Thanks to Amazon Publishing and Lake Union Books for the free copies in exchange for our honest reviews
THE POISON GARDEN – A.J. Banner (Releasing October 22nd, 2019)
You can see my thoughts on A.J. Banner’s other book, AFTER NIGHTFALL, here!
A woman’s idyllic life becomes a deceptive hall of mirrors in a thriller of exquisitely constructed psychological suspense by A. J. Banner, bestselling author of The Good Neighbor.
Elise Watters seems to have it all—a blissful marriage, a gorgeous Victorian home surrounded by lush gardens, and a dream job running her late mother’s herbal boutique.
But on the eve of her first wedding anniversary, Elise makes a shocking discovery that turns her life upside down and casts doubt on everything she thought she knew—about her marriage, her friends, and even herself. As she treads into dangerous territory, Elise is forced to wonder: Is her whole future at stake? Or is paranoia getting the best of her?
If she is to believe what she sees, Elise has every reason to fear for her life…
Chandra’s Thoughts: 2/5 stars
This is my fourth A.J. Banner book and I have rated them all exactly the same until this one. The other three were three star ratings and this one I knocked down a star because it was my least favorite. While still entertained, this one jumped the shark a bit and I kind of wish I had been dosed with some Juliet. *shrug*
Banner’s books are what I call surface thrillers. She takes off at warp speed from the very get go and a LOT happens in just over 200 pages. A LOT. You HAVE to suspend reality. You HAVE to accept that you’re not going to get any depth with the characters and just enjoy the ride. All of these characters are a bit ridiculous. The plot is a bit out there, but that’s what I’ve come to expect and as such, my expectations have been fully met!
This one felt a bit more all over the place than the other books. My head felt a bit spinny after turning that last page. I was somewhat happy it was over with but at the same time, I thought “that’s all?” Was I entertained? Yes, I actually was. I started thinking of this as a sordid Lifetime movie gone awry. And there ain’t NOTHING wrong with that!
I can’t help myself, I’ll continue to read Banner’s work because I find them fun for a light binge read.
My Thoughts: 3/5 stars
This is my second book by A.J. Banner, my first being AFTER NIGHTFALL, and this one I didn’t enjoy quite as much. THE POISON GARDEN was just over 200 pages, so this is definitely a binge read and one you can easily finish in one sitting or within an afternoon. So in that regard I found it really quick to get through and I enjoyed that!
Elise has the perfect life. A wonderful husband, great friends, a successful business in a herbal boutique, and a beautiful home. Of course, things aren’t always as they seem. As she approaches her first wedding anniversary she discovers things that could unravel her entire life. Are things really coming undone or is her paranoia getting the best of her?
Things felt a little scattered at the beginning and I wasn’t sure how all of these pieces were going to come together, towards the middle things started to fall into place and that really helped pick up the pacing. You really need to suspend some belief when picking up a suspense/thriller from Banner, which isn’t always a bad thing! Prepare for some crazy paranoia and almost a feeling of whiplash by the end.
While I didn’t love this as much as I was hoping to, I will continue to try out more from Banner in the future. I have a few others on her backlist to pick up that I’ve heard great things from! There are plenty of 5 star reviews for this one, so if you’re looking for a really quick suspense read, then this will be perfect for you.