Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

” Rosemary’s Baby ” by Ira Levin is a horror story published in the late 1960’s .

Rosemary moves into an old New York apartment with her struggling actor husband named Guy . The apartment building has a terrible history though involving murder and witchcraft which makes Rosemary a little nervous . Add on to that , the nosy neighbors , ( Roman and Minnie Castavet ) are constantly bothering her , and the strange noises she hears at night … you can understand if she is having trouble adapting to the new place . Things begin to look up though , Guy gets a good role in a Broadway play and Rosemary gets pregnant . With the news of her pregnancy getting around , the neighbors begin to take an even bigger interest in her life , becoming almost possessive of her and her baby . As the pregnancy goes on , she starts getting cut off from her friends and family , gets really sick , and she becomes aware that the Castavets are not who they say they are .

This story is a classic . It’s a masterclass in paranoia based story telling with a hint of satire mixed in . You feel everything Rosemary experiences throughout the story and it keeps you sucked in throughout each twist and turn . The ending feels genuinely surprising and you should read the book at least twice to see all the signs . This was turned into a popular movie directed by Roman Polanski but I haven’t watched it myself as I don’t want to do anything that would give that dude money . So read the book , avoid the movie , that’s my two cents .

Rating : Legendary work

Valentine by Tom Savage

” Valentine ” by Tom Savage is a mystery novel originally published in the mid 1990’s .

Jillian Talbot is a bestselling suspense novelist living in New York with her artist boyfriend . She is living a comfortable life writing her books , hanging out with her actress friend , and she loves her boyfriend . Everything is going well up until a stalker appears into her life , sending her Valentine’s day cards with intimidating messages , always signing the card ” Valentine ” . The story becomes more and more suspenseful as she hires a private investigator to find out this stalker is and why they are sending her threatening letters , dead animals , and roses . Come find out in Tom Savage’s ” Valentine ” .

This book is a thrilling mystery . It switches point of view often between Jill and her stalker , giving the novel a voyeur type quality which I enjoy … don’t read too much into that statement . The only complaint I have about it is that I feel the themes of Valentine’s day could’ve been used more but admittedly its a minor thing and probably only bothers me . A movie based off of this book was made and I watched it as well . The movie is a very loose adaptation at best , actually the movie seems to be a ” I Know What You Did Last Summer ” knock off with the book being used as a superficial dressing . Overall , recommend the book to mystery and suspense fans , and recommend the movie to lovers of B-movie slashers .

Final Girls by Riley Sager

” Final Girls ” by Riley Sager is a mystery/thriller published in the late 2010’s .

Quincy Carpenter was the lone survivor of a brutal massacre ten years before the start of this story . When her story went public , the media labeled her as well as two other woman ( Lisa and Sam ) who went through similar ordeals as ” Final Girls ” . Quincy does her best to put it behind her . She gets in a good relationship , starts a baking blog , and pops xanax  pills like her life depends on it . One day though , Lisa is murdered and Sam suddenly comes out of hiding to check on Quincy , or at least that is what Sam says . Sam makes Quincy’s life difficult , she pries into Quincy’s past , has to be bailed out of jail , they shoplift , and eventually end up putting a man into a coma . Quincy becomes suspicious of her and she also wants to investigate Lisa’s death . She gets the feeling that all of this is connected to the massacre she experienced ten years ago … the problem with that being she can’t remember what happened . Will she remember what she needs before it’s too late ? Come find out in ” Final Girls ” !

Alright , so this is my first time reading a Riley Sager novel and it was a fun read . The protagonist , Quincy , is a sympathetic figure and Sam is a clever and manipulative * expletive * , perfect for a good mystery story . I’m sure the experienced mystery reader could predict the twist at the end but I believe the journey to that point is entertaining enough to suggest that you check it out .

Tulku : A Tale of Modern Ninja by Stephen K. Hayes

” Tulku ” is a ninja thriller written by Stephen K. Hayes , published in the 1980’s .

The Matsutani Shoji company is a business like other businesses with one exception , it is actually ran by an ancient Japanese ninja clan . They look to set up a safe energy plant in India but discover phosphane gas being transported to their facility . Sabotage ! But by whom ? The ninja are sent to investigate . Meanwhile , elsewhere in the world , a Tibetan monk lives out his final days being watched over at a medical facility . Spreading his message to whomever will listen : reporters , doctors , other patients , and other monks . These seemingly two unrelated stories collide in a race against time involving terrorists , ninjas ,torture , and … possible reincarnation ?

This is a 1980’s ninja story written by an actual ninjutsu expert . If that doesn’t intrigue you , I’m not sure what will . It’s a strong thriller with a spiritual journey added in . The characters are likeable , maybe not the most sophisticated character development , but not bad at all . Check it out folks !

Dr. Phibes by William Goldstein

” Dr. Phibes ” is a mystery/horror story written by William Goldstein , originally published in the 1970’s .

Dr. Phibes died in a car crash while speeding off to see his wife as she dies on the operating table … or did he ? Several doctors in London start dying in weird and horrible ways . The first gets killed by bees , the second was ripped apart by bats , the third involved a frog mask , and a fourth was drained of all his blood . The investigators believe these murders are based off the biblical plagues of Egypt but they don’t know why the doctors have been targeted . Will the investigators find the other targets before all ten plagues have been performed ? What involvement do they have with Dr. Phibes ? Is Dr. Phibes really as dead as people think ? Come find out in ” Dr. Phibes ” ?

I first heard about this book after watching the movie version of it that starred the legendary horror film actor Vincent Price ( which I also recommend )  . This is a fun , smooth , mad scientist story with plenty of twists and sympathetic characters . By the end of the story  , you’ll understand everything . Overall , I’d say check this one out if you’re into mysteries and old school mad scientist stories .

Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

” Metro 2033 ” is a post-apoclyptic horror novel written by Dmitry Glukhovsky , published in the 2000’s .

The year is 2033 , the setting is a Russian metro stations , the surface world is unlivable to normal human kind and has been over run by mutants . The story revolves around a young man named Artyom and is told mostly from his point of view . Artyom’s metro station is under constant attack from telepathic mutants known as ” the dark ones ” . One day a man called Hunter visits Artyom’s station and says something along the line of ” I’ve got a mission , if I’m not back tomorrow that means I failed and you got to finish it . ” Guess what happens ? Hunter fails so Artyom goes on an epic journey throughout the metro . A journey that has him dealing with fascist , communist , the dark ones , mutant dogs , philosophers , psychics , librarians , and more !

This is a fun but dark book , juggling different political and philosophical beliefs . Artyom knows little of how the world was before it was destroyed , so it’s his first time really dealing with all these beliefs and you feel his confusion . There is a debate throughout the story dealing with the concept of fate and if it exists or not which is interesting . The best parts of this book ( in my mind anyways) are Artyom’s nightmare sequences which are written supremely well .

Favorite quote : ” Could it be that the determination , rage , and desperation that drove him to take every next step created , in some unknown way , a reality that wove a set of chaotic events and someone’s thoughts and actions into an ordered system , thereby turning an ordinary life into a plot , as Sergei Andreyevich had said ? “

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon

” The Manchurian Candidate ” is a political thriller written by Richard Condon , published in 1959 .

Sergeant Raymond Shaw and the rest of his platoon are captured during the Korean War . They are taken to Manchuria where they get worked over and brainwashed by communist scientist . The scientist put on a demonstration of their brainwashing abilities by having Shaw kill two of his fellow soldiers in front of Chinese and Soviet officials . They then proceed to brainwash Shaw and his group, telling them that they were ambushed by Chinese soldiers but Shaw heroically took out every single one of the people who had attacked them . This leads to Raymond Shaw winning the medal of honor . Now the communist have a brainwashed sleeper agent going around with a medal of honor , what evil deeds do they have planned ?

This novel feels like a time capsule of the 1950’s in America . Dealing with issues such as the Korean War , the threat of political assassination , Joseph McCarthy , the red scare , etc . It benefits you if you have some knowledge of the era but it gives you enough knowledge inside so you don’t get lost . One hell of a thriller , I can see why it made such a big impact back in the day . Would not recommend it to everyone though , most of the characters throughout the novel are evil people and there is some fairly taboo stuff in there dealing with incest , but if that doesn’t affect you then by all means check it out .