These Toxic Things - Book Review

These Toxic Things - Book Review

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Posted 2023-11-10 by Jennifer Muirheadfollow


Mickie is a 'digital archaeologist' who creates virtual scrapbooks for wealthy clients. She uses technology such as voice recordings and holograms to create records of precious objects so that the memories associated with them will not be lost. When she is hired by Nadia Denham, an elderly woman recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Mickie is excited to visit Nadia's curiosity shop and help curate a scrapbook for her. But then Nadia is found dead, having apparently committed suicide, and Mickie is left to continue the project alone to honour the old woman's last wish. Soon she finds that the artifacts seem to be connected with something sinister and starts receiving threatening messages warning her to leave the past in the past.

These Toxic Things is a gripping new thriller by Rachel Howzell Hall, the critically acclaimed author of And Now She's Gone and They All Fall Down.

I was intrigued by the premise of this book, and probably as excited as Mickie was to find out the story behind each of the artifacts in the story. However, I kept getting annoyed with Mickie as a character. Mr Kim, the locksmith in the book, wasn't wrong when he called her nosy. There's a part where she is outraged that her parents have locked the door to their bedroom and can't understand why they would. Um... Maybe to stop you from going in there and rooting through all their private belongings you nosy cow?! It's a bedroom. Bedrooms are private. It gave me a perverse sense of satisfaction when she inevitably found something she'd rather not have seen in there. I suppose this irritating trait at least served to set Mickie apart from the protagonists of the last few thrillers I have read and to make her feel like a more real, rounded individual. It also made a change to read a thriller with a person of colour as the hero.

The identity of the killer seemed fairly obvious from about halfway through the book, but there was enough going on with the plot and the characters to keep me interested all the same. However, I disliked the chapters written from the point of view of the killer, which didn't seem to add much to the story.

Overall, These Toxic Things is an original and exciting thriller with a flawed protagonist and an unusual premise. Its 400 pages will go by surprisingly quickly.

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Thomas & Mercer, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Published: September 1, 2021

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83941 - 2023-06-11 06:47:45

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