years ago.

The Buchanan family has never received answers on what happened to Flora, and Theo, who was watching her on the day she disappeared, has been riddled with guilt ever since.

While she has been able to maintain her job, the rest of Theo’s life is a bit of a mess. She’s numbed her pain with alcohol for way too long to be healthy and everything just seems completely out of control.

At the beginning of the book, we follow along with Theo as she searches for a little girl, who went missing while camping with her family. Of course, on every search Theo is also looking for clues as to what happened to Flora.

After the girl is found, some evidence pops up in the aftermath that leads you to believe, these aren’t regular woods. There’s something much deeper and more mysterious here than in your average mountain range.

This had such an intriguing start, by 10%, I was hooked. Theo was someone I wanted to learn everything about. I’ve mentioned before that I’m sort of a sucker for MCs that drink too much, and Theo definitely fits that bill.

Her family dynamics, following the disappearance of her sister, they’re an absolute disaster. I really felt for her, as I felt like if her parents had handled it differently, perhaps Theo could have dealt with it better herself, instead of letting it overtake her life.

After Theo starts noticing really strange things in the woods, she begins going in more and more. It’s like when you think you see something, but you’re not sure if it was real, and you try to recreate what you were doing at the time to see if it will happen again.

This whole aspect, I was so into it. I needed to know if those things were real as well. I felt like I was investigating right alongside her and it was creeping me out.

The vibes of this made me think of T. Kingfisher’s The Hollow Places, which I loved. If you were a fan of that, I feel like this one could really work for you as well.

It definitely takes some unexpected turns, and I adored the characters that are introduced to help Theo in her investigation. Eventually it turns into a kind of Found Family situation, with Theo’s best friend, her ex-girlfriend, and a high profile conspiracy theorist, all joining in the fun.

Part The Gunslinger, part Men in Black, the concluding portions of this book had me flipping pages so fast, I’m surprised my fingers didn’t catch on fire.

Oh, and the baddie in this, Sator, I was totally picturing Agent Smith from The Matrix for him. Every scene he was in, Agent Smith was in my head. Sator was really well done, a super convincing antagonist.

Overall, for a book I picked up on a whim, this couldn’t have gone better. It was SO WEIRD and SO GOOD.

Never in a million years would I have guessed how swept up into this I would become. It may have thrown off my monthly TBR, but I regret nothing.

A Portal Fantasy Horror story with fantastic characters, gripping action, believable baddies and emotions to boot! I’m so glad I took a chance on this one.

Thank you to the publisher, Quill & Crow Publishing, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I will definitely be picking up more from this author!

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Review: Bless Your Heart (Bless Your Heart #1) by Lindy Ryan

Bless Your HeartBless Your Heart by Lindy Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Bless Your Heart is a Cozy Mystery-meets-Horror novel that I never knew I needed!

This was so stinking cute. My Horror Heart adored it. It was way more graphic than I expected and I loved the small town Southern vibes. Bonus: it’s 1999!

Set in Southeast Texas, this story focuses on the Evans women, who are the owner/operators of Evans Funeral Parlor. Their small town has a bit of a history with the dead becoming restless and the Evans are well-versed in making sure they meet their final rest.

The town has spent the last 15-years in peaceful normalcy. That’s a pretty long stretch, and it’s about to end.

When the town gossip, Mina Jean Murphy’s, body is brought to the Evans for a regular burial, yet she rises from the dead instead, it’s clear that the Strigoi problem is back.

We then follow along, both with the Evans women, and with a local Deputy, Roger Taylor, as they try to figure out what has caused this recent unrest, and as they try to stop it.

This was so fun. The small town vibes, family dynamics and the horror elements, were all very well done.

I was actually surprised at how graphic some of the darker scenes actually were. It was great, just the dichotomy between the cozy and the dark. I loved that part.

It was giving me Sunnydale, but the Texas version, and it was giving me The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, mixed with a touch of Designing Women. I was here for every minute of it.

I listened to the audiobook and absolutely recommend that format if it’s an option for you. The narration style of Stephanie Nemeth-Parker fits the overall story so well.

For me, the only critique is that I wanted a bit more of the mystery. I wanted more substance, more suspense, but I am hoping as the series continues the balance between the other elements and the mystery will balance out.

Speaking of ‘the series’, I’m so happy to learn this is going to be a series. I feel like the more time we get to spend with the Evans, the more attached to them we’ll become and the more we’ll see them grow and change.

I’m particularly interested in Luna, as she’s the youngest, so it’ll be interesting to watch her learn about their powers and responsibility and see how she is going to use it.

If you are someone who enjoys Horror, but also love Cozy Mysteries ((like me)), you have to check this one out. I don’t think I’ve ever really read anything like it and I’m definitely looking forward to more in this charming Southern setting.

Thank you to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Lindy Ryan, you’ve impressed me. I can’t wait for more!

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Review: Village in the Dark (Cara Kennedy #2) by Iris Yamashita

Village in the Dark (Cara Kennedy, #2)Village in the Dark by Iris Yamashita
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Village in the Dark is the 2nd-book in the Cara Kennedy mystery series. Let it be known right outta the gate that I haven’t read the 1st-book yet.

That’s right, I’m picking them up out of order…

I know some of you may disagree with my pattern for doing this, but with Adult Mystery series, I sort of just pick up the ones that sound like they have the most intriguing mystery elements. Then if I really enjoy the characters and setting, I’ll go back and read the prior books.

I’m happy to report that I would love to go back and read the 1st-book, and any others that happen to come after this. I had fun with the mystery and did become attached to Cara and her intriguing personal story.

In this story, we do follow Cara Kennedy, who is a Detective in Anchorage, Alaska. We learn at the start that Cara is grieving the fairly recent loss of her husband, Aaron, and their young son, Dylan.

The boys went out on a camping trip and never returned. Their bodies were later found at the bottom of a cliff. It was believed an accident, but new evidence points to foul play.

Cara is devastated. She was upset enough believing they accidentally met their demise, but to learn someone else actually took them from her. She needs to find the truth.

We also get the perspectives of two other women related to the crime. It’s unclear for a good portion of the story how everything fits together, but as the pieces started to fall into place, that’s when it really picked up for me.

I loved the setting. There’s something about mysteries set in Alaska that just feel more dangerous and intriguing to me. The harsh landscape, the remote areas, it pushes the tension levels in really pleasing ways.

I definitely enjoyed Cara’s perspective the most out of the three, but I did enjoy how the three came together and I think overall, it was well-executed.

As mentioned above, I would absolutely pick up any more books in this series that are released. I do plan to go back and read the 1st-book, City Under One Roof, soon. I am interested to see if Cara’s husband and son are in that book, and if so, what those relationships were like.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Adult Mystery series following Detective protagonists. Bonus points if you enjoy mysteries set in remote areas such as Alaska. I really enjoyed learning about Cara’s community and the surrounding areas; very interesting.

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I’m excited to have a new Detective to follow!

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Review: The Break-Up Pact by Emma Lord

The Break-Up Pact: A NovelThe Break-Up Pact: A Novel by Emma Lord
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Break-Up Pact is Emma Lord’s upcoming release and one I was so excited for. Set to hit shelves in August 2024, this is also Lord’s Adult Romance debut.

In this story, we follow June and Levi, who were best friends as teenagers. A misunderstanding just prior to Levi departing for college, resulted in a falling out, and the two have essentially lost touch ever since. Now as adults, they’ve both returned to their hometown of Benson Beach.

June is struggling to maintain the beach-side tea shop opened by her sister. She also has just had a very embarrassing, very public break-up, resulting in her being dubbed ‘the crying girl’ on social media. Humiliating!

Levi has returned to town after an equally public break-up, wherein his long-time girlfriend left him for a celebrity. Everyone is talking about it. Trying to escape the limelight for a while, Levi flees NYC and returns to Benson Beach, where he can focus more on his writing.

As Levi and June come back into each other’s orbit, they begin talking and catching-up. After a picture of them caught in a very suggestive position goes viral, they decide to go along with the charade and pretend to be a couple.

If it’s drama and intrigue the people want, it’s drama and intrigue they shall get. The bonus being extra business for June’s shop and both of their ex’s getting jealous.

I love a fake-dating trope and I thought it was well-executed here. Both June and Levi were compelling characters and I enjoyed learning about their past history, as well as watching them learn about each other all over again.

They are both dealing with some fairly serious adult issues, with their careers and their recent break-ups, and the examination of those things does take up a good portion of the narrative. Because of that, this has a much more serious tone than Lord’s previous works, IMO, but it makes sense.

In an adult world, adult things happen. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Businesses end up in trouble. You end up in a career you aren’t passionate about. You worry you wasted time with someone who was never going to be the one for you. You worry that you are never going to find the place you really belong. You lose friends, you lose loved ones; these are all things that most of us can relate to…

My concern for this novel is that people will go in expecting a super punchy, witty, fun Rom-Com and they’ll be surprised by the more serious tone; maybe causing them to not rate it as highly.

I would pick this up expecting an Adult Contemporary with a convincing fake-dating trope. It’s not all giggle and laughs and swooning; although there is some of that too.

In my eyes, this is a successful transition into the Adult space for Lord. I thought the characters were very well-developed and it did fill my heart watching the evolution of their relationship. I feel like as far as couples go, Levi and June are perfectly matched.

I did enjoy how this was paced. I thought it had a fun introductory section and then it slows down a bit as we get into the meat of their relationship. As the fake dates begin, it does pick up again and then as we get closer to conclusion, it speeds along at a great pace.

In addition to the likeable main characters, I loved the side characters in this as well. June’s best friend, who helps the couple with their plot, and June’s brother and his fiance, all had fun-loving, supportive roles, that truly added to the feel of the narrative.

Overall, I think this is a very solid, heart-warming story. I enjoyed going on this journey with both of these characters as they found themselves, and each other at the same time.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I adore Emma Lord and will continue to pick up everything she writes.

This was super cute and I’m proud of her for branching out into the Adult Contemporary space. Well done!!

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Review: The Vacancy in Room 10 by Seraphina Nova Glass

The Vacancy in Room 10The Vacancy in Room 10 by Seraphina Nova Glass
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

The Vacancy in Room 10 is the latest from Seraphina Nova Glass, a Mystery/Thriller writer who has definitely become one of my go-to authors over the past couple of years.

The first time I picked this up, it was in the morning before work. I have about 35-minutes each morning, before I start my real day, where I sit and read and drink coffee. It’s my me-time, Monday through Friday.

I read the first few chapters of this in one of those moments and knew it was something I would want to binge. I put it down and patiently waited for the weekend to arrive…

I picked it up again on Saturday morning and didn’t stop until it was done. This was fully-immersive and engaging, the day flew by. It was seriously so fun!

In this story, we follow two MCs, Anna and Cass. Anna’s husband, Henry, an artist, dies at the beginning of the story, tragically and unexpectedly. He phoned Anna just prior to his death, saying some cryptic things she didn’t understand.

In the wake of his death, Anna begins to dig into the parts of his life from which she was excluded, like the apartment he rented at The Sycamores, a dilapidated repurposed-motel. He claimed to be using the space as an art studio.

Cass is the property manager-handyma’am at The Sycamores. Cass is only there following a total upheaval of her regular life, where her long-time partner left her for a much younger woman. It was a very public, very messy break-up, that has severed all Cass’s previous ties.

Cass is at rock bottom now, as are some of the other residents at The Sycamores. It’s a colorful place. The long-time residents have formed a bit of a dysfunctional found family that was fascinating to read about.

Anna decides to move into Henry’s studio to immerse herself in that side of his life. She figures she can question the people there and find out if they know anything that could help her make sense of what happened to Henry.

As the Reader, you follow along with these two women as they try to put the pieces of their shattered lives back together, find peace and maybe return to some normalcy.

The alternating perspectives kept this one moving along at a nice steady clip. I found both Cass and Anna’s perspectives so interesting, but I will admit to favoring Cass. I just loved her way of navigating everything she was going through. I found her dry humor relatable and endearing.

There were so many twists and turns throughout this story. SNG definitely had some tricks up her sleeve with this one. It went in directions I wasn’t expecting and kept me guessing in an entertaining way.

I also loved the feelings I had while reading this. I found myself really connecting with the vibe of The Sycamores and the way that many of residents interacted with one another. That found family feel was oozing off every page and it took me by surprise.

I was rooting for these characters. I wanted them to be able to move forward from the things that had happened to them and going along with them on their journeys was as captivating as the mystery elements.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a well-rounded Mystery/Thriller, with captivating characters and strong levels of suspense. This will be a memorable one for me. I’m just so pleased.

Thank you to the publisher, Graydon House, for providing me with a copy to read and review. For me, this was the best I have read from this author. She slayed it!

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Review: Cursed Cruise (Horror Hotel #2) by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren

Cursed CruiseCursed Cruise by Victoria Fulton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Cursed Cruise, by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren, is the second book in the Horror Hotel series. These books follow a group of teen ghost hunters, Chrissy, Chase, Emma and Kiki, who have their own YouTube show.

In the first book, which I haven’t read yet, the teens stay at a haunted hotel in L.A., that I am imagining to be like the Cecil Hotel. The events of that book are referred to here, but I don’t feel you need to read that one first. I didn’t and don’t feel my enjoyment of this was impeded at all.

However, I will say, after reading this, I definitely want to go back and read that one now. It sounds like it was intense, and I think the setting of the hotel would be really fun.

In this one, the teens get invited on the first voyage of a recently recommissioned cruise ship, the RMS Queen Ann, which gave me total QE2 vibes. I’ve read mysteries set on the QE2 and really enjoyed them, so was excited to see something similar in a Teen Horror novel.

The ship has a dark history, with many deaths and dark happenings occurring aboard over the years. It’s assumed to now be haunted.

The Ghost Gang is not the only ghost hunting team making this maiden voyage though. There’s another group, a bit older and more experienced then our mains, that cause a bit of tension.

They’re not very kind and the groups have a bit of a competitive spirit amongst them. They both have their sights set on a syndicated television slot. Chase, from our group, really has his heart set on getting that show.

There’s also a bit of romance in the group, with Chase and Chrissy in a relationship, and Emma and Kiki in a relationship. They do have an adult chaperone as well; I think it was Kiki’s Mom, although she wasn’t too big of a presence, I still liked having her there.

We follow along as the teens get settled into their cabins and begin investigating the history of the ship and the bizarre occurrences happening aboard. Chrissy is the one with the most connection to the supernatural, so we get a lot of those aspects from her perspective.

I thought it was interesting that the author’s included the ship’s perspective. You don’t see that very often, but when you do, I tend to enjoy it. I like the feel of a place, or thing, becoming a character unto itself. It’s interesting and I thought it was fun here.

Overall, this was good. I think the authors delivered on what was intended. If I were going to pin this down to a recommended age category, I would put it into a more Tween Horror niche than YA Horror.

I feel like this is more advanced than a Goosebumps, but may best be enjoyed by Readers aged 11 to 14. It’s a great stepping stone to more advanced Horror. I know I would have loved it had it been a part of my Point Horror line-up from the mid-80s. Totally cool.

Thank you to the publisher, Underlined, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was cute. It definitely had a nostalgic feel for me!

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Review: A Marriage of Lies by Amanda McKinney

A Marriage of LiesA Marriage of Lies by Amanda McKinney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

A Marriage of Lies is a tense Psychological Thriller from Amanda McKinney. I was seeing a lot of early buzz for this release and needed to find out what it was all about.

After reading it, in a day (!!!), I am so happy that I took a chance on a new-to-me author and have officially joined the Hype Train. I was left with whiplash after finishing this twisted tale of love, devious deception and lies.

I don’t want to say anything about the plot. I knew nothing going in and that’s what I would recommend.

I will say that I loved one of the main characters, Rowan, and her trusty companion, Banjo. Rowan is a Detective and I was pleasantly surprised to have an MC with that career leading the show here.

This also went pretty dark, as far as the crimes are concerned, and I definitely wasn’t expecting that either!

As mentioned above, this is the first time I have read from Amanda McKinney, but I’m absolutely ready to pick up some more of her Thrillers. If they’re anything like this, I know I’m in for a good time.

While I did find some aspects slightly predictable, particularly towards the end, that didn’t diminish my enjoyment. Overall, I found it to be extremely engaging, as well as highly-readable and incredibly entertaining!

Thank you to the publisher, Storm Publishing, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

This was a delightful surprise!

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Review: Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes

Ghost StationGhost Station by S.A. Barnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ophelia Bray is a psychologist specializing in the study and prevention of ERS, a space-based condition, similar to PTSD, that can lead to mental deterioration and violence.

Dr. Bray is assigned to join a small exploration crew as they journey to an ancient, abandoned planet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take Ophelia long to realize that the new crew isn’t exactly excited to have her aboard.

They’ve never needed a Head Doc before, why now?

Ophelia is confident in her purpose though, so she just tries to do her best to fit in and help them to understand the reasons for her attendance. She knows better than most just how imperative her skills may become.

The rest of the crew have worked together before and feel more like a family than a team. Ophelia, as the only outsider, has a long way to go to endear herself to the group.

As they begin to establish themselves on the abandoned planet, they start discovering disturbing signs left behind by the previous colonizers, who apparently departed with haste.

It presents a real mystery for the crew. They have no idea what happened to the previous inhabitants, but signs are pointing to the fact that they didn’t live happily ever after.

The longer Ophelia and the crew remain on the planet, the more unnerving things become, until Ophelia’s worst nightmare starts to come to life.

Ghost Station is the latest from S.A. Barnes, author of Dead Silence, which I read and really enjoyed. I’ve been anxiously anticipating more from Barnes ever since. I loved the SF Horror vibes she delivered in Dead Silence and definitely believe she succeeded on that front here as well.

For me, Ghost Station is way more of a slow burn than Dead Silence, but the content and MC, Ophelia, are so interesting, I didn’t mind that one bit. I enjoyed getting to know Ophelia and learning of her past and motivations, while watching her try to find a place within this new crew.

I also feel like you can see a maturation of Barnes writing in this one, which is lovely to see. We love to watch an author progress over the course of their career.

I really enjoyed the dangerous feel of the atmosphere that was created on the planet they were exploring. There was a sense of foreboding over every page that kept it compelling and also kept my pulse slightly elevated.

The audiobook for this was fantastically narrated by Zura Johnson. I highly recommend that as a format choice if you have the option available to you. The narration style was very soothing to me, in spite of this being an intense story. I really felt myself relaxing into it.

I was extremely satisfied with how Barnes wrapped this up. The conclusion surprised me in the direction it ultimately took. I wasn’t expecting it and I was happy with that.

I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys SF Horror, or darker SF in general. As far as Science Fiction goes, I would consider this light, with concepts that are easily understandable to a wide audience. You aren’t going to get bogged down in scientific jargon in this one, if maybe that is a concern for you.

This is an easily understandable, compelling story, with chills and thrills, as well as great characters throughout. Additionally, I think this could translate really well to film.

Thank you to the publisher, Tor Nightfire and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review.

As mentioned above, I was anxiously awaiting this one and it didn’t disappoint. I look forward to seeing what Barnes comes up with next!

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Review: It Watches in the Dark (Eek! #1) by Jeff Strand

It Watches in the Dark (Eek!)It Watches in the Dark by Jeff Strand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It Watches in the Dark is a fantastically-tense Spooky Middle Grade story, and the first book in the all-new Eek! series by veteran Horror author, Jeff Strand.

I was immediately drawn to this book because of the cover. How devilishly-divine is that scarecrow!? It’s giving me all the Autumnal vibes that I cherish in my every day life.

Jumping into this one, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I ended up enjoying it so much. The writing is fluid and engaging, with eerie Horror imagery throughout. I loved how quickly it kicked off, and never let up.

In this story, we follow twins, Trisha and Oliver. At the start of our tale they are on a canoe trip with their Dad, which is something they do often. On this particular trip through, they hit a series of unexpected rapids and their Dad is injured, knocked unconscious.

Not knowing exactly what to do, the kids tie up to the first dock they find and go ashore in search of help.

They end up coming across a tiny town in the woods, Escrow, population 999. Everything about the place seems a little odd, but beggars can’t be choosers, right? The twins seriously need to find their Dad help.

They meet a few townspeople, who though strange, seem to be willing enough to help, and they’re adults, they have to know what they’re doing.

Their Dad is retrieved and taken to the local medical center, but from there the kids are kept away from him. Germs and all that. Oliver and Trisha are left to their own devices and the more time they spend in Escrow, the more their senses tell them to beat feet out of there.

Perhaps it’s the enormous creepy scarecrow sitting sentinel in the town square that’s giving them that feeling. It seems to be watching them and the townspeople are obsessed with it, talking about it like it’s a living being.

As dark approaches, the kids are feeling panicked. They want to leave. They do not want to spend the night in Escrow, but they can’t move their Dad on their own.

The townspeople become more threatening and it suddenly feels imperative to escape. Will the kids be able to figure out a way to rescue their Dad and flee Escrow together, or will this be the end of the road for one, or all, of them?

It Watches in the Dark is a super solid Spooky Middle Grade read. I would definitely recommend this to any Reader who enjoys Middle Grade Horror.

It does have a sort of Goosebumps charm to it, but was creepier than that, really. Especially the initial chapters. I appreciate how Strand set-up this spooky town. It was definitely getting under my skin.

The more the kids interacted with the residents of Escrow, the more tense and stressed out I felt. I just wanted them to run away, but they couldn’t after their Dad was taken to the medical center. They didn’t want to abandon him, of course, and they were still wanting to trust these adults so much.

Oliver and Trisha were great too. I liked that they worked together and appreciated each others strengths, instead of just fighting all the time, as siblings tend to do in fiction.

Overall, I found this extremely entertaining. I think Strand did a great job of making this punchy, with plenty of action and spookiness on every page. I already have an early copy of the next book in the series, Nightmare in the Backyard and I’m excited to get to it!

Thank you to the publisher, SOURCEBOOKS Kids, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was such a fun read; very well done!

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Review: Swamp Kings: The Murdaugh Family of South Carolina and a Century of Backwoods Power

Swamp Kings: The Murdaugh Family of South Carolina and a Century of Backwoods PowerSwamp Kings: The Murdaugh Family of South Carolina and a Century of Backwoods Power by Jason Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Swamp Kings: The Murdaugh Family of South Carolina and a Century of Backwoods Power is a nonfiction book that explores the history of the Murdaugh family of Hampton County, South Carolina.

Many may be familiar with the Murdaugh name following Alex Murdaugh’s trial and conviction for the killing of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, in June of 2021. Several documentaries, podcasts and other media have been created examining this case and crimes.

This book differs in that it’s not solely focused on the recent murders, nor the boating accident in February of 2019 that resulted in the tragic death of Mallory Beach.

In Swamp Kings, the author, Jason Ryan, digs much deeper into the roots of the Murdaugh family’s power and legacy in Hampton County. I enjoyed learning about the family and their deep hold in the area. It also had a bit of history of the Lowcountry, which I found enlightening.

I think if you go into this just expecting a True Crime novel focused on the murders of Maggie and Paul, you may be disappointed, but if you are here more for the history and a better understanding of this family’s position within the community, you should be satisfied.

I hesitate to say enjoy, because of the content, but you should walk away having learned some new things in regards to the family.

I come away with what I believe to be a better understanding of the events and environment that shaped Alex, and even Paul, into the men they became. It certainly doesn’t solve anything, or explain anything, but perhaps puts a little more context to these brutal crimes.

I feel the author did a solid job researching and pulling together all this information in a fast-paced and engaging way. I certainly was never bored while listening to the audio. In fact, it kept me wanting to go back to it.

My one critique would be that I wasn’t crazy about the way the book was constructed, or laid out. I’m not sure how to explain it. The order in which the information was presented, I guess, would be fair to say.

For example, it’s going over things that happened in Paul’s life, Alex’s life, Alex’s father’s life and Alex’s father’s father’s life. The men’s names are all very similar and it would jump around in time, often feeling muddled.

Like we’d be at the boating accident, and then without any preamble, or title head, jump back to the 1960s, but there would be a Buster here and a Buster there. I always had to pay attention to dates mentioned to figure out exactly who we were talking about.

I think I would have preferred a more linear layout, maybe with it broken into Parts, starting with the great-grandfather of Paul and then moving forward through time to the present day.

With this being said though, that’s purely personal taste and I support the author’s freedom to choose how he thinks best to present his research. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the case, or maybe to people who want to know more about the Murdaugh family in general, or the history of the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

Thank you, Spotify Audiobooks, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m glad that I picked this up.

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