A head full of ghost by Paul Tremblay

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The Barrett family is a typical middle class American family: father, mother and two daughters, 8 years old Meredith and 14 years old Marjorie. Like every other family, also the Barrett’s have some issues, the father lost his job and the major daughter shows symptoms of a mental illness, for this reason she is seeing a doctor.

The situation and the symptoms get worse, the medications seems not to have relevant effects: John Barrett, in the middle of a mystical-religious phase, is convinced that his daughter is possessed by a demon. To help her he persuade his family to being part of a television production, “Possessed”, that to be filmed needs the family to be followed by a television troupe in the house.

These things I’m telling you do not happen in the present time, but are told as a memory by Merry who, fifteen years after the events, retrace the events for Rachel, a non-fiction writer who has the job to write a book about the Barrett family.

So we have second-hand events, averaged by the passed time and by the fact that Merry was a child when she lived through them. We have the Possessed tv series analysed by a horror blogger, Karen. We have religious fanaticism (Marjorie is possessed or simply very ill?) and the cruel television reality (how much is true – and false – in the troupe shootings?).

The very good part of the novel are the first two sections of the book, where the elements are perfectly balanced, the story is fast paced and thrilling and horrific. Another good point id the fact that at the end we don’t have certain answers, but lots food for thoughts.

Reflections concerning the plot – we have so many unreliable sources that everything could be true  – and concerning the other two main themes, the religious fanaticism and television cruelty, that are catalyst of other events.

I talked about the book with other people, and it emerged that the third part is the more weak, maybe also because of the homage reference (that I did not catch immediately) to Shirley Jackson that can appear as a way to simplify the ending. I forgive the weakness of the last section because the other two-thirds are a wonderful reading experience.


A head full of ghost by Paul Tremblay ★★★★★

*I read this book in english

Born of Illusions by Teri Brown

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New York, the 20s. Anna is a skilled illusionist and she helps her mother, Marguerite Van Housen, a well-known medium, during public shows and private séances.

Anna is young, she would like to have more space in the show, to know her father (who appears to be Houdini, accordingly to her mother), but more than anything she would like to understand the meaning of the vision of the future she has.

The novel is a paranormal YA, and a not very original one. For the most of the time we follow Anna’s thoughts about her father, her powers and her two love interest (an extremely original idea).

The setting, but more than that the characters, are not up to the ones of another series, set  in New York with paranormal thematic (The Diviners by Libba Bray).

The novel appears quite boring to me, moreover some turn of events were quite expected, I will not go on with the other book of the series.


Born of Illusions by Teri Brown ★★☆☆☆

*I read this book in english

Thunderbird (Miriam Black #4) by Chuck Wendig

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Thunderbird is the so much waited fourth installment of the Miram Black series (here the reference about the first three book), the woman who knows how and when you die by touching you.

Miriam is looking for a method to get rid of her power, that she was never especially comfortable with, and it seems there is a person who could help her: Mary Scissors.

However, finding that person is not so easy,  and during her trip Miriam finds herself involved in the action of a terrorist group with powers that want to change the world, even with extremely violent actions.

Miriam’s great dilemma will be: to get or not to get involved with all this? With the company of her usual visions and the knowledge of possessing new abilities, Miriam will take the best decision in her typical style.

The novel is extremely engaging, in particular in the latter part where I was unable to get the book down. The ending is wonderful, this book is an absolutely must for the Miriam Black fans and readers.

I already miss you, Miriam.


* Thunderbird by Chuck Wendig ★★★★★

*I read this book in english

Master of the Day of Judgement by Leo Perutz

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In this book we face the memories of Baron von Yosch, military on leave, and the mysterious suicide of actor Eugen Bischoff, husband of Dina, the woman  the baron himself still loves.

Dina’s brother is not convinced by the idea of the suicide, and he accuses the baron for the death of the actor. Von Yosch then begins searching for the true killer, and his research overlaps with the one of other people who were at Dina’s home the night of the suicide.

From the inquiry it emerges a supernatural element that could have induced Bischoff – and other artists – to suicide.

Is the baron the killer, jealous of Dina’s love, or something made Bischoff to face the darkness inside himself?

The novel is nice, but the author chooses not to examine the themes of the story: the supernatural is used to conclude the story, but it could have been used more for the characters’ psychological introspection.


Master of the Day of Judgement by Leo Perutz ★★★☆☆½

*I read this book in italian

Between nine and nine by Leo Perutz

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Talking about this novel is not easy: the main character, Stanislaus Demba, behaves strangely in every situation we find him, and only about the middle of the novel we are revealed the reason behind his strangeness (reason that will confirm or deny the reader hypothesis).

The novel Between nine and nine is about the twelve hours of wandering in Vienna by Stanislaus, an anxious man, almost near to desperation.

The main narrative thread is interesting, the reader slowly discover the reasons why Stanislaus acts in a so weird manner. However, in my opinion, the true beauty of the novel is the characterization of the numerous background people, the author is able to re-create the 1900 Vienna with very few features, a skill hard to find.


* Between nine and nine by Leo Perutz ★★★★☆½

*I read this book in italian

[ARC] The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief by Lisa Tuttle

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At the beginning of the novel we meet Miss Lane, the main character, while she leaves a work and begins another one as assistant to the detective Mr Jasper Jesperson.

They have problems in finding works, until their help is required – by lick and by their skill – by the sister of the owner of their apartment: her husband suffers of somnambulism and nobody is able to understand the reason of this unexpected behaviour.

In the same time in London some mediums disappear, while a new talent is becoming famous in the paranormal field.

The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief is an adventurous crime story set in the peculiar world of mediums and paranormal, it’s a good read but it does not catch the reader curiosity, and the inquiry result is quite obvious.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.


* The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief by Lisa Tuttle ★★★☆☆

*I read this book in english

The Marquis Of Bolibar by Leo Perutz

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After falling in love with The Swedish Cavalier, I started reading other novels by the same author.

The Marquis Of Bolibar is set during the Napoleonic wars, during the Spanish campaign, and the narration follows the memories of Jochberg, a soldier who was staying in the town of La Bisbal with other regiments. Jochberg remembers the events of the time and thanks to his memory we are able to understand the reasons behind the soldier’s defeat against the Spanish guerrillas.

The Marquis Of Bolibar is a noble spanish man who is heard plotting with the guerrillas who are trying to conquer and free the city: to help them he is going to provide three signals, and since that moment the spanish soldiers can begin the attack. The marquis disguises himself as a muleteer, but he is unlucky to find himself in the wrong time and place: the tavern where five soldiers are talking about their sexual conquest of the colonel’s recently dead wife. To avoid the spreading of the gossip the soldiers sentence the muleteer to death.

Maybe something more powerful was guiding the marquise doings, since a series of events begins and the signals are sent to the guerrillas.

In this novel, like in The Swedish Cavalier, the real and the unreal coexist, because actions are made by men, and it could be a chance that the events develop in a precise way, but they seem to be driven by a superior will – also because otherwise the soldiers are behaving in a self destructive way. To this also Captain Salignac adds up, and he seems able to survive any battle, and some people see in him the Wandering Jew.

The novel is entertaining and engaging, the characters are characterized with small features but they are quite distinctive also for their flaws. The best part of the novel is the mysterious shadows looming over the story.


* The Marquis Of Bolibar by Leo Perutz ★★★★☆½

*I read this book in italian