Numbed With Thrills

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

After two months, I am thrilled to exhaustion. Now no matter how many bodies there are, how bloody the scene is, how thrilling the plot is, I don’t feel anything anymore. Two months ago, when I first read Freida McFadden’s “The Housemaid”, I was quite excited. Then I discovered that all her books are in Kindle Unlimited, which I joined during the Christmas time. In order to get the most out of the membership, I’ve skimmed 7 to 8 of her books. I was planning to flip through 10 of her books in two months, but after 7 to 8 books, my enthusiasm wanes and my interests subside.

So here I am going to describe each of the books I read. I am trying to practice describing a story in an interesting way, but so far I haven’t had much success. Still, not getting there has never damped my spirit in trying. One day when I die, it is most likely that I die of trying, rather than dying of heart attack or other illnesses.

“The Housemaid”

This is my favorite McFadden book even though there’s no bloody scene and no gory detail at all. Millie Calloway is homeless, jobless, with a criminal record, but Nina Winchester called her, interviewed her, and hired her as her housemaid. Millie felt very strange that Nina would overlook her criminal record, but she’s happy that she had a job and a place to live. Nina has erratic behaviors and treats Millie with warm smile, alternated with hysterical scream and outrageous demand. When Nina is out of town, Millie seduces and sleeps with Nina’s husband Andrew, who then kicks Nina out of the house.

The first half of the book is narrated by Millie. And the second half is narrated by Nina, which completely overthrows the plot line and the character development of the first half. Nina, the bad witch, turns out to be a victim to a very sinister scheme. And it is very satisfying to see that in the end, normal people finally have their happiness and the bad narcissistic person is punished.

“Never Lie”

I think this book is probably as interesting as “The Housemaid”, but being the second book I read, I felt that the thrill is not as thrilling as the first one. Tricia and her husband Nathan come to see a house in a suburb of NYC. A snow storm comes, the real estate agent doesn’t show up, and they are snowed in the strange house by themselves. And soon they realize the house used to belong to a psychiatrist, Dr. Adrienne Hale, who disappeared four years prior after publishing a popular book.

Tricia finds a secret room stashed with Dr. Hale’s tapes of her therapy sessions with her clients. Listening to them reveals all the secrets of the house, the doctor, and her patients. One patient is a mother who’s afraid that her son would kill her; another patient is a young woman who’s husband and best friends were murdered by strangers during a camping trip; EJ is a patient who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and he continues to blackmail the psychiatrist in order to get free therapy and get prescribed with some narcotics. Adrienne Hale eventually decides to take care of EJ by asking her boyfriend Luke to murder EJ.

Her boyfriend refuses to do it. So Dr. Hale asks one of her patients to do it, which triggers a series of events that eventually send Dr. Hale to an early grave. And the ending is very surprising. I didn’t know it was coming, and it was a good surprise.

“The Locked Door”

This book is not as good as the previous two and the ending is quite anti-climatic. I think the beginning is quite intriguing. Nora Davis was around nine years old when police came knocking on the door. Her father was a serial killer and he locked the basement door every day and tortured young beautiful women in it. He went to jail forever and Nora’s mother killed herself. Now Nora is a doctor who runs a popular private medical practice. Then suddenly bodies start to be found in the same town where Nora lives, and they all died of the same method that her father used to kill people. Detectives come to talk with Nora and asked questions. They are suspicious of her–is she the killer who killed these people?

Nora suspected her boyfriend, her business partner, and even her father who was locked in maximum security prison. And eventually things get cleared up at the last moment and it’s quite an underwhelming result.

“The Perfect Son”

Erika Cass has a perfect husband and a perfect son, Liam. However one of the girls in Liam’s high school is murdered, and another one soon goes missing. The police comes knocking on the door, accusing Liam of the horrible crime. And at this most inopportune moment, Erika’s mother shows up, telling her that her father is not really dead. Her father killed his mistress more than twenty years ago and went to jail. Now he is out on parole and lives in a town not far away. Erika’s mother just wants to warn her of the situation. Erika immediately starts to imagine that her son somehow inherits the grandpa’s killer genes. Liam is really not normal since Liam is such a perfect kid. Absolutely no fault. And Erika starts to have misgivings of her son’s perfection.

And the ending is a surprise, but it is a little unexciting for some reason. I guess one of the reasons is that the real killer has never been a suspect and it is quite awkward when he suddenly bursts into the scene holding a knife…

“Suicide Med”, “The Inmate” “The Ex”

I also went through these three books. Wait I also finished a novella “The Gift”. I have to say “The Gift” is very well written, especially the details, but the ending is not very surprising. “Suicide Med” has a lot of medical and anatomical details. Also the story of a student who has an affair with her professor is very well written. I really like that part of the book. Unfortunately the affair ends in an uneventful way. Although I don’t like the ending of “Suicide Med”, it is still a very carefully written book with many interesting lines and well crafted characters. However this is more than I can say for “The Inmate” and “The Ex”, which are the books that finally put out my little fire of enthusiasm…

18 thoughts on “Numbed With Thrills

    1. Yes, “Never Lie” is a very interesting story. I just googled Wilkie Collins and it seems that he was quite a popular author. I never read his books, but I heard of the book “The Woman in White”.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “The Housemaid” is the only book by her that I’ve read but some of the others sound interesting too. I look forward to reading “The Housemaid’s Secret” soon but I’m not sure if I’ll read any more of her books.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s the thing with thrillers. If you read too many you’ll get bored but if you read one every now and then it can be fun. I remember I read too many James Patterson books and couldn’t read any for years after that. Same with John Grisham lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are soooo right. You just remind me that years ago I got into reading Agatha Christi, but finally gave up after 5 to 6 books. It is true. I’ve never read James Patterson or John Grisham. Hmm…

          Liked by 1 person

  2. They sound interesting stories. I’m not familiar with this author. There seems to be a similarity between each book, so I can see why you found each one less appealing. I don’t like it when twist endings reveal the killer to be someone you don’t know and could ever have guessed. It’s very unsatisfying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true. People say that her books are similar in certain ways. Also she publish many books a year and I don’t know how she’s able to write so much. Anyway, one has to write a lot in order to stay on top of the popular author list.

      Liked by 1 person

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