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Thriller Thursday Review: Billy Summers

 

Hi Everyone! It’s Sharon, back with another edition of Thriller Thursday. This week I am sharing my thoughts on Stephen King’s new book, Billy Summers. I know I normally have two reviews to share, but I loved this book so much and I had so much to say about it, that I didn’t think it would be fair to another author to only give a short blurb for their book. But don’t worry, next Thriller Thursday I will be back to two reviews. I even know which books they will be and I am almost finished with the first one. 🙂

 

Thriller Thursday Review: Billy SummersBilly Summers Goodreads

Author: Stephen King

Publication Date: August 3, 2021

Publisher: Scribner

Stephen King’s latest book Billy Summers is now in my top ten favorite King books. This was not a scary read. It’s more of a crime/suspenseful mystery. As always with Stephen King’s books, I was fully invested in the characters and cared about them so much. I had butterflies in my stomach almost the entire time I was reading because I had no idea where this book was going and was afraid for their safety with every turn of the page.

The book centers around Billy Summers, who is an Iraq war vet whose specialty is being one of the best snipers in the world. When Billy leaves the Marines, he puts that specialty to use and becomes a killer for hire. But Billy will only kill men who he deems are bad. So yeah, he is a killer with scruples. Billy is ready to retire but has decided to do one last job, for two million dollars. He does this job and he is set for life. What could possibly go wrong? Everything, that’s what.

I fell in love with Billy from the very beginning. Yes, he is a killer, but beneath all that there is a very nice and caring man. And we get to see this man while Billy is waiting for his mark to arrive. The man Billy has been hired to kill is currently in L.A. fighting extradition to be returned to a southern town called Riverdale to face murder charges. While waiting, Billy has been set up with a false identity and cover story. He is a writer that is working on a novel. He is living in a house in a family neighborhood and it is here that we get to see the man Billy really is as he gets to know and become friends with his neighbors. I really enjoyed watching him interact with his neighbors. They would go to each other’s house for dinners, and he would play with their children. He was just an all-around great guy (I know, I know he is a killer for hire lol).  When it got closer to the time the kill would take place, Billy started to feel bad at how upset his neighbors, especially the children, would be when they learned who he really was.

I don’t want to say what went wrong with the hit, but I will say that all does not go as planned and Billy has to go into hiding. It is while he is in hiding that we meet another great character, Alice. Alice was the victim of a rape and she was left on the side of the road across the street from the apartment that Billy was hiding out in.  When Billy saw a van drive down the street and dump her out, he assumed she was dead but when he went out to check and found that she was alive he brought her back to the apartment. See he is really a nice guy. I really liked Alice, she was one tough and smart cookie. She joins Billy on his trip across the country to right the wrongs that were done against him. I loved watching the relationship between Billy and Alice grow. It wasn’t instant trust between the two of them, which made it feel all the more realistic. Billy and Alice brought out the best in each other.

While Billy was waiting for the hit to occur, he actually did do some writing and then continued with the writing after, and it is through his writing that we learn more about him. When Billy was 11 years old his stepfather killed his little sister and then came after Billy, but Billy shot and killed him. After spending a few years in a foster home Billy joined the Marines. We get a good look as to what it was like to be on the ground in Iraq through Billy’s writings. The writing of being in Iraq was so authentic that I could visualize everything. I really liked having the chapters of the actual story broken up with pages from Billy’s writing. As much as I loved Billy from the beginning of the book, reading the words he wrote about his life made him all the more loveable and also sympathetic.

This book was a slow but steady build up to a tension filled ending that had me in tears. If you are a fan of Stephen King I think you will enjoy Billy Summers. If you have been looking for a Stephen King book to read, but don’t want the pants scared off you (lol), I recommend Billy Summers.  4 ½ stars

Reviews: Later & The Burning Girls

 

Hey, it’s Sharon and for today’s Thriller Thursday I am reviewing two books from two great horror authors. Stephen King’s new book Later (Hey, what would a Thriller Thursday be without a Stephen King book? LOL) and C.J. Tudor’s new book The Burning Girls. I couldn’t wait to read these books, and I am happy to say they did not disappoint.

 

Reviews: Later & The Burning GirlsLater Goodreads

Author: Stephen King

Publication Date: March 2, 2021

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Stephen King is my all-time favorite author, and even though his new book, Later is not as long as his other books (it’s only 250 pages, short for a Stephen King book lol) he is still able to pull me in and make me become fully invested in the story and characters. It was everything I wanted/expected in a Stephen King read.

Jamie Conklin has a secret; he can see and talk to dead people. His mother urges him not to let anyone know what he can do. If anyone were to find out, they would use Jamie for their own purpose, and he could end up in a life-or-death situation. Which is exactly what happens when a New York city detective enlists Jamie’s help in stopping a killer from performing one final act from beyond the grave.

It is Jamie’s job to find out where this killer hid his final bomb, because you see when you ask a dead person a question, they have to tell the truth.

The book is narrated by Jamie Conklin, as he tells the story of his life, starting when he was 6 years old and through his teenage/young adult years. For the most part, the dead people that Jamie sees keep their distance and they fade away after a few days. That is until Jamie is thirteen years old and is pulled into the case with the NYPD. For some reason, this dead person does not fade away and keeps following Jamie. Jamie sees him outside of school, standing on the street late at night, and even in the elevator in their apartment building. Jamie needs to figure out how to make him go away, because he does not want to find out what will happen if he doesn’t.

I loved Jamie. Especially young Jamie, who just pulled at my heart strings. There is a scene at the beginning of the book when Jamie is six, he is walking home from school with this mother and he is holding a paper turkey he made. He thinks it is the cat’s ass, that is until they get to their apartment and find out their neighbor Mrs. Burkett has died. When Jamie sees Mr. Burkett crying, he tries to cheer him up by showing him his turkey. But then he sees Mrs. Burkett and when he proudly shows her his turkey, she tells Jamie it is more like what comes out of a cat’s ass. Aww Poor Jamie. I just wanted to hug him.

I also loved the relationship between Jamie and his mother. It is just the two of them and they both are protective of each other. They had a very special bond. And I as I was reading, I kept hoping nothing bad was going to happen to either of them.

This is a horror story, but it is also a coming-of-age story as Jamie navigates through life, as the boy who can see and talk to dead people. If you are a fan of Stephen King, I recommend this book and think you will love it.    4 ½ stars

 

Reviews: Later & The Burning GirlsThe Burning Girls Goodreads

Author: C.J. Tudor

Publication Date: February 9, 2021

Publisher: Ballantine Books

C.J. Tudor has become a must-read author for me. I loved her earlier books, The Chalk Man, The Hiding Place; and The Other People so I couldn’t wait to read The Burning Girls.  I am glad to say that it lived up to my expectations.

Chapel Croft is a small village in Sussex, England. Five hundred years ago eight protestant martyrs were burned at the stake, two of which were children. Thirty years ago, 2 local teenage girls went missing. And two months ago, the local vicar killed himself.  Every year to commemorate the anniversary of the protestant martyrs the townspeople have a bonfire in the cemetery next to the chapel and burn twig figures, known as the burning girls.

Reverend Jack Brooks and her fourteen-year-old daughter, Flo, have just moved to Chapel Croft.  Jack will be the interim vicar until a permanent one can be found. Jack is hoping for a fresh start for her and her daughter. As soon as Jack and Flo arrive, a small child covered in blood shows up at the chapel. Then Jack receives a package, that includes an exorcism kit. Flo befriends a strange local boy, has a few run-ins with some bullies and is having strange sightings of the burning girls.  While cleaning out the basement in their house, Jack finds folders that belonged to the previous vicar which contain research into the 2 girls that disappeared thirty years ago. As Jack investigates these strange occurrences, she finds that the people in Chapel Croft do not want their secrets to be revealed and will do whatever they have to do to stop that from happening. So much for the peaceful fresh start Jack was hoping for.

The book is told from the POV of Jack and Flo.  I loved their mother/daughter relationship. I especially liked Jack though, she was a down to earth flawed character and not your typical vicar. She smokes (behind her daughter’s back lol), drinks and swears when it is called for. And she is also a mother that will do anything to protect her daughter.

This book was filled with lots of twists and turns and I couldn’t wait to see if the martyrs, the missing girls and the vicar that killed himself were connected or not. I thought I had things figured out a few times, but I was wrong each time. The tension and suspense really pick up at the end with a final jaw dropping twist.   4 ½ stars