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Saturday, November 21, 2020

Review: Wonderland by Jennifer Hillier

by Jennifer Hillier

Publisher: Pocket Star
Publish Date: October 5, 2015
Kindle Edition
312 Pages
Genre: Thriller

Welcome to Wonderland. By day, it’s a magical place boasting a certain retro charm. Excited children, hands sticky with cotton candy, run frenetically from the Giant Octopus ride to the Spinning Sombrero, while the tinkling carnival music of the giant Wonder Wheel—the oldest Ferris wheel in the Pacific Northwest—fills the air. But before daybreak, an eerie feeling descends. Maybe it’s the Clown Museum, home to creepy wax replicas of movie stars and a massive collection of antique porcelain dolls. Or maybe it’s the terrifyingly real House of Horrors. Or…maybe it’s the dead, decaying body left in the midway for all the Wonder Workers to see.

Vanessa Castro’s first day as deputy police chief of Seaside, Washington, is off to a bang. The unidentifiable homeless man rotting inside the tiny town’s main tourist attraction is strange enough, but now a teenage employee—whose defiant picture at the top of the Wonder Wheel went viral that same morning—is missing. As the clues in those seemingly disparate crimes lead her down a mysterious shared path of missing persons that goes back decades, she suspects the seedy rumors surrounding the amusement park’s dark history might just be true. She moved to Seaside to escape her own scandalous past, but has she brought her family to the center of an insidious killer’s twisted game? Acclaimed author Jennifer Hillier’s bone-chilling thriller is masterful and fast-paced, hurtling toward a shocking, bloody conclusion.

My Review:

Are you a fan of amusement parks?  I LOVE roller coasters and cotton candy, and hot dogs and that big boat where you're screaming "GREAT TASTE" and the other side yells "LESS FILLING"!  Though every single "haunted house" type thing always made me giggle more than retreat in fear.  I do think that if there was a Clown House and Doll House, I'm not certain I would enter those because *shiver*.  I certainly wouldn't take a job being a live doll.... it makes the hair stand up just thinking about it!  

These characters have got some baggage, y'all.  I must admit that I did fall in love with Castro and would LOVE to see a series continuing her life.  She just felt VERY real in her trying to transverse working as the new deputy police chief in a new small town, the aftermath of her husband's death and all that entailed and being a mother of two.  PHEW - I'm tired just writing that. Hillier had me giving the side eye to EVERY single character and I still didn't figure it out.  Though the reveal wasn't *too* shocking, I certainly didn't see it coming either. 

Hillier has very quickly become one of my favorite thriller authors.  JAR OF HEARTS and LITTLE SECRETS are must reads.  She brings us some of the creepiest villains with all too relatable characters.  I was so excited to finally read WONDERLAND and it was worth every single word.  Now I must go back further in her backlist and read CREEP and FREAK.  I can't recommend Hillier enough to thriller lovers out there.  If you're ever looking for a good thriller to read, you really can't go wrong with her work.


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