This was a decent book. I loved the twists and it was fast paced and easy to read. Thank you netgalley for making this book available to read.
This book did not move as fast as I would have liked. There was some character development, but some real plot holes that prevented the book from being enjoyable.
A woman had confessed to murdering her stepfather when she was a teen, when he went missing. A body was not found until 25 years later. She returned home to the south to a mother who hated her and a brother who ignored her. While the book had some promise, it didn't resonate with me.
The classic main character returns home and must rekindle those relationships that she fled. Except this MC returned to a small home town after the body of a man she confessed to murdering is found.
This book is very slow and told in multiple POVs, making it confusing at times and hard to keep track of what exactly is going on. The characters are extremely unlikable, and dreadfully awful that it is hard to get into the book.
I want to thank Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for an ARC.
Before reading, I saw some negative reviews but the description sounded so good that I hoped they were wrong. They weren’t. I wanted to love this book and I didn’t. The plot was good. The characters were all a little bit whack. Well more like a lot. However, I don’t have to love the characters to love the book. But I didn’t. There were glaring inconsistencies and sometimes just downright ridiculous things that I just couldn’t believe. I think the author tried a little too hard. 2 1/2 for me.
This was another one that I felt was hyped up a bunch and then when I got my hands on it, I was severely let down. I’m a hoe for a good and attractive cover, so I guess I do judge a book by its cover, but like okay, sue me. I just didn’t really get the flow of the book and I very easily was able to put it down.
Real Bad Things seems to be labeled a thriller, but I wouldn't put it in that category. This was more of a story about how 4 people react to each other & how a small town reacts when a body from a murder that was confessed to 25 years ago washes up. I didn't find it thrilling or suspenseful, but I was generally interested in what was going to happen to Jane. There were a few things that didn't add up and by the end I will still left with unanswered questions.
A psychological thriller that kept me wanting to turn pages. With good writing that keeps the slow burn alive through every page, Real Bad Things was a riveting read.
Thanks to Kelly, Thomas & Mercer, and Netgalley for an advance copy of Real Bad Things.
After Jane confessed to the murder of her stepfather and avoided being convicted (no body, no crime), she fled her hometown of Maud Bottoms, Arkansas to escape her past and try to have some semblance of a life. Twenty-five years later, flooding causes a body to surface in the river where she claimed to have left Warren and Jane knows it’s time to go home and finally face the music.
If that blurb doesn’t make you want to know more, I would just say that suspense and mystery books aren’t for you, because that is a hell of a hooking intro to this book.
I am a big fan of small town secrets, family secrets, and reparing (or not) broken relationships that were left behind. This book had all of the above and then some.
Have you ever had a book make you feel like you need a shower? Because that’s how I felt reading this. I just felt unclean and like I was being watched. Kelly did an amazing job at building a world that I could put myself into, whether I wanted to be there or not.
All of the characters are complex and well-developed, love them or hate them. There were plenty of reasons for the police to not take Jane’s confession seriously so there were no plot holes to her being let go for a crime she said she committed.
This one is slow-burn and character driven, so if you’re looking for a fast paced thriller, you won’t find it in Real Bad Things, but if you want to take your time and let a story soak into your bones and leave you feeling uneasy and not sure who to trust then you’ve got yourself a winner.
Content warning: violence, child abuse, domestic violence
Jane and her brother, Jason, live with their abusive alcoholic mom, in a very small town called Maude. The two had a very unconventional and traumatic childhood, thanks to their mother, Diane, and her slew of boyfriends that came and went throughout the years. Tensions are always high; Jane and Jason have learned to walk on eggshells around Diane and Warren- Diane’s current boyfriend who is a miserable and abusive alcoholic. A fight breaks out between Warren, Jane’s girlfriend Georgia Lee, and Jason; while acting in self-defense, Warren is struck and incapacitated. Jane and her friend arrive and help- not knowing exactly what happened, the group of teenagers dispose of the body and vow to never speak of it again. However, once police start to investigate Warren’s disappearance, Jane confesses to his murder and is sent to juvenile hall for years.
Over a decade later, the body of a male, believed to be the late Warren, washes up from the river. Jane arrives in Maude, prepared for the worst. The police investigation is resumed but under a new investigator, Benjamin, a kind-hearted and determined officer of the law. Benjamin sees discrepancies in the previous investigation and begins to think that this case isn’t as open-and-shut as it once seemed. As Benjamin conducts his new investigation, people come out of the woodwork, and the town gossip page has become very active with their opinions on the case and those involved. But, where is the truth among the clues, did Jane kill Warren like she confessed years prior?
The author, Kelly Ford, creates such an immersive environment and atmosphere of the town, Maude, the characters are complex and somewhat flawed. As the story unfolds and slowly the truth comes to light, the characters become more real and involved.
I wanted to love this. The writing was great, and the plot was set up for success. Unfortunately, I just didn't vibe with the story or characters as a whole, and DNFed it around 50%. For that reason, I won't be reviewing this on other sites. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity!
First and foremost, thank you Thomas and Mercer and Netgalley for the gifted e-book in exchange for an honest review.
When I read the synopsis of Real Bad Things, I was very intrigued and even more excited once my request was approved. Overall, it was a quick read, and I finished it within a weekend. The premise itself kept me hooked, but there were some aspects of the book that weren't for me. Every. single. character. in this book is extremely unlikeable, and it was hard at times to read a book filled with characters that I just don't connect with/feel any emotions for. I also was slightly confused by the twist at the end. And it was obviously written for shock value, but it just seemed so out of place in this book.
I have seen excellent reviews for this one, but it just was not for me.
As a young teen, Jane Mooney admitted to murdering her abusive step-father . . . and there was no body. She just up and confessed when he went missing, spent time in juvenile detention and upon release, Jane fled the small Arkansas town of Maud Bottoms, leaving behind her spiteful, revengeful mother, her cherished brother Jason, her best friend, her girlfriend Georgie Lee and some dark buried secrets. And now, twenty-five years later, ghosts have surfaced - it's a time of reckoning as the stepfather’s body has washed up after a flood. Jane is ready to face the music as she returns home knowing she’ll be arrested. What she finds upon arrival is the same old tired, gossipy, prejudice town she left years ago. Her mother is screaming for her to be arrested, her brother and best friend seem to be avoiding her, and Georgia Lee, is now a married woman town Council woman. Go figure.
Ford excels at exploiting setting to render a dark, authentic story about life in a small southern town, one with two distinct living areas -the rich high on the hill on one side of the tracks and the run down trailer park on the other side where the hopeless, the lost and sometimes abused live. A place where real bad things often happen and for the most part, no one gives a dang. This is the place Jane returns to with all its bad memories, smells, and hopelessness. Ford slowly builds a bleak picture of Jane's life as a young lesbian girl with an abusive stepfather and addict mother and a young brother she protects with her life. The tone is bleak, the pace steady as the many layers of this story are peeled back until the ugly truth is finally revealed.
Real Bad Things is a raw, gritty, intense masterpiece. I applaud Ford for consistently showcasing and taking a stand for the plight of the poor, the unusual, the different. While some of the twists in this story are foreseeable, the delivery is tension laden perfection all the way through leading to a ending some have found controversial; however, I for one couldn't see ending any other way. Not one to shy away from social issues, Ford nailed it with Real Bad Things in my opinion. I recognize this book won't be for every reader, but it held me mesmerized as I read it in mostly one sitting. I can't wait to read more from this author. Highly recommended to fans of southern noir and suspense thrillers.
A well-written, slow-burn suspenseful novel about a woman returning home to her Arkansas town years after confessing to killing her stepfather. This is dark, gritty and unpleasant, but strangely compelling.
‘Real Bad Things’ by Kelly J. Ford
A new suspense novel from a veteran writer, ‘Real Bad Things’ (Thomas & Mercer) resurrects a 25-year-old murder when the skeleton of Warren Ingram finally surfaces in a river. Lacking a body, Ingram’s step-daughter Jane Mooney was never convicted of the murder she confessed to. Now living in Boston — a place more accepting of Mooney’s sexuality than the small town of Maud, Ark. — she must now face the unresolved crime. Until … her ex-girlfriend and stepbrother also confess to the crime. Surprise after surprise keep the pages turning, though after a bit some readers might welcome more story stability. Recommended for anyone looking for a hard-boiled shocker.
Kelly Ford's new release Real Bad Things, isn't just a suspenseful story it also covers some very sensitive and serious issues in rural Arkansas.
When 4 teens make a horrible mistake that comes back to haunt them years later, more surprising information comes to light as the investigation unfolds.
Jane, her brother Jason, Georgia Lee, and even Angie are all relatable characters. It's not hard to sympathize with each one and the difficulties they all faced as teens as well as adults.
The twists come hot and heavy towards the end and what a shocker it was.
Real Bad Things by Kelly Ford tells the story of a group of teenagers involved in the disappearance of a man, stepfather to two of the teens involved. The story is told 25 years later when a body is discovered after a massive flood. Told from the perspective of two of the characters involved, we slowly learn what happened 25 years earlier and how that is affecting them currently.
I was intrigued by the premise but felt the novel was somewhat meandering, duplicative and at times confusing. However, it was compelling enough for me to read to the end and get rewarded by the conclusion.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Thomas & Mercer for the digital ARC.
Kelly J. Ford does it again! Ford's second book is masterful thriller that I stayed up all night finishing! Through a cast of characters who are messy and complicated and believable, I love how Ford explores the different ways people remember and misremember the past and how we each have our own understanding of what "the truth" of a situation is. Ford also uses her plot to tackle some of the hardest parts of life: violence, abuse, addiction, homophobia, racism, classism, poverty. Ford does not shy away from anything in REAL BAD THINGS, and shines a light on issues people are often quick to sweep under the rug. Congratulations, Kelly J. Ford! Can't wait for book #3!!!
Real Bad Things.
First, I’d like to thank Netgalley, Thomas & Mercer, and Kelly J. Ford for a DRC of Real Bad Things.
After twenty-five years, a body is found near the dam on the Arkansas River near Maud, AR., a divided town of the well-to-do – Maud Proper, and Maud Bottom, for the struggling unfortunates like Jane, who have always found life a struggle. For Jane Mooney, the probability that the body is Warren Ingram, her stepfather whose murder she confessed to at the age of seventeen, it brings back a terrible period in her life. When she hears the news, she leaves her unsettled life in Boston, MA and returns to face whatever awaits her in Maud.
In Real Bad Things, Jane confronts her past that is littered with strained relationships: her mother, Diane, who insists on making every second of Jane’s return a deep regret, her former girlfriend, Georgia Lee, who is now married and has two boys, her half-brother, Jason, who resists Jane’s efforts to rekindle their sibling closeness from decades earlier, and good friend, Angie, whose anger after all these years later puzzles Jane.
Ford deftly leads her readers through the story using the alternative viewpoints of Jane and Georgia Lee. She shows that memory can be an unreliable tool, especially when you draw conclusions based on incomplete information. It seems all these characters have a secret to tell and it’s only when each of them raises their curtain of deception that Jane has any chance at freedom and peace.
The storyline for Real Bad Things should have made for a page turner - murder, family and suspense - it fell short on keeping my attention.
The characters were somehow not relatable to me, I didn’t connect fully and found myself asking questions. I waited as I continued reading for some clues or answers. Unfortunately there wasn’t a conclusion that rounded out the story for me.
Thanks to the publisher, NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read this book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Real Bad Things is creepy, atmospheric and darkly humorous. The sarcasm and wit that came along with these characters elevated this story for me. I personally would have stayed gone but Ford wrote Jane’s character so well that her motivations made sense and were realistic. I really enjoyed this.