Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Please Vote Me Off This Island!


TITLE: Hemlock Island
AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong
PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Press
PUBLISHING DATE: September 12, 2023
PAGES: 304   

FROM GOODREADS: Laney Kilpatrick has been renting her vacation home to strangers. The invasion of privacy gives her panic attacks, but it’s the only way she can keep her beloved Hemlock Island, the only thing she owns after a pandemic-fueled divorce. But broken belongings and campfires that nearly burn down the house have escalated to bloody bones, hex circles, and now, terrified renters who’ve fled after finding blood and nail marks all over the guest room closet, as though someone tried to claw their way out…and failed. 
When Laney shows up to investigate with her teenaged niece in tow, she discovers that her ex, Kit, has also been informed and is there with Jayla, his sister and her former best friend. Then Sadie, another old high school friend, charters over with her brother, who’s now a cop. 
There are tensions and secrets, whispers in the woods, and before long, the discovery of a hand poking up from the earth. Then the body that goes with it… But by that time, someone has taken off with their one and only means off the island, and they’re trapped with someone—or something—that doesn’t want them leaving the island alive.

MY THOUGHTS: I have seen some mixed reviews about this book which made me a tad hesitant to pick it up, but I do love the author, so I took the plunge.  I can see why this wouldn't work for everyone, but for the most part, I enjoyed it, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves the author or who is looking for a spooky book to add their TBR this fall.

Laney and her husband Kit divorced after the pandemic basically tore their marriage apart.  However, Kit had bought Laney an island and built her a gorgeous house on it as a wedding gift and he insists she keep it as part of the settlement.  Laney, unable to afford the upkeep on her own, even though she is a published author and a teacher, decides to make it an air-bnb type rental, which leads to all kinds of headaches.  She has been finding evidence of some kind of rituals being performed and when the latest renters call saying they found blood and scratches on an inside closet, Laney and her niece, whom she has guardianship of, head off to check things out.  Kit and his sister Jayla, who used to be Laney's best friend also show up as do an ex-friend, Sadie and her brother, who had a falling out after something tragic happened in high school.

This first half of this book read like such a well-paced slasher novel.  But warning, it isn't a slasher novel at all.  It could have been though and I would have liked it just as much if not even more perhaps. People start ending up dead and mysteries start being revealed, and I did not see the turn this book took in the end.  I liked Laney well enough as a character and wanted the best for her and Kit.  A few of the other characters were despicable and I cared nothing for what happened to them except for entertainment value.  

I do think one of the big reveals was extremely obvious from the beginning, but it didn't really spoil my enjoyment of the book.  I have found Armstrong to have a vivid imagination and some of the scenes are not for anyone who easily gets grossed out.  Armstrong has written in so many different genres with both adult and YA titles and this is actually my 20th read of one of her books.  I guess I can confidently say I would probably read whatever she releases at this point.



  1. I want to read this. I have had this on my TBR list for awhile now, so I am going to have to get to it. Great review, Barb!

  2. KA is a rock star and her recent books have been amazing. I haven't read this one because of the genre though.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  3. I'm excited to read this, although September seems to be almost over and I might not get to it until next month. But I'm glad to see you enjoyed it! I'm curious about the twist:-)

  4. I really liked this one and I agree that it felt just like a slasher movie for the first half.

  5. Interesting! It actually felt a little more slasher than I would have liked, but definitely the second half went in a very different direction! Glad you enjoyed it!