Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a psychological horror thriller and a detective thriller that were both winners for me.


Title: Home Before Dark
Author: Riley Sager

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Horror
First published: June 30th 2020
Publisher: Dutton
Finished reading: May 26th 2021
Pages: 397

“Grief is tricky like that. It can lie low for hours, long enough for magical thinking to take hold. Then, when you’re good and vulnerable, it will leap out at you like a fun-house skeleton, and all the pain you thought was gone comes roaring back.”


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I’ve had mixed reactions to his previous books, so that’s probably why I haven’t been in a hurry to read his fourth book Home Before Dark after it was published last year. But I kept seeing highly positive reviews, and I couldn’t resist any longer… I’m glad I didn’t, because this is without doubt my new favorite Riley Sager and his strongest work yet. Ghost stories can go both ways for me, but as I knew from the beginning this story was going to have a paranormal angle I wasn’t bothered by it. Instead, I was intrigued from the very beginning and I simply couldn’t stop turning those pages. The story has a dual POV structure, where we follow Maggie in the present when she returns to Baneberry Hall and hear her father’s thoughts on the events in Baneberry Hall in flashbacks to the past where Maggie is five year old. The flashbacks give us an idea what happened during the short time they lived there as a family; each chapter covering a day as the events escalate towards that final night. In between, we learn more about the present as Maggie slowly discovers more and more about Baneberry Hall’s secrets. The building up of suspense and tension is brilliantly done, and this story most definitely has both that ominous feel and the perfect psychological horror vibe. Creepy, highly entertaining and with just the right amount of plot twists and secrets to unravel… Oh yes, Home Before Dark was without doubt a big success for me.


Title: A Carrion Death
(Detective Kubu #1)
Author: Michael Stanley

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: April 1st 2008
Publisher: Headline 
Finished reading: May 29th 2021
Pages: 557

“Words can be more important than we might think!”


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After finally meeting Detective Kubu in the prequel Facets Of Death in last month, I knew I wanted to return to the series very soon. I fell in love with both the Botswana/South Africa setting and the main character Kubu himself, and I’ve been looking forward to return to the series to see what will happen to Kubu and the other characters in the first book A Carrion Death. And I most definitely liked what I found! While I do have to say that the story is a tad too long and drawn out, as a whole I still had a great time reading this story. This both has to do with the main character Kubu, who is very easy to like, and the extensive descriptions of the many different settings throughout the story and investigation. The descriptions really made Botswana (and South Africa) come alive for me and I really enjoyed learning more about the local flora and fauna as well as customs. The story also brought back great memories of my time in Portugal, and the investigation itself was fascinating to follow. I did guess part of the final twist right early on, but as a whole A Carrion Death turned out to be an entertaining and well written detective series with a brilliantly described setting. If you like the genre, make sure to schedule a trip to Africa to meet Detective Kubu!


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