Cover Image: Mary


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Member Reviews

If you're like me, you love reading spooky novels around Halloween. Mary: An Awakening of Terror is one of my first spooky reads of the season, and it did an excellent job of sending chills down my spine!

Mary is one of those people that blends perfectly in with a crowd. She would never be identified in a line-up, as nothing about her stands out. Or rather, nothing about her that stood out. But something is changing inside. It's only time before those changes are reflected on the outside.

Mary has been dealing with all sorts of issues, from hot flashes to terrifying visions. Worse, these visions are getting more vivid with time. And they're starting to line up with real-life murders.

Ohhh! I love this time of the year! Halloween always encourages authors to come out with new and spookier reads, and Mary is no exception! I knew this book would be a paranormal read, but it's so much more!

Picture how a novel would feel if it blended body horror with paranormal events. Now you have an idea of how Mary felt. It had dark and twisted vibes, while the lead character is stuck trying to understand what is happening to her body.

It's a lot, and that certainly adds to the horror. In truth, Mary is a slow-burn horror novel, which is the best type. It takes a while for things to get rolling, but by then, it's far too late to back out.

I had never thought to seek out a horror novel that blends menopause with more horrifying tropes, but it works! Though I was surprised/impressed by the author's ability to portray certain events accurately. Bonus points for that.

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A surprising and horrifying tale awaits in Mary. Although many elements may seem familiar at first, each moment builds to a truly twisted turn taking you to very unexpected territory.

The story also does not hold back when it comes time for some truly graphic horror. Those with an active imagination should be prepared for some challenging visuals to present themselves.

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A coworker recommended this to me. I was intrigued at first and very much unsettlingly related to the main character at first. I was very much into this book, but didn’t feel the ending did it justice. It was good, and I will say so, but wish the ending had been different.

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“There’s a corpse in the bathtub.”
What an opening sentence.

The town of Arroyo, Arizona has a strange vibe to it—the residents seem slightly strange, and there’s a giant house in the center of town where brutal murders took place. Mary Mudgett was born the day these murders took place, and returns to Arroyo near her fiftieth birthday. Mary is a strange woman. She doesn’t have a lot of friends and prefers the company of her porcelain dolls, or her Loved Ones. She can’t look women in the eye, because if she stares too long, their faces begin to melt into terrifying effigies of themselves.

The plot of Mary is fascinating. I love any book that has a strange small town with some secrets, but Mary herself was really frustrating. She’s supposed to be a fifty year old woman, but she seems more like an overgrown teenager. (Further into the story we learn some other things that make this even worse, but those are spoilers.) I understand that she’s a flawed character with some trauma, but it really doesn’t explain some of the choices she made. I’m glad she had some character growth, but by the end, I really wasn’t a big fan.

I also wish we could have seen more about the original murders. I knew they weren’t the main point of the story, but maybe a little more background would have helped me get into the story before Mary was introduced. Even though I’ve given Mary a three star rating, I still recommend it to anyone who loves a nice small town with secrets they hide from outsiders. There’s also a haunted house, and some creepy kids.

Thank you to Tor Nightfire and NetGalley for the chance to read this advanced review copy. All opinions are my own.

CW for animal death, murder, blood, gore, body horror, misogyny, animal cruelty, sexual assault, sexual violence, racism, and homophobia

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Review for Nat Cassidy’s MARY will be published in an upcoming issue of SCREAM Magazine. The writing is excellent- a great character study of a premenopausal woman. Creepy vibes!

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This was such an engrossing read. Everytime I thought I knew where this was going, I was wrong. I think animal lovers should be warned, because nobody is safe in this story.

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What an extremely weird book. Weird isn't a bad thing, just make sure your expect weird going into this one. Overall I liked the story. I just wasn't expecting what happened.

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5 start review of this book is coming to The Scariest Things! I loved it! all the characters were well done and I was scared and also laughing throughout the book. However, my biggest shock was reading the authors note after finishing and learning who was writing this woman going through her menopause journey...

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Mary.... what a fun and creepy little read.

This is a horror focusing on mid-life womanhood. It has Carrie vibes from Stephen King which I loved.

Mary is definitely unhinged from the beginning and you start to creep into her mind and the unsettling darkness starts to unfold as each chapter presents itself.

I do have to say that this was extremely long and I don't feel that this was needed. I was getting bored. I'm more of a person that enjoys shorter novels when it packs a punch!! :)

Overall, it was decent.

Thank you to the publisher and Nat Cassidy for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

3.5/5 stars

Pub date: 7/19/22
Published to GR: 9/13/22

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You know what they say: there’s something about Mary. I absolutely loved this book and everything about it--in fact, it's one of two books I've ever read that I had to verify the author was male as the female protag was written so perfectly it was hard to believe she didn't originate in a woman's mind (to that end, I very much appreciate Cassidy's afterword on the same). Mary is a tortured creature but unapologetically herself, and as both a victim and a villain she shines throughout the horror of this book.

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Thank you Netgalley, author, and the publishers for allowing me the opportunity to read this e-arc.

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I think that this book was good, but I think some of the horror elements were lacking a bit. It did not scare me as much as I was hoping that it would. I also thought it was a bit to long and could have been concluded in a fewer amount of pages. It was engaging though and I would recommend for people who are new to horror and don't want to sleep with the lights off for a couple nights.

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My first thoughts after finishing this book - Wow. This was weird. Disturbing. Gory. But also amazing? I loved it. It was so well done and I was hooked from the beginning. I loved all of the components of the story. Mary's Aunt Nadine is probably one of my favorite characters ever because she's an absolute riot. Some of her lines made me laugh out loud at the sheer absurdity. It was great. This story has lots of components that I enjoy - serial killers, cults, ghosts and just a whole weird vibe. It's probably the most gruesome book that I've read but I never felt like it was over the top. Overall this book was everything I wanted in a horror story and then some. Unbelievably well done!

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the gifted copy in exchange for my honest review

Every time I pick up a new horror book I’m reminded why I love the genre and why I need more of it in my life. This was super gory at times and I enjoyed it all. What I loved seeing was that the author included a content warning at the beginning of the book – this way you can either prepare yourself mentally or decide that it’s not for you before starting. This book puts you square in Mary’s head space and, wow, talk about a very memorable character. I had a lot of fun with this book and I’m glad I pushed through the couple of lulls I hit. It is 400+ page book so I feel like the pacing can sometimes slow in that length but otherwise it was a solid and bloody read!

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Thank you NetGalley for letting me read this title early in exchange for my honest review.

Wow. I don’t even really know where or how to start. The entire time I was reading this slow burn, I wanted it to move faster so I knew what was going on and now that it’s over, I’m sad. This was so well written; it was gory, poignant, gruesome, beautiful. The story was gripping in a way that I haven’t ever experienced before. The twists that came were unexpected and everything was just done really, really well. You can tell the author went as far as he needed to go in order to do justice for this story.

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A fun and refreshing take on the "female insanity" and "bullied youth" tropes. A Shirley Jackson for the modern times. Nat Cassidy delivers a complex and well paced tale with plenty of jumps and chills.

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There’s a lot to love about this book. But to start, I will warn you that there is a particularly difficult scene depicting rape/torture that you might want to skim over or skip entirely. It’s uncomfortable and hard to read. When you see a mention of stirrups, beware.

The author mentions that he drew inspiration (initially) for this story from Stephen King’s Carrie and what she’d be like if she were older. You can see a lot of that inspiration in this book which I loved. There’s a lot of bullying and trauma that Mary has lived through in her almost 50 years. When Mary receives a call from her Aunt Nadine asking her to come back to her home town to care for her, enough bad things have been happening in Mary’s life in New York that push her to accept her Aunt’s offer and return to the desert.

Mary begins remembering the horrors of her youth piece by piece after returning home. She is meek and insecure and invisible. Mary begins writing strange things in her journal that she cannot remember writing, and starts seeing ghosts of women who had been killed by serial killer Damon Cross 50 years before. Mary gets a temporary job at the old Cross house, which has been converted into the town hospital and school, organizing the medical files that were disorganized when the hospital was moved. Strange things continue to happen, and Mary tries to find answers with the help of her new friend Eleanor, a teenager obsessed with true crime podcasts.

Without spoiling the story, there are a lot of twists and turns and supernatural things at work in this book. There’s a strange religious cult and lots and lots of blood and gore. Mary’s character development is fantastic as she learns to love and accept herself as she is. I will say, I was almost disappointed and angry with the ending and the FBI agent, but it does wrap up nicely.

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Nat Cassidy

Mary is middle-aged or rather old and getting older by the day. And one day, like no other day, she begins to experience unexplainable things. Things that don’t happen to women like Mary.

This was a lot of fun. Mary was a fun character. At first I thought she was going to be written as a deviant and she was nothing of the sort.

There is a meandering quality to the storyline. And for a horror book that doesn’t have a big story structure it feels long. I think they could have trimmed it down.

Imagine falling asleep in the bath and having an out-of-body experience. That is this book in a nutshell. And it is as scary as the day you stop being carded at the bar.

Overall though, for me, MARY was a mix. I think the book was a great concept and Mary as a character was well articulated and very clear. However, the story itself lacked the clarity and succinctness I like in horror fiction.

As a side note, I listened to this on audiobook and thought that Susan Bennett, the narrator, did a fantastic job. She added authenticity to her character and her voice is now forever intertwined with Mary in my mind.


Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan Audio, Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire for the advanced copies!

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I ended up enjoying this much more than I originally thought I would, especially after reading a few less than glowing reviews. This book definitely has a certain disjointed, almost frenetic style, which admittedly took me a while to get into. Once I had a feel for the writing and the story, however, the style seemed perfect for this book! Readers spend a huge percentage of this book inside Mary's head, inhabiting her thoughts, which often become invasive and feel totally alien to her. She ends up in her childhood town, which is small and tight-knit, with maybe something more sinister going on just below the surface.

This book doesn't try to be nice. It's intensely gory, with detailed descriptions of mutilation, injuries, and death of animals. There's some implied rape and lots of descriptions of Mary's own experiences as a perimenopausal woman, which makes for less than pleasant reading. This was a book I had to read in stops and starts, as it was pretty grim and started affecting my moods. If you like more literary horror (think Stephen King's doorstopper books), and are fine with all the triggers, I think this was a very well-written book and genuinely creepy.

An ARC of this book was provided to me by Netgalley. My reviews are entirely my own.

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this book is DISTURBING. the scene with the aunt and her "loved ones" i doubt i will recover. it has so many twists and turns and the overall vibe just keeps you on edge. i would highly recommend.

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