Cover Image: Mary

Mary

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
MARY
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. 

MARY…⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan Audio, Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire for the advanced copies!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
When it comes to horror books I feel like they're either too much or not enough. I'm pretty picky, and it's hard for me to find that sweet spot. I like a gore, but not over the top, and it can't be too cheesy. I also need some psychological twists throughout as well. Mary hit all those marks for me. While I do love a good tension building  kind of book that has you scared to turn the next page, this one was mostly psychological and it was very well done. 

The characters were written so well, and I really enjoyed the dialogue. My favorite, oddly enough, was Nadine. She's a vulgar, abrasive, and generally unkind person, but I found myself looking forward to the scenes with her in them because they were written so well and her dialogue was witty, even when it was biting. 

I also appreciate the general undertones about the strength and perseverance of women, as well as the chastisement of idolizing serial killers (this reminded me specifically of one of my favorite books of the year, so far, Notes On An Execution, so clearly it is a topic I love to see in books!) 

This book really has everything you could ask for in a horror novel - ghosts, gore, conspiracy theories and cults. The only problem with that though, is that the end almost felt like it dragged on. At some points I felt like I was in a Billy Mays commercial - "but wait! there's more!" It was all pretty interesting things that happened, but it didn't feel like it ALL was truly necessary. However, I acknowledge that this book has been in the works by Cassidy for an exorbitant amount of time and I have to respect and appreciate the time and attention that went into fine tuning all the details of the story. There was no stone left unturned and no strings left dangling in the end. I haven't read anything else by Cassidy but consider him a new autobuy author!.
Was this review helpful?
Mary has spent her life being a wallflower, never standing out or drawing any attention to herself. Middle aged and going through mysterious changes, you know the typical hot flashes, aches, fainting when you look in the mirror and hearing voices in your head. After losing her job, Mary jumps at the chance to return home and reconnect with her roots. However, her plans are thrown for a loop as mutilated and gruesome entities attempt to communicate with her and she is forced to find her connection to a serial killer that died the day she was born.

First, I would like to state I was pleasantly shocked. I had no idea that Nat Cassidy was a male author and the grace and detail that Nat was able to include in his writing regarding society's view and treatment of premenopausal women and women that are no longer "young and desirable" was amazing, to put it lightly. 

But the story itself? Gruesome and terrifying, I definitely had to turn on my bedside lamp reading this one. Animal cruelty is definitely a trigger so please keep that in mind if it is something that will upset you. If you are any bit squeamish, this might not be the read for you. For me, this was my type of horror story. Gripping and thrilling and one that terrorizes you from start to finish.

Mary's rage itself is palpable and believable. Her character is fleshed out thoroughly and I was in love with her from start to finish. Figuring out her past as Mary remembers it was a thrilling ride and kept me guessing and the pages flipping. 

Thank you to Macmillian Tor/Forge for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Mary was a book that had me laughing, cringing, and creeped out all at the same time. The MC was fascinating and while I haven’t read any Stephen King (I know, crazy!) I could kind of see what all the hype was about when comparing the two and now I feel like I have to check out at least one SK….but I digress. 

I loved the Afterword almost as much as the book itself and I so appreciate the author highlighting the plight of the middle aged woman, the invisibility, the usefulness of their womanhood basically gone according to societal standards. This theme was beautifully yet horrifically written and as someone who doesn’t do a ton of horror, I was surprised at how much I loved it. I’d say check this one out if you love horror, know what perimenopause is  or have had a 🔥hot flash🔥or two…
Was this review helpful?
What a weird book. I do not think this will necessarily be for everyone; however, those who find it and enjoy spookier things may love it like me.
Was this review helpful?
Much longer than it needed to be or should have been. I get that the author idolizes King but not every horror story has to be a King tome in length. This would have worked better as a shorter story. Even so I didn’t find  it to be horror, more thriller or psychological with some gory bits. Nothing in it shocked or surprised me, and some of the writing was wonky. The twist wasn’t much of a twist. 

That all being said, a horror story about a woman going through menopause is a good idea. The plot works mostly. Don’t get hung up on the fact that it was written by a cis gendered man.
Was this review helpful?
I didn’t really know what to expect going in, but Mary had me engaged from start to finish. If you are looking for a slow burn horror, with an unreliable narrator, that will make you feel anxious throughout, definitely check this book out.
Was this review helpful?
This book has been on my TBR for months—c’mon, once you see this cover, it’s impossible to not be intrigued, right?! The ominous cover only alludes to what may be one of the most bizarre and creepy reads I’ve read this year. 

The story focuses mainly on the lead protagonist, Mary. She’s turning 50 and has always felt invisible. She’s ignored at work, she’s single and has no prospects, and people tend treat her like she’s invisible. That being said, after she gets a call from her eccentric and cruel aunt, Mary returns to the quiet rural town she had grown up. Mary realizes this is the perfect time to escape New York after being fired from her job, but quickly notices that she has bigger issues at hand. Mary starts to see entities around her—mutilated and graphic, these entities are trying to speak to her. However, Mary has no idea what or who they want.

I read this book in one sitting on my 9 hour flight back to NYC and I couldn’t put it down. It’s a bit longer than I expected, but the story never really has any lull periods. This book kept my attention 100% during full blown jet lag and that’s saying something. I can totally see this book being optioned into film and I’m sure it’ll be utterly terrifying. This book also dives into social topics that aren’t really discussed to much—perimenopause and the treatment of women once they reach a certain age. This book is provocative and intense, so expect a lot of graphic depictions of violence. I can’t wait to read what Nat Cassidy has up his sleeve next.
Was this review helpful?
What a book! I'll admit, I'm always skeptical of horror novels written by men (cis white men in particular!) because I've been burned too many times by unnecessary misogynist violence. MARY doesn't lack in violence and gore, but the patriarchy is always under fire in this sharp, propulsive novel. I mean, a horror novel about menopause? Hell yeah! Cassidy's foreword and afterword are particularly poignant in giving shape to the novel and clarifying why he took on this narrative despite being a person who has never been subject to misogyny or the hormonal horrors of menstruation and menopause. MARY was a wild, thrilling ride that I absolutely had to read with the lights on!
Was this review helpful?
Horror is hard.  Good horror is rare.  This is good horror. It is well written, original, a sharp commentary on society's treatment of middle-aged women (written by a man, no less!). Cassidy, at times, throws a bit too much into the mix resulting in occasional bloat, but it is still incredibly entertaining, surprising and smart.
Was this review helpful?
I cannot believe this book was written by a man! I totally assumed that Nat Cassidy was female the entire time I read until I finished and looked at the author details. So, this shows me that Nat really did his research on female issues, especially menopause (or perimenopause I should say). My favorite relationship in the book was between Mary and Aunt Nadine. Aunt Nadine is an absolute hoot of a character. I was picturing Mac's mom from It's Always Sunny as I read each piece of her dialogue. The ghosts and gore were quite terrifying, and I can definitely draw the parallel between a Stephen King presentation and this (the author said he loved Carrie). While there were some confusing parts when it came to the townspeople and their beliefs, and what Mary actually "is," I think it all wrapped up nicely at the end. The cactus brutalization during "the sacrifice" I was totally unprepared for and brought a whole different body horror element to the book, but made sense given they were in the middle of the desert. There were a few twists that occurred that were unpredictable, and I liked that! In conclusion, very excellent piece of horror! I can't wait to read more of Nat Cassidy and recommend to fellow horrorphiles!
Was this review helpful?
The cover and the description really sucked me in, and will likely do the same to other women of a certain age (yes that is me!)
How clever, (I thought) to take what is already a difficult transition in a woman's life and turn it into a horror novel. I thought this was a novel about a woman who had suffered some trauma or breakdown in her life, now trying to cope with menopause and further emotional and physical upset. Mary is about to have her 50th birthday, and she is going through some normal and not-so-normal experiences. Unfortunately, Mary is also an unreliable narrator and this book is full of unlikable characters.
At first, I could somewhat relate to her, the feeling invisible, the avoidance of mirrors. The story has a really strong beginning with creepy scenes and some humor too. Then it sort of peters out and turns into a draggy slow paced festival of weirdness that is too out there even for me. And that is really saying something. I'm not that bothered that a male author attempted to write from the viewpoint of a menopausal woman, in fact, kudos for even trying to understand. I have no problem with male authors writing female characters or vice versa. It just didn't really work for me. It tried to combine too many elements into one plot that stretched on for too long. You may enjoy it more than I did.
Was this review helpful?