Thriller Thursday Reviews: Holly & Almost Surely Dead


Welcome to another edition of Thriller Thursday with Sharon.  This week’s reviews are, Holly by Stephen King and  Almost Surely Dead by Amina Akhtar. These books were both so different from each other and terrific reads in their own ways. I loved them both and hope you enjoy the reviews.  🙂


Thriller Thursday Reviews: Holly & Almost Surely DeadHolly Goodreads

Author: Stephen King

Publication Date: September 5, 2023

Publisher: Scribner

Why I waited so long to read Stephen King’s Holly, is beyond me. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, yet it took me until now to read Holly, even though it came out last September.

We first met Holly Gibbs in King’s Mr. Mercedes series. I fell in love with Holly then and am so glad she was able to branch out into her own books after that series ended. Holly is now running the private investigating office of Finders Keepers, after the death of Bill Hodges. The office is temporarily closed due to the death of Holly’s mother and Holly’s current partner, Pete, having Covid. Penny Dahl leaves a message for Finders Keepers; her daughter, Bonnie, is missing, and she desperately needs their help to find her. After listening to Penny’s message, Holly reluctantly takes the case. As she is following leads in Bonnie’s disappearance, Holly starts to uncover that more people have gone missing in the same area and under similar circumstances. Holly must use all the talents Bill taught her to uncover this mystery and to keep herself alive.

I loved watching as Holly pieced together Bonnie’s last movements and at the same time uncover information of another missing person. As each new missing person was introduced, the next chapter would be from their abduction. We know early on who is responsible, but I am not going to give that away here. You need to read for yourself and find out. Lol!  Okay, I will give you a hint: Watch out for the seemly sweet elderly couple.

It takes Holly a while to really connect each disappearance. Even though they all seem to have the same M.O., each disappearance happened three years apart. But the closer Holly got to connecting everything, the more on the edge of my seat I was.

I also loved how Jerome and his sister Barbara from the Mr. Mercedes series was in this book as well. They are part of Holly’s found family, and I loved seeing them together and helping Holly as much as they could.

Wow! Stephen King certainly ramped up the creepy and horror meter in this book. When we find out why these people were taken and what happened to them after, all I will say is that even I got a bit queasy, and it usually takes a lot for that to happen to me.

If you are a Stephen King fan I think you will love this book. Even though Holly is a spin off from a different series, I don’t think it matters if you read this first. Though I do recommend reading the Mr. Mercedes series as well at some point.   4 ½ stars


Thriller Thursday Reviews: Holly & Almost Surely DeadAlmost Surely Dead Goodreads

Author: Amina Akhtar

Publication Date: February 1, 2024

Publisher: Mindy’s Book Studio

I have never read anything by Amina Akhtar before, but when Almost Surely Dead showed up as free on Amazon first reads, I thought I would give it a try.

Dunia Ahmed is the daughter of Pakistani immigrants living in New York working as a pharmacist. Dunia did not have an easy childhood. Her father died when she was six years old, and her mother and older sister blamed her for his death. She had cut off most communication with her mother and sister and tried to make a life for herself in New York. Recently though her world was turned upside down. Her mother died six months ago, and she recently broke up with her boyfriend. And then one day while waiting for the train, some one tried to kill her by throwing her on the tracks. Her assailant ended up throwing himself on the tracks, and as the police try to figure out why this man tried to kill Dunia, there were two more attempts on her life. Dunia is now missing, has been for a year, and is the subject of a true crime podcast called “Find Dunia”.

I loved how this book was presented. There are chapters told by Dunia, starting from when the first attempt was made on her life. There are also chapters from the podcast and chapters from when Dunia was six years old. I loved getting all the different perspectives and timelines and then trying to piece together on who wanted Dunia dead and where she was now.

My favorite parts of the book were from when Dunia was six. I had such sympathy for her. Dunia’s mother was convinced she was being haunted by a Jinni, a spirit that can take many forms. Evil did seem to follow Dunia, her father died of a sudden heart attack when she was the only one home with him, and close family members who were not nice to Dunia ended up having accidents. So, it is no wonder her mother thought she was haunted, as well as the rest of their community. So poor Dunia was basically shunned and spent most of her time alone or with a neighbor.  Learning all these things gave the story a supernatural vibe and added to the mystery of what was going on now with Dunia.

I don’t want to say much and spoil things. I think experiencing all that happened to Dunia as you are reading, adds to the mystery and enjoyment of the book. I did love how Amina Akhtar created the mystery surrounding why someone wanted to kill Dunia and where has she been the past year, with the Islamic culture and folklore. I thoroughly enjoyed Almost Surely Dead and would definitely recommend it.          4 stars

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