Friday, October 5, 2012

Murder, Monsters & Mayhem - Week 1

Fridays in October will be devoted to update posts for Murder, Monsters and Mayhem (hereafter referrred to as Mx3).  Mx3, hosted by Jenn @ Jenns Bookshelves, is a month-long celebration of all things spooky or scary.  My plan is to review one book and one movie each week - along with whatever recipes, crafts, etc might pop up.

First up:  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn -- Genre: Thriller

     On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary.  Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River.  Passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge.  Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? 
   As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife?  And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Another reviewer commented on how hard it is to review this book without including spoilers, and I agree.  It's a complicated, twisting plot - so I'm just going to leave you with the publisher's blurb above, and my endorsement that this book will keep you turning pages and leave you wondering -- even after you've finished reading.  I gave it 4 of 5 stars and recommend it for all fans of psychological thrillers - especially those, like myself, with no stomach for blood and guts. 

Movie #1: Alfred Hitchcock's Rope, starring James Stewart (1948)

Hitchcock's movies have long been some of my favorites - especially Rear Window - so I was excited to find one I hadn't seen yet.  Unfortunately, I was considering finding my own rope about half-way through this one.  Only Jimmy Stewart's presence kept me from giving up completely.  

Rope is the story of two college buddies who murder another college friend just to prove their mental superiority, then continue to flaunt their supposed intelligence by hosting a dinner party for the victim's parents and girlfriend while the body is stowed in an antique chest in the same room.  Jimmy Stewart plays a former college mentor who had unwittingly encouraged the two murderers with theoretical discussions of the perfect crime.  

The only interesting things about the film were a couple of behind-the-scenes tidbits.  The movie was adapted by Hume Cronyn from the play by Patrick Hamilton, and is shot with long takes and edited to appear as one continuous shot - much like watching a one-act play.  Beyond these two oddities, the movie has little to recommend it.  The action is slow and relies heavily on the dialog - a style I usually enjoy - but the dialog is stilted (even for upper class 1948 society).  The plot is interesting on the surface, but it couldn't hold up for 80 minutes.  Overall, a disappointment that I wouldn't recommend.

And, finally, on the "fun" side of horror - The Munsters and the Great Camera Caper - a mid-elementary level book from 1965, based on the television show.  This was one of five pop-culture books I nabbed at a second-hand store recently. 

This is a fun story with cute illustrations.  It stays true to the characters from the TV show and their slap-stick style black humor.  Sadly, it wouldn't translate well to a new generation.  The characters are barely described, assuming that the reader is already familiar with them. It would leave today's 4th grader confused.  But, as a fan of the show, and of the correct reading age not long after this was published, I got a kick out of the trip down memory lane.  

Stop by Jenn's Bookshelves for reviews of all types Halloween-related genres of books and movies, author interviews, guest posts, and prizes.  


  1. Sorry to hear that you didn't like Rope. I first saw it at a film class in college, and it is one of my favorite Hitchcocks. I am still on the library waiting list for Gone Girl and beginning to wonder if I'll ever make it to the front of the queue ... sigh

  2. Could I read Key to the Treasure for my "hauntingly good" October book? :)

    Good reviews though!

  3. The book sounds interesting; I have a love/hate relationship with mysteries like this. I always want to find out what happens and am tempted to read the last few pages, but might have to check this one out.

    great reviews!


  4. Ohhhh, I loved Gone Girl. Loved. It. I read another one of her books I liked it so much. She's dark and twisty and creepy... and I love it! :)

  5. I also loved Gone Girl. :)

    As we discussed on my blog, I am a huge Hitchcock fan, but I didn't like Rope very much, either. (But I love Rear Window and Vertigo, plus Psycho, The Birds and North by Northwest.) I'm trying to work my way through all of his movies, but that's getting harder because the ones I've seen are the ones they show all the time. :)

  6. "Rope" came up some how today and both my husband and I realized we'd never seen it. Sounds we haven't missed a thing. Don't think I'll make any effort to get a hold of a copy.

  7. Thanks for participating in Murder, Monsters & Mayhem! I LOVED Gone Girl!

  8. LOL! I love that you've included Gone Girl here. I'm helping host a Dueling Monsters battle--Hannibal Lecter versus Patrick Bateman (think American Psycho)--I think that Amy Dunne could take BOTH of them!

  9. Enjoyed seeing Alfred Hitchcock again. It's been a long time. I've never seen Rope. Will have to look for it. I have seen Rear Window. It also starred James Stewart. Haven't seen Rope. Will have to look for it.