Friday, October 9, 2015
Wonderland - Creepy Individuals Please Apply
AUTHOR: Jennifer Hillier
PUBLISHER: Pocket Star
PUBLISHING DATE: October 5, 2015
FROM GOODREADS: Fans of Chelsea Cain and Lisa Gardner will devour this edgy thriller about the gruesome secrets hidden beneath a small-town amusement park. From the author of Creep, Freak, and The Butcher, Jennifer Hillier’s “fine knack for creating hideous killers” (Booklist) is vividly on display.
Welcome to Wonderland. By day, it’s a magical place boasting a certain retro charm. Excited children, hands sticky with cotton candy, run frenetically from the Giant Octopus ride to the Spinning Sombrero, while the tinkling carnival music of the giant Wonder Wheel—the oldest Ferris wheel in the Pacific Northwest—fills the air. But before daybreak, an eerie feeling descends. Maybe it’s the Clown Museum, home to creepy wax replicas of movie stars and a massive collection of antique porcelain dolls. Or maybe it’s the terrifyingly real House of Horrors. Or…maybe it’s the dead, decaying body left in the midway for all the Wonder Workers to see.
Vanessa Castro’s first day as deputy police chief of Seaside, Washington, is off to a bang. The unidentifiable homeless man rotting inside the tiny town’s main tourist attraction is strange enough, but now a teenage employee—whose defiant picture at the top of the Wonder Wheel went viral that same morning—is missing. As the clues in those seemingly disparate crimes lead her down a mysterious shared path of missing persons that goes back decades, she suspects the seedy rumors surrounding the amusement park’s dark history might just be true. She moved to Seaside to escape her own scandalous past, but has she brought her family to the center of an insidious killer’s twisted game? Acclaimed author Jennifer Hillier’s bone-chilling thriller is masterful and fast-paced, hurtling toward a shocking, bloody conclusion.
MY THOUGHTS: I was torn on whether to go with 3 or 4 paws for this novel, but finally settled on 3. I have not read a Hillier book before, even though I think I own one other by her. I was immediately drawn in by the cover of this book and thought it would be a great Halloween read. It was definitely creepy and kept me guessing throughout, but it didn't provide the horror I anticipated.
I did really enjoyed the setting of the novel A small, quiet town on the edge of Washington which is home to a rather fabulous amusement park. I can't imagine many things more scary that an amusement park/carnival when it shuts down after dark, so the setting is extremely fitting for this creepy tale. I also enjoyed the mystery. Hillier is great at adding twists and turns, deaths and kidnappings, and years of buried history. I can honestly admit I didn't see the ending coming.
What really bothered me about this book was the MC, Vanessa Castro. After moving to Seaside, Washington from Seattle to take the job of Deputy Police Chief, she immediately encounters new characters and several murders, which are all liked in some manner which she has yet to discover. Vanessa moved under suspicious circumstances and while I believe she was a strong, flawed character, I also believe she was quick to judge others and never really acknowledged where she herself had faltered. That's not to say that the criminals she hunts should be exonerated, but I just feel Vanessa shouldn't feel like she is on a pedestal of high moral character.
Overall this book was entertaining and I will not hesitate to read future works from Hillier in the future. This is a well written book and as mentioned, it did keep me guessing, so I am definitely not sorry I read it. If you want a good, quick thriller, you should consider picking it up.
RATING: 3 PAWS