All These Bodies by Kendare Blake is a compelling thriller that lingered with me long after I turned the last page. The story depicts a series of murders, with each of the bodies drained of blood, and the main characters are expertly written. I don’t normally gravitate to books about vampires, but I found that the paranormal aspects of this one have a unique angle, and I enjoyed the way the author leaves it to the reader to decide what they believe. A suspenseful and thought-provoking mystery, this is a great read for fans of true crime.Title: All These Bodies
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: September 21, 2021
Sixteen bloodless bodies. Two teenagers. One impossible explanation.
Summer 1958—a string of murders plagues the Midwest. The victims are found in their cars and in their homes—even in their beds—their bodies drained, but with no blood anywhere.
September 19- the Carlson family is slaughtered in their Minnesota farmhouse, and the case gets its first lead: 15-year-old Marie Catherine Hale is found at the scene. She is covered in blood from head to toe, and at first she’s mistaken for a survivor. But not a drop of the blood is hers.
Michael Jensen, son of the local sheriff, yearns to become a journalist and escape his small-town. He never imagined that the biggest story in the country would fall into his lap, or that he would be pulled into the investigation, when Marie decides that he is the only one she will confess to.
As Marie recounts her version of the story, it falls to Michael to find the truth: What really happened the night that the Carlsons were killed? And how did one girl wind up in the middle of all these bodies?
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Review: All These Bodies by Kendare Blake
In the summer of 1958, the Carlson family is brutally murdered inside their own home, their bodies drained of blood. At the scene, police find a girl covered in blood, but none of it is hers, and she is completely unharmed. With the entire town reeling with questions–who is Marie? Where did the blood come from?–Marie decides that the only person she will share her story is the sheriff’s son, aspiring journalist Michael. As Michael sits down with Marie in pursuit of the truth and hears a story that seems outrageous, he must decide if he believes her, and find a way to convince the district attorney of Marie’s innocence before she is given the death penalty.
❀ Complex Characters
This book has such complex characters who I loved getting to know as the story progressed. The story is told through Michael’s point of view, and I enjoyed the angle of an outsider trying to figure out what happened. This creates a lot of suspense, as the shocking details of Marie’s story are slowly revealed. Marie herself is such a mysterious character, and she is difficult to figure out. Is she a murderer, or is she a victim? While Marie isn’t the easiest character to connect with, I enjoyed the thrill of watching her story unfold and the bit of agency she has as she is only willing to tell her story on her own terms.
❀ Powerful Themes
Throughout the book, there are many powerful themes, including what happens to women’s stories in the media and what it means for something to be true. As the story makes clear, it doesn’t really matter what Marie says because everyone–the town, the press, the attorney–have already cemented their own beliefs about her, and nothing she says will change them. This book exposes how there is no such thing as the objective truth since the truth is influenced by our own beliefs, and, accordingly, the ending is left up to the reader’s interpretation. I am not normally a fan of open-ended endings, and I know some readers might not be satisfied with this, but I found that this conclusion drives home the message in a powerful way as it asks the reader what they choose to believe about Marie’s story.
❀ Unique Thriller
All These Bodies by Kendare Blake is a powerful thriller about the truth and what it takes for a story to be believed. I enjoyed the concept of a journalist trying to uncover the truth about an unbelievable story, and the characters are well-written. As a story about a murder investigation, this one has an interesting perspective on the truth, making it a thought-provoking read. Those looking for a unique thriller this fall will not want to miss this one.