Tuesday, October 5, 2021

All These Bodies by Kendare Blake


All These Bodies by Kendare Blake
Release Date - September 21, 2021
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Sixteen bloodless bodies. Two teenagers. One impossible explanation.

Summer 1958—a string of murders plagues the Midwest. The victims are found in their cars and in their homes—even in their beds—their bodies drained, but with no blood anywhere.

September 19- the Carlson family is slaughtered in their Minnesota farmhouse, and the case gets its first lead: 15-year-old Marie Catherine Hale is found at the scene. She is covered in blood from head to toe, and at first she’s mistaken for a survivor. But not a drop of the blood is hers.

Michael Jensen, son of the local sheriff, yearns to become a journalist and escape his small-town. He never imagined that the biggest story in the country would fall into his lap, or that he would be pulled into the investigation, when Marie decides that he is the only one she will confess to.

As Marie recounts her version of the story, it falls to Michael to find the truth: What really happened the night that the Carlsons were killed? And how did one girl wind up in the middle of all these bodies?

Kenadre Blake's All These Bodies delivers a read that emulates the spirit of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood while mixing in a healthy dose of the paranormal. It crafts a story that manages to create tension, provide engaging characters and wraps it in stellar writing.

The heart of this novel is the connection between Michael and Marie. It really does capture the essence of In Cold Blood in that you can feel the connection being made between the interviewer and interviewee. It is complex and confusing for Michael and it makes their time together work in a way that was unexpected. It makes the true crime inspired elements really strong. You easily feel like this could be a real case and a large part of that comes from the fact it is inspired by two different real life crimes. The author makes it something entirely its own while still feeling very plausible.

The paranormal elements are expertly woven in. I was not sure it would fit within the tone and feel of the rest of the novel but it is done in a way that makes the two come together seamlessly. This isn't scary so much as unsettling. I do however think that those with an interest in true crime will enjoy it more than those looking for something paranormal. It is testament to the author's writing skills that mixing the two not only works but combines to create something better than what they would be on their own.

A big theme of this book is the truth, and how it is perceived. It also deals with the media and how that can bend the truth. It doesn't matter what the truth is sometimes if everyone has already made up their minds about something. We all have experiences, and beliefs that we filter things through and that itself can warp the truth. The book keeps this theme right through to it's very satisfying ending.

The ending is going to isolate those who like their stories fully wrapped up. It leaves the reader to determine some elements for themselves. It made the story stronger for me but I understand that it would not be for everyone. I feel it grounds the story in a way that adds to the 'based on a true crime feel' while still steeping itself in the paranormal. It also stays true to what the book is saying about perspective and truth.

Kendare Blake has delivered another compulsively readable novel. Those who have enjoyed her previous works will surely enjoy this one as well. It's a natural fit for the spooky season and perfectly hits both the true crime and paranormal elements. It offers up a unique take on this kind of thriller and for that alone I think it is worth the read.

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