Title: These Ghosts Bleed
Author: Christy Aldridge
Release date: June 8, 2021
I did not expect the brutality that awaited within ‘These Ghosts Bleed.’ I’m torn between not saying a single word about it and telling you what to prepare yourself for because JFC Aldridge goes places only Cannibal Corpse lyrics dare venture. There you go. That’s your warning.
Truth be told, Aldridge is a new to me author. It was one of those times when I was scrolling Twitter and a mutual follower had liked her release day post. I loved the cover, LOVED the synopsis and so I promptly snagged a copy for my Kindle. I then apologized to my 1000 Kindle books on my TBR list and bumped this up to the top. Glad I did.
What I liked: Ok, I’m going to share something that I don’t believe is a spoiler, but I want to let people know going in – the start of the book focuses heavily on the aftermath of Anna having committed suicide and her grieving husband trying to figure out how to go on. But not in the normal sense. You see, Allen just may well be the most despicable character I’ve ever read. Narcissistic, abusive, and a womanizer, he views ever woman as a conquest. Being a doctor, some play it off as him just being arrogant, but that is far from the truth.
Aldridge does a fantastic job of making you want to push him down a flight of stairs. When he discovers Anna’s secret computer files that contain her novels she wrote to try and mentally escape from Allen’s abuse and her losing their child during pregnancy, you just know he’s not going to be respectful, but will instead attempt to use it for personal gain.
But as things unravel, Anna hasn’t left. Her ghost still is around and this ghost is not a peaceful spirit. It’s in these scenes, when Anna returns and torments Allen that you almost feel sorry for him. Anna does what she can to make sure he’s not happy and that doesn’t matter if it means hurting those who are with him.
I wish I could say just a bit more about Anna’s torment and what happens in the final quarter of this book, because it is just grotesque and cathartic and will make you squirm and smile. The ending was fantastic and Aldridge did a fantastic job of completing Allen’s downward spiral. His breakdown happens over many, short punchy chapters, but when it finally completes, it is stunning.
What I didn’t like: Gah! I hate this when the one little thing that bothered me is something I can’t actually say. What I will mention, is that one character never really had a resolution and that’s what frustrated me. I wanted to see it, but it never happened. If you’ve read this and want to discuss let me know, otherwise I won’t say anything else.
Why you should buy this: I mean, look at that cover! And the synopsis! And Aldridge can write like nobody’s business. This book snaps along and delivers moments of tenderness and savagery that hook into the reader and pull them along. I had a blast with this one and am so glad I took the chance and snapped it up. At this point, I have this slotted in my ‘Top 10 of the Year’ list, and I think it will take a lot to bump it off.
I hope somebody reading this review does the same, because I can guarantee you, you’ll be happy you did.