Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review | The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum, Lucky McKee

The Secret Life Souls is a thriller from Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee.

At the heart of this psychological suspense novel is the haunting depiction of a family’s fall and the extraordinary gifted dog, Caity, who knows the truth. As the drama unfolds Caity evolves from protector to savior, from scapegoat to prop, and eventually, from avenger to survivor. She is an unselfish soul in a selfish world—and she is written with depth and grace by authors Ketchum and Mckee, who display a profound understanding of a dog’s complex emotions. With her telling instincts and her capacity for joy and transformative love, Caity joins the pantheon of great dogs in contemporary literature.

Eleven year old actress Delia Cross is beautiful, talented, charismatic. A true a star in the making. Her days are a blur of hard work on ­set, auditions and tutors. Her family—driven, pill­-popping stage mother Pat, wastrel dad Bart, and introverted twin brother Robbie—depends on her for their upscale lifestyle. Delia in turn depends on Caity, her beloved ginger Queensland Heeler—and loyal friend—for the calming private space they share. Delia is on the verge of a professional break through. But just as the contracts are about to be signed, there is a freak accident that puts Delia in the danger zone with only Caity to protect her.

The Secret Life of Souls is one of the books I've been wanting to go back and give a proper review. It was released during my complete internet hiatus (November was an ugly month), but I've also had a hard time writing a review for it. It's a pretty short book, and all the things I love about it are tied to events in the story that I don't want to give away. I will just have to gush about it on the whole.

First of all, this is obviously a dog book. When I heard Jack Ketchum wrote a book about a gifted dog, well, it's harder to want a book more than I wanted The Secret Life of Souls. There are not enough genre dogs in my life.

Even with my expectations set so high, I loved The Secret Life of Souls.

As an adult, I avoid a lot of dog books. You won't catch me going near books like Marley and Me or The Art of Racing in the Rain. My chest hurts just thinking about what may be inside of those pages. After being a die hard Dean Koontz fan, though, I long for dogs like The Secret Life of Souls' Caity. I knew I would be in great hands with Jack Ketchum. He did write Red after all - an entire book avenging the death of a dog.

I'm not trying to lull you into a false sense of security. The Secret Life of Souls is a gut wrenching read. It's a psychological thriller, and it will certainly make you uneasy, but it's a great book. And a great dog. Have I mentioned how much I love Caity?

I posted The Secret Life of Souls as one of my favorite books of 2016, but it may very well be my favorite book of last year.

8/10: Great Read

Review copy provided by publisher


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  1. I love when a book you have high expectations for does not disappoint. So glad you loved this one.

  2. Wow. That's a recommendation! You make me want to give this one a try, even though I don't normally gravitate to books with dogs (or cats) as one of the main characters. :)

    1. I think dog people will probably love it most of all, but at the end of the day it is a great thriller.

  3. My first Jack Ketchum! I have to say it was nothing like I expected, but I loved it too. Though aside from Delia, I think I felt like punching every human in this book :P

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  4. I second your thoughts on this one. Even though I know what books like Racing in the Rain and Marley in Me have in store, I'm still fool enough to read them. Heck, I even plan on reading A Dog's Purpose in February or March because I have to before I see the movie. I ADORED Caity and this book proved to me that no matter how some monsters are in books and movies, adults can always be worse and are the true monsters. Great review and I'm so glad we both loved this!

    1. You are brave! I understand, though. DOGS. :) Caity is awesome. The humans - man, monsters is a good word!

  5. I know what happens in the beginning of Red and haven't been able to bring myself to read it. It's been sitting on my shelf for probably a decade. Should I work up the bravery? My cover features a dog that looks just like my first golden retriever :(

    I also loved Caity. Such an unforgettable book.

    1. I think I read Red 15 years ago so it's been a while! I don't think the beginning was too bad. Certainly not what you could imagine it to be. I think it was just really tense. Aw, the cover looks like one of your dogs? That makes it harder! I have the red cover with the shotgun on it. In a weird way that probably set a better mood.


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