A Thousand Steps (A Book Review)

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. This helps keep my blog ad-free.

Here is a mystery that takes you back to the late 60s scene in California, with hippies, experimental drugs, bands, VW vans, wild parties, etc. If you dig this era, then you’ll enjoy reading A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker.


Matt is the central character: a teenage boy with an absentee dad and a druggie mom, living by his own wits, working a paper route odd jobs, and fishing and visiting the local food pantry to get enough food to eat. (My mother heart went out to him.)


When Matt’s sister goes missing, no one seems to take it seriously. They assume she went off on her own for some reasons of her own, but Matt believes something has happened to her. He is determined to find her, and doggedly looks for clues and refuses to give up searching until he does.


Along the way, he has run-ins with cops and gangsters, experiences his first tastes of teenage love, works hard to keep himself fed and clothed, and to convince the adults around him that his sister needs their help.


This book felt a bit lengthy, but perhaps that was the author’s intent to portray Matt on a long and sometimes tedious path of sifting through possible evidence for clues (with many frustrating dead ends and false hopes in between) that will lead him to his sister.


Was it worth reading? Yes! It was a fascinating look into the past and a good mystery as well.
If this time period interests you, give A Thousand Steps a read.

*I received a free e-galley from Net Galley in return for my honest review.

The Temple House Vanishing (A Book Review)

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. This helps keep my blog ad-free.

I first heard about The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue from a recent R.J. Julia newsletter in which she shared her bookstore staff’s favorite pics. It sounded like a book I’d like to read, so I ordered it right away. And it was satisfyingly what I was hoping for: dark, heavily atmospheric, reminding me of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, except this story is set in Ireland in the 1990s and is about the madness of adolescent obsession.

Lonely Louisa comes to Temple House, a private Catholic school run by nuns. She’s a scholarship student, so is ostracized and bullied by anyone who is anyone at the school. With her parents’ recent divorce, Louisa feels angry, conflicted, and lost, like she belongs nowhere.

She meets Victoria, a pretentious, sophisticated, seemingly confident girl who appears to have a special relationship with Mr. Lavelle, the gorgeous young art teacher. Intent on impressing Victoria and Mr. Lavelle, Louisa attempts to fit in, with her writing, her literary choices, and her conversation all tailored to please.

Jealousy among Mr. Lavelle’s favorites builds tension that leads to a public declaration of love by one student that sends the school into a spin. And shortly after, Mr. Lavelle and Louisa vanish into the mist one night never to be heard of again.

Twenty-five years later, a journalist who used to live on Louisa’s street decides to uncover the truth. Did Mr. Lavelle and Louisa really run away together? Is there more to the story that Victoria’s been keeping back all these years? The journalist begins digging and asking questions and finds a story darker and more disturbing than anyone imagined.

If you like dark, mysterious, atmospheric tales set by the seaside, you will enjoy The Temple House Vanishing.