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Let the Right One In is a Swedish horror novel written by John Ajvide Lindqvist and published by St. Martin’s Griffin in 2004. In 2008, the novel was translated to English by Ebba Segerberg to follow the release of the film adaptation. An American remake, titled Let Me In, was released in 2010.

Set in 1981, Blackeberg, Stockholm, Oskar survives constant bullying and neglect. As he slowly gives in to his anger, he meets a mysterious new girl who only comes out at night. Eli seems to hold her secrets that she’s reluctant to share. As Stockholm becomes more dangerous, the two take comfort in their growing friendship.

Let the Right One In
Original American Cover

What I like

This novel is a cluster of perspectives contributing something to a holistic narrative. I am not much a fan of multiple points of view, especially when several characters appear and some don’t even carry over past one chapter, but this novel is one of the few exceptions. Somehow, Lindqvist hooks me in as I read the perspective of a squirrel with no break in immersion or eye-roll annoyance.

The writing is enthralling if a bit chaotic.

Little is black and white, as the novel deals with serious and sensitive subjects. I won’t claim a perfect execution, but it does not hold back. Not in pessimistic “humans are the real monsters” but in a mature understanding that we all can be monsters.

I had heard John Ajvide Lindqvist called the Swedish Stephen King. While these comparisons are often too simplistic, I understand the impulse. They both have a talent for bringing their own twists on old fables, but that’s where the similarities end for me.

Let Me In Cover
American Reprint for Let Me In

Word of Warning

I’ve opted for a disclaimer as opposed to a “dislike” section because I can’t honestly claim to dislike anything directly. However, this is a dark novel beyond what the movies displayed in adaptation. Many aspects were left purposely vague or omitted, I assume for producers or other third parties. Let the Right One In pulls no punches in presenting the darker sides of humanity, blurring the lines between who is the monster and why.

Let the Right One In is best enjoyed when you are in a comfortable headspace. Otherwise, it might be overwhelming.

Zeth M. Martinez

Final Thoughts

If you like the movies and are in a comfortable place, I certainly recommend Let the Right One In. Lindqvist combines beautiful and horrifying, enthralling and disgusting, never compromising for the reader’s comfort. If bringing new life into fables interests you, I would consider Let the Right One In.
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Thanks for reading! If you buy anything from the links below, we do get some money back.

Zeth received his M.A in English with a focus in Creative Writing at CSU, Chico. As a human writer, he published in the 9th volume of Multicultural Echoes, served on the editorial board of Watershed Review, and is a horror reviewer for Haunted MTL. All agree he is a real-life human and not an octopus in human skin. Fascinated by horror novels and their movie adaptations, Zeth channels his bone-riddled arms in their study. Games are also a tasty treat, but he only has the two human limbs to write. If you enjoy his writing, check out his website.

Book Reviews

What Have We Done: Alex Finlay Produces Another Hit

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  • Jenna: A stay at home mom with a secret assassin past
  • Donnie: An alcoholic rock star
  • Nico: An executive producer of a reality television show

They all have a past, but who is out to get them?

The Plot

Jenna, Donnie, and Nico share a troubled past. They were all orphans who lived at Savior House — which is much less savior, much more terror. When their friend Benny, a famous judge, is murdered and the FBI comes looking, Jenna, Donnie, and Nico must race against the clock to figure out who is targeting them.

The Verdict

From the author of The Night Shift, which I reviewed here, I would expect nothing less than what Finlay has delivered. Finlay notoriously creates stories with palpable thrill and spine-tingling revelations.

I particularly enjoyed the character of Jenna. She is a reformed assassin living a normal life as a new stepmom. When she is called in to make a hit and her family is threatened, she goes badass mom on ’em. While I still thought Donnie and Nico as characters were engaging, it was nothing for what I felt for Jenna.

Also, major props to Finlay for creating a character that kills with a very unique weapon. Read it to find out more!

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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Book Reviews

“The Writing Retreat” Gone Bad: Julia Bartz’s Debut

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Keeping it all in the family, Julia Bartz’s The Writing Retreat is the debut novel of the sister of Andrea Bartz, author of We Were Never Here, which I reviewed here.

I was much more impressed with The Writing Retreat than I was We Were Never Here.

The Plot

Five up and coming female writers under 30 are invited to a writing retreat hosted by the reclusive and acclaimed horror writer Rosa Vallo. Rosa reveals the details of the retreat: each writer must complete a full length novel from scratch over the next month. The best novel wins a multi-million dollar publishing deal with Rosa.

Suddenly, the retreat turns into a nightmare when one writer goes missing in the snowy terrain outside.

The novel hinges on friendships in turmoil and has a focus on LGBT+ representation as well as interpersonal female relationships. The novel explores the dark publishing world and the search for fame and the Great American Novel.

The Verdict

This novel is atmospheric and intellectual, page turning, and the English major’s required reading. I absorbed this novel and found Julia Bartz’s writing and conceptual chops to be leagues above her sister’s.

Ths novel releases on February 21, 2023 and it should be in your cart right now.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Buy it here!

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Book Reviews

A Murder in Reverse: “Wrong Place Wrong Time”

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The Plot

“A brilliantly genre-bending, mind-twisting answer to the question How far would you go to save your child?”  — Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Jen watches her son murder a stranger. Stab him to death. She and her husband, Kelly, watch as their son Todd is taken into custody.

The next morning, Jen wakes up and it’s yesterday. Jen knows that at the end of the night, her son kills someone. She is determined to stop it.

Jen goes further and further back in time trying to discover why Todd murdered a stranger and how to stop it.

The Verdict

This book is twisty. Right when you think you know the ending, something else is there to prove that the story is more multifaceted than that. While the premise of the novel is simple, Gillian McAllister elevates a simple concept with deep, dark twists.

It is best that you don’t know too much going into this one. For fans of Blake Crouch, this is such a good thriller with time travelling vibes.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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