Theme Music: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
An utterly propulsive and unpredictable psychological thriller from stunning new talent T. Marie Vandelly
She didn't run from her dark past. She moved in.
For the lucky among us, life is what you make of it; but for Dixie Wheeler, the theme music for her story was chosen by another long ago, on the day her father butchered her mother and brothers and then slashed a knife across his own throat. Only one-year-old, Dixie was spared, becoming infamously known as Baby Blue for the song left playing in the aftermath of the slaughter.
Twenty-five years later, Dixie is still desperate for a connection to the family she can’t remember. So when her childhood home goes up for sale, Dixie sets aside all reason and moves in. But as the ghosts of her family seemingly begin to take up residence in the house that was once theirs, Dixie starts to question her own sanity and wonders if the evil force menacing her is that of her father or a demon of her own making. In order to make sense of her present, Dixie becomes determined to unravel the truth of her past and seeks out the detective who originally investigated the murders. But the more she learns, the more she opens up the uncomfortable possibility that the sins of her father may belong to another.
As bodies begin to pile up around her, Dixie must find a way to expose the lunacy behind her family’s massacre to save her few loved ones who are still alive - and whatever scrap of sanity she has left.
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|Listening Length||14 hours and 28 minutes|
|Author||T. Marie Vandelly|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 23, 2019|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #9,982 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#367 in Psychological Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,053 in Suspense (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,233 in Psychological Thrillers (Books)
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Top reviews from the United States
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Theme Music is my kind of book. Admittedly, my kind of book changes with the wind but today my kind of book is snarky and bloody and emotional and a rollercoaster of “what the heck is happening here?!!”
The prologue was HORRIFYING and it completely hooked me. Read it, if you love it I think you’re going to love the book. If it’s too much to take, read the book anyway but don’t blame me! This book contains one of the best prologues I’ve read in maybe forever. It made me cringe, laugh and question my sanity for the laughter. That’s some skill right there and it continues throughout the book. I LOVED the dark humor of the heroine so much. Words cannot express how much. Without it, this book may have been entirely too dark to handle at this point in my life. As written, it was my kind of perfection.
I don’t want to spoil the book for you so I’m going to be my typical lazy self and tell you very little. Win/win, right? You should be spending your time reading the book instead of my stupid review, anyway. So here’s the plot. It’s a simple one on the surface but it’s really not simple at all. Dixie rents a house. It is probably haunted. This is why she moves in despite a brief moment where she thinks perhaps this maybe isn’t the best of plans.
“I don’t think it’s right for me... To disturb the dead”
But she does it anyway, haha! See why I love Dixie? She begins to investigate the decades-old murders and discovers the truth may not be the truth she’s always assumed was the truth. How’s that for a sentence?! Ha, reviewer of the year award right there. Anyway, that’s all I’m saying and it’s likely too much.
This book has echoes of The Amityville Horror and The Haunting of Hill House and all of those chilling and blood-splattered haunted house stories we all love so much but it is told from Dixie’s point of view and as much as we might love her, we’re not always sure we can trust her but through it all, I never doubted my kinship with her. She’s morbid and she’s obsessed and she keeps the reader, as well as everyone around her, a little off-kilter.
“I only lied to you because I didn’t want to tell you the truth” 😹
This is no doubt a wonderfully obsessive, creepy haunted house tale but it’s absolutely captivating and immersive because of the writing. Dixie drags you into her head and her whacked out world and you fall right in never quite knowing if Dixie is telling herself the truth. She also has a beautiful way of attributing scents to people, one that isn’t included nearly enough in the horror novels I typically read. “There was a warm, somnolent maple scent filling the air around him. Garrett smelled like that sometimes, too, as though he had been baking all night at a low temperature.” I don’t why but I LOVED that lovely sensory description so very much.
I loved this book with all that’s left of my heart if I haven’t made that clear enough yet. I will not say a negative thing. It kept me guessing throughout. My notes are filled with all the wrong guesses and here I was thinking I was getting better at this mystery game having read way too many lurid thrillers of late! The author was able to pull me in at a time when my brain was terribly distracted by - oh everything. She caught my attention with the creeps and the humor but she kept me with the strong emotional ties and the originally written heroine.
Amazing stuff. Go read it! And then make all of your horror pals read it.
The other issue, I had, is that I thought the ending was drawn out. I didn't think it would ever end. I had to push myself to finish the last few chapters. Maybe this is because I had it figured out early on. It was pretty obvious, to me. Also, the last few chapters were kind of disjointed and chaotic.
Overall, it's not a bad debut novel. I think the author put a lot into this book, and I'll be sure to check out her next book.
The Bad: I felt like the whodunit is obvious in my opinion, and a big part of that is the lack of realistic police procedures. The Rory storyline also fell flat to me. At one point in the novel I actually contemplated not finishing the novel (A rarity for me that has only happened once in the last 5 years) because it was stretching my suspension of disbelief. I chose to press on and I'm glad I did, but by the end I was convinced that this characters entire involvement in the novel diminished it in my eyes.
The In Between: The amount of plot twists present fell into a weird gray area for me. Some of them really caught my attention, while others were a bit too outlandish. Most of the other characters present I enjoyed, even if some of their actions seemed out of place.
Overall: After reading this novel, I had to pause to debate on where I would put it on my rating scale. In the end I decided on a middle ground of three. Is this a novel that made me gasp when it was all over? No. But do I think it's worth a read? Yes. Overall, I enjoyed reading the novel enough to to look forward to future novels from the author.
Top reviews from other countries
Twenty five years later, Dixie is still searching for answers to her past and when her old house comes on the market, she can’t help but be drawn to it. Now a normal person would just run the other way, but Dixie ends up moving in. And just to tip the crazy scales a bit more, she stages the house exactly how it was during the murders.
As she digs deeper into her past, strange occurrences begin to unravel her fragile psyche. Seeing her dead family come to life within the walls of the house, Dixie questions her sanity, the events from that day and everything she’s been told to believe.
My thoughts? I quite enjoyed this book. It was pretty gruesome and gave me the heebie-jeebies and not so nice dreams at times. The story flowed well and kept me interested. Although definitely more horror than thriller, there was a bit of dark humour thrown in as well. If you’re looking for a crime thriller or police procedural I wouldn’t recommend this but if you’re curious about your “blood bucket”, pick this one up!
Not worth the time ...