Title: All These Bodies
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: YA, Mystery/Thriller
Published: September 21st, 2021 (Quill Tree Books)
Synopsis: 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?
Thank you to the publisher, Quill Tree Books, HCC Frenzy, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In the summer of 1958, there is a trail of mysterious murders across the Midwest where the victims are found completely drained of blood. The Carlson family, who live in a small Minnesota town is the site of the latest murders, but this time, a girl named Marie Catherine Hale is found at the scene covered in blood. Initially assumed to be a survivor, she is taken into custody when it is found that none of the blood is hers, and she has not a single scratch upon her. The hunt begins for her accomplice, because a teenage girl could not have carried out all these murders by herself. Michael Jensen, the sheriff’s teenage son, is an aspiring journalist, and when Marie decides he is the only one she’ll tell her story to, it falls to him to record her confession and sort through her increasingly bizarre account and find the truth about what happened to the Carlsons and how Marie is involved in it all.
Paranormal mysteries are not common on my TBR, but the minute I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. I don’t know anything about the real-life case this is based on, but the premise sounded really promising and the book did not disappoint. It was very unlike Kendare Blake’s last work, the Three Dark Crowns series, and the writing style was quite different too, but it worked for this type of story. The setting of a small 50s town, with the case of the mysterious murders and Marie’s seemingly impossible story really set the mood for this book and it made for an interesting read. I thought the narrative did a great job at keeping things feeling real even as it strayed into supernatural territory.
All These Bodies is narrated through Michael’s perspective. Where he initially thought that interviewing Marie would be his ticket to a good college and career, he quickly realizes that there is much more going on than what he has signed up for. Marie was a thoroughly puzzling character and I loved that about her because as a reader, it had me second guessing myself constantly about who she truly was and if Michael was just being tricked. To be honest, it was the sense of mystery around Marie that truly drew me into the narrative and held my attention rather than Michael who felt like he was there only as a means of telling the story. That said, I feel that this book needed a little more of the supernatural in it, and perhaps a few POVs from Marie’s angle.
I would say this book was a creepy read, but personally, I felt that the way it was narrated, through Michael’s interviews with Marie made it less scary – but still, maybe check your doors and windows and leave your lights on? This was a fast paced read that will keep you turning the pages and leave you guessing even after the book is over. Yes, it’s one of those books with an inconclusive ending, which I half expected going into it – something about the mood of the book just indicated that we would not really get a concrete finish. There is a lot left up to the reader’s interpretation, so it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed it all the same and would recommend this book. For all the fans of mysteries and thrillers, this is the perfect addition to your TBR this month to get into the Halloween mood!
All These Bodies releases on September 21st, 2021.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All quotes in this review were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final version of the book.