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Theme Music

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An utterly propulsive and unpredictable psychological thriller from stunning new talent T. Marie Vandelly 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 An utterly propulsive and unpredictable psychological thriller from stunning new talent T. Marie Vandelly 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 left alive, 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, re-creating a macabre decor with her family’s salvaged furniture. But as the ghosts of her family seemingly begin to take up residence in the home 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, and, perhaps most tragically, to Dixie herself. As bodies begin to pile up around her, Dixie must find a way to expose the lunacy behind her family’s massacre and redeem what little remains of her soul.


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An utterly propulsive and unpredictable psychological thriller from stunning new talent T. Marie Vandelly 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 An utterly propulsive and unpredictable psychological thriller from stunning new talent T. Marie Vandelly 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 left alive, 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, re-creating a macabre decor with her family’s salvaged furniture. But as the ghosts of her family seemingly begin to take up residence in the home 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, and, perhaps most tragically, to Dixie herself. As bodies begin to pile up around her, Dixie must find a way to expose the lunacy behind her family’s massacre and redeem what little remains of her soul.

30 review for Theme Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    MarilynW

    2020 Halloween season update! This is one of those books I remember and I surprise myself by remembering it somewhat fondly. ****** I was attracted to this book by the cover, the title, and the description although the description also repelled me with it's mentions of throat slashing, a mother and her sons butchered by the husband/father, slaughter by axe, and other things gave me doubts if I could handle reading this book. In the end, I know I will be reading another T. Marie Vandelly book but I 2020 Halloween season update! This is one of those books I remember and I surprise myself by remembering it somewhat fondly. ****** I was attracted to this book by the cover, the title, and the description although the description also repelled me with it's mentions of throat slashing, a mother and her sons butchered by the husband/father, slaughter by axe, and other things gave me doubts if I could handle reading this book. In the end, I know I will be reading another T. Marie Vandelly book but I do hope that she writes about something with less gore, slaughter, and butchery. My "blood bucket" (a term the author uses to describe how much more violence a person can stand), was full before the prologue was over. Twenty-seven year old Dixie Wheeler is the sole survivor of a family massacre. Her dad used a huge axe to butcher her mom and three brothers during breakfast and then her dad slit his own throat. For reasons unknown, two year old Dixie was left unharmed, sitting in her high chair. Dixie than spends her life wondering why she was spared and thinking that living on without her family is the worst thing that could happen to a person. When Dixie sees that her old family home, the site of the slaughter, is for sale, she jumps at the chance to buy it. Not only that, Dixie moves in every piece of furniture and household goods that her late uncle had stored and places everything exactly where it had been before, based on crime scene and old family photos. Dixie is not mentally or emotionally stable, a state that she attributes to having a family murdering father. Prepare yourself for an unreliable narrator in Dixie, who drinks heavily, has blackouts at very suspicious times, and feels that her father lives through her sometimes. Dixie lies to herself so she definitely lies to others when it fits her needs. This book has a lot liars, a lot of secrets, and yet I couldn't help laughing at the thoughts of Dixie. She has such a sarcastic, dry humor which she employs while speaking and thinking and my favorite parts of the book were when Mr Cullens, the former investigator on the Wheeler family murder case, is with Dixie. He never misses her play on words, enjoying them as much as I did. Other than Mr Cullens, everyone seems suspicious to me and I was afraid for everyone's lives. Dixie thinks that her dad may not have killed her family and if that is so, the murderer is probably still among the living. I liked the epilogue of the book but I just want to say that Dixie is not okay in my mind. There are a lot of excuses, blame placed on others, and deflecting in this book and there is a part of Dixie that I don't think can ever be fixed. Thank you to PENGUIN GROUP Dutton and NetGalley for this ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    "When no one answered his repeated knocks, he let himself in. He told the police that the music struck him first. Not the blood, not the savagery,..., but the heartrending desperation pouring from the speakers in the living room. He covered his ears before it even occurred to him to cover his eyes." *Fun fact-I rode past the Franconia exit, the setting of the story, while reading this book! I'm tired of waffling on various ends of the rating system regarding this book, so I think a middle-of-the-r "When no one answered his repeated knocks, he let himself in. He told the police that the music struck him first. Not the blood, not the savagery,..., but the heartrending desperation pouring from the speakers in the living room. He covered his ears before it even occurred to him to cover his eyes." *Fun fact-I rode past the Franconia exit, the setting of the story, while reading this book! I'm tired of waffling on various ends of the rating system regarding this book, so I think a middle-of-the-road 3 stars will be my best bet and most honest assessment. I did clearly have some issues here, but this story also had so many fabulous things going for it. I'm going to put all the information out there so that you can make an educated decision on whether this book is right for you or not, and as always, the review will be spoiler free, but if you'd like to go in blind I would stop here. No matter how you choose to go in, please note that this novel contains a multitude of graphic violence, gore, and disturbing content, and those readers who are sensitive to descriptive violence and murder may want to steer clear of this book. Let's start with everything I loved. As stated above, this book is riddled with extremely detailed scenes of murder, graphic violence, and other disturbing content. I'm a twisted individual who stomachs this stuff well, so this was a plus in my book. No, Chelsea is not a glutton for sadistic torture and murder, but I felt this inclusion was done to further the emotional and harrowing aspect of the crime; not only did it bring a horrifying component to the narrative, but it also gives the reader a greater respect for the trauma Dixie has endured and the struggle to cope and heal from what has happened to her family. The portrayal of our main character's mental health and instability is one that is both engrossing and sobering; I cannot imagine someone reading this novel and not feeling for what she has been through and the struggles she has ahead of her. The creepy, atmospheric sense of this book is SO well done, and I enjoyed every second of its development. I believe most of my issues with the book stem from the procedural aspect of the book. There is a relatively small pool of (living) characters in this story, so it's fairly easy to solve the whodunnit portion, but that wasn't a huge deal for me. My issues were more in the need to abandon all sense of reality in how a case is solved. The police make a poor attempt to solve the case; alibis are apparently taken at face value and never double checked, case files are tampered with easily, and the ending climax will be a hit or miss for thriller readers, as it arguably contains a bit of a paranormal component. For me, I'm neutral on the inclusion of the supernatural or magical realism in my thrillers, but I feel the need to mention it as some readers are very opinionated on the matter. All in all, with a little extra research and development thrown in, Vandelly has the potential to be one of the next big time authors. This book took a classic serial killing plot and gave it a unique twist that brings the reader in by way of emotional investment. While this wasn't 100% enjoyable for me, I'm looking forward to what the author brings to the table next, and wish her and this book all the best. Highly recommended if you're looking for something with a similar vibe to Final Girls! *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy via NetGalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    5, strong, strong stars for T. Marie Vandelly's debut novel, Theme Music. Disclaimer: This book is extremely graphic. One of the most graphically violent books I have ever read in my life. If you can stomach extreme violence with graphic narration about it, then proceed with reading this amazing psychological thriller. Once in awhile, you come across a novel that completely knocks you down, and shakes you to the core—and that is Theme Music . A family mystery, interwoven with sparks of suspens 5, strong, strong stars for T. Marie Vandelly's debut novel, Theme Music. Disclaimer: This book is extremely graphic. One of the most graphically violent books I have ever read in my life. If you can stomach extreme violence with graphic narration about it, then proceed with reading this amazing psychological thriller. Once in awhile, you come across a novel that completely knocks you down, and shakes you to the core—and that is Theme Music . A family mystery, interwoven with sparks of suspense and horror, Theme Music is like the very seriously R-rated version of a novel that Ruth Ware would craft, and to believe that this is T. Marie Vandelly's first novel?! Remarkable. Dixie Wheeler is searching the web for potential homes to purchase. She and her boyfriend Garrett have been saving for awhile, and they are ready to make the next step in their relationship. Dixie is nervous about settling down, but she's excited for this potential move. While browsing listings, Dixie comes across one that captures her attention—it's her old childhood home! Well, her very brief childhood home. She moved out of it at eighteen months when her Aunt Celia took her in. Aunt Celia's been raising Dixie almost her entire life. Dixie's home comes with a dark past that she's unsure if she's ready to face. When Dixie was a baby, her father brutally murdered(seriously, they go into detail) her mother and three brothers, and then killed himself. The house has been completely renovated, but the listing is still an issue with the town's superstitions. Dixie believes that moving into this home will help unmask the demons of her past, and also come to terms with how her life turned out, so she decides to rent it and move in for the time being. It's like a test-drive to see if she could actually live in this notorious home. Once Dixie moves in, she starts unraveling. Why is she redecorating the house to resemble what it used to look like before her family's murder? As Dixie starts uncovering the mystery surrounding her family, she starts noticing oddities and peculiarities about her once family home. Is this house haunted or is her mind playing tricks on her? Ghosts of her family start appearing, and Dixie starts losing track of time, and losing track of, well, herself. As Dixie gets closer and closer to seeking the truth, demons from the past do indeed come to surface, and like it was in the past, they're deadly. Ugh, what can I say about Theme Music , that you haven't already heard from my initial thoughts above? This book really captured my attention, literally from the prologue, all the way until it wrapped up. It's a long read, and has a slow building suspense, but it's definitely not a slow burn type of novel. This story just continues to grow and build as the narration goes on. Each and every character has an interesting role to play, no fluff here! I loved the doses of humor sprinkled throughout the horror as well (Dixie's sarcasm at time was on point!), because it played a part in breaking up the intensity—good to have a break from the craziness at times! The momentum behind the story's arc just continued to become more and more powerful and addictive, and once I got into the story, I was invested. I really see big things about Theme Music this summer! I think it'll be one of those books that everyone will need to (or should need to) read if you call yourself a thriller or horror fan. Seriously folks, would I lie? Theme Music will be released July 23, 2019 and I received an advanced copy from Dutton Books in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    For such an unassuming title and cover I was surprised at how dark a story lay within these pages. "All the days became so long Did you really think, I'd do you wrong Dixie, when I let you go Thought you'd realize, that I would know, I would show The special love I have for you, my Baby Blue" ~ Badfinger Dixie Wheeler was only a toddler sitting in her high chair enjoying her breakfast on Thanksgiving morning when her father slaughtered her entire family, mother and three brothers, with an ax in front For such an unassuming title and cover I was surprised at how dark a story lay within these pages. "All the days became so long Did you really think, I'd do you wrong Dixie, when I let you go Thought you'd realize, that I would know, I would show The special love I have for you, my Baby Blue" ~ Badfinger Dixie Wheeler was only a toddler sitting in her high chair enjoying her breakfast on Thanksgiving morning when her father slaughtered her entire family, mother and three brothers, with an ax in front of her very eyes. Her father then slit his throat in the nightmarish aftermath. Dixie was left to wail until a neighbor boy discovers the grisly scene and from then on Dixie is come to be known as Baby Blue because that song was blaring from the stereo speakers when police arrived. Fast forward 25 years later and Dixie finds herself in a happy relationship with Garrett. When she discovers that her childhood home, and the scene of the murders, goes up for sale she can not resist the purchase even though Garrett refuses to move there. Though she is putting her relationship in jeopardy she still decides to move in. Having found her parents old furniture in storage at her uncle's house she even goes about making it an exact replica of the home from long ago with the help of crime scene photos that her uncle also had tucked away. Once she begins to settle in the strange occurrences start and her nightmares become so overwhelming that she is forced into insomnia. When Dixie discovers new information regarding that day she begins to question if her father really murdered her family or if someone else is to blame. This book had one of the best prologues I've read in awhile and I was so eager to flip the pages. However, I felt this loses steam through out the middle with a lot of repetition. Each chapter featured lurching, vomiting, things slipping down and / or getting stuck in her throat etc. etc. The ending, while I didn't figure it all out, seemed a little too over the top and definitely requires suspension of disbelief. The epilogue was a happily ever after disappointment if you ask me. If decapitated heads rolling across floors is your thing then this is the book for you, if not, then you've been warned! 3.5 stars! Thank you to Edelweiss and Dutton Books for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Frank Phillips

    Freeeeeeaaakkkyyyy! This was one of my top five creepiest reads. Ever! I enjoyed this immensely. Not for everyone I'm sure, as it's very graphic. This is a perfect October read for horror enthusiasts! Anyone that enjoys Stephen King would probably enjoy this one, it's sinister on a whole other level and it impressed me to the point that I'm still thinking about this book, months after finishing it! I absolutely cannot wait until Vandelly publishes another novel! Freeeeeeaaakkkyyyy! This was one of my top five creepiest reads. Ever! I enjoyed this immensely. Not for everyone I'm sure, as it's very graphic. This is a perfect October read for horror enthusiasts! Anyone that enjoys Stephen King would probably enjoy this one, it's sinister on a whole other level and it impressed me to the point that I'm still thinking about this book, months after finishing it! I absolutely cannot wait until Vandelly publishes another novel!

  6. 5 out of 5

    BernLuvsBooks

    Theme Music has been hyped as a dark, creepy, must read thriller. All those warnings are true ya’ll! This book was 𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐤, full of 𝐦𝐮𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 and very 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐝𝐲 characters doing all kinds of messed up things. Obviously, I enjoyed it immensely. 🤣 ⁣ ⁣ 🔪 I suspected the bad guy early on & I was right so I couldn’t rate this 5 stars but it proved to be a total 𝐩𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐫. I was trying to tell my daughter about it and there were just soooo many little details that made it all come together. It really made me ap Theme Music has been hyped as a dark, creepy, must read thriller. All those warnings are true ya’ll! This book was 𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐤, full of 𝐦𝐮𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 and very 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐝𝐲 characters doing all kinds of messed up things. Obviously, I enjoyed it immensely. 🤣 ⁣ ⁣ 🔪 I suspected the bad guy early on & I was right so I couldn’t rate this 5 stars but it proved to be a total 𝐩𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐫. I was trying to tell my daughter about it and there were just soooo many little details that made it all come together. It really made me appreciate everything that went into the plot. There was pretty much one thing happening after the other, after the other. I was up till 1am one night, finishing this one up and it was totally worth it. ⁣If you aren't averse to gore - it's a must read. If you are - stay far, far away. 😬 ⁣

  7. 5 out of 5

    Natasha Niezgoda

    VERY HONEST REVIEW - NOT FOR EVERYONE. Okay. Hear me out👂🏼 I’m a true crime lover, and because of this, I have an amateur understanding of procedural behaviors/guidelines that usually occur within an investigation.🕵🏻‍♀️ So when a crime thriller has a criminal case with lazy procedural elements, it’s like a date where a guy (or girl) only talks about himself all night long - A TURN-OFF 🤷🏻‍♀️ And that’s what happened here. You see, the prologue of Theme Music is pretty hardcore, so I was excited to VERY HONEST REVIEW - NOT FOR EVERYONE. Okay. Hear me out👂🏼 I’m a true crime lover, and because of this, I have an amateur understanding of procedural behaviors/guidelines that usually occur within an investigation.🕵🏻‍♀️ So when a crime thriller has a criminal case with lazy procedural elements, it’s like a date where a guy (or girl) only talks about himself all night long - A TURN-OFF 🤷🏻‍♀️ And that’s what happened here. You see, the prologue of Theme Music is pretty hardcore, so I was excited to read it. You have the main character, Dixie, who’s basically choosing to live in the same house her whole family was slaughtered in 25 years ago.😱 She wants answers and closure, and shit gets real. But for shit to seem “somewhat probable” (especially when shit also has a supernatural element to it) then a synergy between reality needs to be made. And the easiest way to do that (in my opinion 💁🏻‍♀️) is to follow some form of logic (ie police protocols). (Good example - Stephen King’s The Outsider.) But that didn’t happen. And it derailed me from the storyline because I was just irritated by a lack of follow-through. Ugh, I’m bummed. Because this could have been a solid 4 star read, but instead I’m gonna give it 2.5-3 star rating. 🥴 I think with some research, it could have gotten there! Truly! And I won’t be deterred from reading another book from Vandelly, because she has epic imagination and charisma! So here’s my assessment: if you are like me and either read a bunch of crime novels or watch/read a lot about true crime, then you NEED to throw all that procedural preemptive logic out the window. If you don’t read anything like that, then you might actually enjoy this book quite a bit! Disclaimer: if you don’t like gore or guts or very descriptive language about brutal crimes, then I would suggest passing on this book. ☠️

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lisa-Books Smiles

    3.5 stars. This was just okay to me. It was real good in some parts and extremely boring in others. I've read a lot of reviews that talk about this being an extremely dark book but, I don't agree. I've read way darker books than this one. Overall, it's a decent debut novel. 3.5 stars. This was just okay to me. It was real good in some parts and extremely boring in others. I've read a lot of reviews that talk about this being an extremely dark book but, I don't agree. I've read way darker books than this one. Overall, it's a decent debut novel.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie (JuJu)

    A must-read Halloween horror/thriller! I’m not a huge reader of horror, but I do try to cram several in during October. This very graphic debut is filled with dark and creepy horror elements. If you don’t like blood and gore, you better skip this one! But there is also a touch of humor mixed in with all the carnage, which I found very enticing. This would make a terrific Halloween movie. 👻 The cover grabbed my attention as soon as I saw it, then my brief review of the description closed the deal. A must-read Halloween horror/thriller! I’m not a huge reader of horror, but I do try to cram several in during October. This very graphic debut is filled with dark and creepy horror elements. If you don’t like blood and gore, you better skip this one! But there is also a touch of humor mixed in with all the carnage, which I found very enticing. This would make a terrific Halloween movie. 👻 The cover grabbed my attention as soon as I saw it, then my brief review of the description closed the deal. A father slaughters his family with an axe. Baby Blue is the only survivor of this inexplicable massacre. Lots of blood and guts, and just enough mystery and thrill to peak my interest! Thank you to Edelweiss, T. Marie Vandelly and Dutton, for this free digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. My Rating: 4 ⭐️’s Published: July 23 2019 by Dutton Pages: 400 @TVandelly @DuttonBooks @weiss_squad #Edelweiss #InExchangeForReview #psychologicalhorror #NoRulesJustThrills #HalloweenRead After publication, my reviews can be found: Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/amz... Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/takemeaway21 BN.com, BookBub, Pinterest

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mackey

    Theme Music was one of the most hauntingly bizarre tales that I’ve read in a very long time. There is a paranormal element to it that adds to the horror aspect of the story but the story line itself is macabre enough to frighten off those with weak constitutions. Never-the-less, I couldn’t put this book down! Dixie was the sole survivor of a family massacre that occurred when she was two. The official story is that her father murdered the family with an axe before slitting his own throat, leaving Theme Music was one of the most hauntingly bizarre tales that I’ve read in a very long time. There is a paranormal element to it that adds to the horror aspect of the story but the story line itself is macabre enough to frighten off those with weak constitutions. Never-the-less, I couldn’t put this book down! Dixie was the sole survivor of a family massacre that occurred when she was two. The official story is that her father murdered the family with an axe before slitting his own throat, leaving only Dixie alive in her high chair. Dixie, who was raised by her aunt and uncle, has grown up with the stigma that surrounded her family as a result; so when the house – THE house – is put on the market, Dixie decides to buy it and move in. Not only that, but she gathers all of the old furniture and belongings that have been in storage and creates the house as near to the original as possible. Talk about a bit “off,” or perhaps just slightly obsessed. Of course, once inside the house, all hell breaks loose for Dixie. The problem for the reader is that we never are clear if Dixie is as crazy as her father allegedly was or if there is more to the story that Dixie – or us – even suspect. Admittedly the story was brilliant until the midway point and then I found myself hurriedly reading through to the end to find out what was going on with the characters – all of them. I think there could have been a bit more editing, especially toward the end of the story. However, even with that in mind, Theme Music is a terrific book, frightening, suspenseful and definitely horrifying.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    “Come on. Run screaming into the night with me.” 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 hell 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 may “Come on. Run screaming into the night with me.” 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 hell 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Theme Music is T. Marie Vandelly's debut novel, and I loved it so much. This book is a fantastic blend of horror and thriller, and I would recommend it for fans of both. I could see this book still being on my favorites list at the end of the year. It's a fascinating and gruesome story. I think the bloodiness of it is much more on the horror side than thriller, so thriller fans, just be aware going in that this one is super graphic. Theme Music is well-written, grim, and entertaining. I was comp Theme Music is T. Marie Vandelly's debut novel, and I loved it so much. This book is a fantastic blend of horror and thriller, and I would recommend it for fans of both. I could see this book still being on my favorites list at the end of the year. It's a fascinating and gruesome story. I think the bloodiness of it is much more on the horror side than thriller, so thriller fans, just be aware going in that this one is super graphic. Theme Music is well-written, grim, and entertaining. I was completely captivated the entire time I was reading it, and I can't wait to see what T. Marie Vandelly does next. This is a must-read for this summer!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars This was an engaging narrative that mixed together different genres including mystery, suspense, thriller and (my favourite) horror. The story was a bit larger than life and definitely required some serious suspension of disbelief. Yet this also made the story quite interesting because I had no idea what direction it was going. The audiobook narration was great so I would personally recommend that format. If you enjoy thrillers with a supernatural flair, then you might want to check out 3.5 Stars This was an engaging narrative that mixed together different genres including mystery, suspense, thriller and (my favourite) horror. The story was a bit larger than life and definitely required some serious suspension of disbelief. Yet this also made the story quite interesting because I had no idea what direction it was going. The audiobook narration was great so I would personally recommend that format. If you enjoy thrillers with a supernatural flair, then you might want to check out this one.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    THIS. BOOK. IS. AMAZING. I had to shout that out right at the top because shouting is the only way to accurately portray how much I freaking LOVED this book. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before, the perfect blend of horror and thriller, and I was glued to my seat from the very first page, quite literally. Seriously, I was so damn riveted by what I was reading. It’s just so dark and wild and warped and I haven’t enjoyed the hell out of a book like this in a damn long time. I literally sat THIS. BOOK. IS. AMAZING. I had to shout that out right at the top because shouting is the only way to accurately portray how much I freaking LOVED this book. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before, the perfect blend of horror and thriller, and I was glued to my seat from the very first page, quite literally. Seriously, I was so damn riveted by what I was reading. It’s just so dark and wild and warped and I haven’t enjoyed the hell out of a book like this in a damn long time. I literally sat with my jaw dropped to my chest for the last like, 100 pages. I haven’t been LEGIT shocked by a thriller like this in a long time, I can normally predict the ending and various twists from a mile away but this one absolutely floored me and shocked the hell out of me time after time. I DESPERATELY need more books like this in my life!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    Dixie Wheeler's entire family was brutally murdered on Thanksgiving Day in their kitchen by her father, who then killed himself.  Baby Dixie was found unharmed in her high chair by a boy next door and then raised by her aunt and uncle. It's been twenty five years and Dixie still bares the emotional scars of the horrific event that she was too young to even remember.  The house goes on the market and Dixie decides to move in, pulling her family's furniture out of storage to recreate the home as it Dixie Wheeler's entire family was brutally murdered on Thanksgiving Day in their kitchen by her father, who then killed himself.  Baby Dixie was found unharmed in her high chair by a boy next door and then raised by her aunt and uncle. It's been twenty five years and Dixie still bares the emotional scars of the horrific event that she was too young to even remember.  The house goes on the market and Dixie decides to move in, pulling her family's furniture out of storage to recreate the home as it was at the time of the murders. Readers soon learn that Dixie's past is littered with some suspicious events and blacks-outs at convenient times that raise major red flags about her sanity. When Dixie realizes that her uncle, now deceased, believed her father was innocent, she begins looking in to the case file and contacts the detective (now retired) who worked the original investigation. While searching for the truth, Dixie's grasp on reality begins to slip as people around her go missing and the ghosts of her past appear. I had high hopes but Theme Music was a huge disappointment for me.  It started strong with the chilling massacre described but then the story went downhill from there.   While I'm all about suspending my disbelief for an entertaining story, this one was built on far too many convenient circumstances, enough that I rolled my eyes a few times.  The main character felt like a caricature as the quintessential unreliable narrator.  The ending, which was supposed to be shocking, was instead predictable and unsatisfying. Thanks to Dutton Books and Edelweiss for providing a DRC in exchange for my honest review.  Theme Music is scheduled for release on July 23, 2019. For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alex | | findingmontauk1

    Holy chalupas another 5 star read! THEME MUSIC sits at just under 400 pages and I finished it in a matter of hours. I could NOT stop myself! It's the story of Dixie Wheeler, whose mother and brothers were butchered by her father before he ran a knife across his own throat when she was 18 months old. It's 25 years later and she's moved BACK into that house. With a mixture of haunting/creepy elements, a bloody mystery, and a psychological horror story with a growing body count, this book has EVERY Holy chalupas another 5 star read! THEME MUSIC sits at just under 400 pages and I finished it in a matter of hours. I could NOT stop myself! It's the story of Dixie Wheeler, whose mother and brothers were butchered by her father before he ran a knife across his own throat when she was 18 months old. It's 25 years later and she's moved BACK into that house. With a mixture of haunting/creepy elements, a bloody mystery, and a psychological horror story with a growing body count, this book has EVERYTHING! *insert SNL Stefon gif* Spicy as hell, this book had my heart racing and freaked me out more than once. My house, like many, makes weird and random noises quite often... so... And the TWISTS in this, oh my goodness... the twists! Like The Isley Brothers, this book had me twist and shout over and over! I love when a book can still do that. This book is STELLAR! A must-read!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    4.5 stars, rounded up because this is apparently a debut?? When I was still in diapers, yet to be stripped of my innocence and tooth hopeful, my father excused himself from the breakfast table, made a casual exit out the back door, crossed to a fabricated shed hunkered in a bone-dry cradle of honeysuckle in the far back corner of our lot, fetched an axe, and dragged a muddy rut back across the dormant lawn. He reentered the kitchen, extra warm and cozy thanks to a turkey in the oven, looked upon 4.5 stars, rounded up because this is apparently a debut?? When I was still in diapers, yet to be stripped of my innocence and tooth hopeful, my father excused himself from the breakfast table, made a casual exit out the back door, crossed to a fabricated shed hunkered in a bone-dry cradle of honeysuckle in the far back corner of our lot, fetched an axe, and dragged a muddy rut back across the dormant lawn. He reentered the kitchen, extra warm and cozy thanks to a turkey in the oven, looked upon the bewildered faces of his adoring family, and butchered them all. Well, not all, of course. I lived. Though I do believe I died a little that day. This was the first horror that's really affected me in a long time. Maybe it's reading so much, but I haven't found much that really gets under my skin and keep me up at night, lately. This though, this is going to creep around in the back of my mind for ages - and I loved it. I will warn that some of this is gory stuff - not for shock value or out of any reasonable context, though, which to me makes all the difference. No, this fitted right in with every other unsettling moment, feeding back and increasing the horror without feeling like it was a lazy writer's shortcut to "horror". Seriously, for a debut this is really, really strong. The writing itself is great - T. Marie Vandelly may be new, but she's already got a style all of her own that makes for really easy, enjoyable reading, no matter the subject matter. Dixie may be an unreliable narrator, but that too felt natural and well done - she's a mess, but one you want to root for. Thoroughly enjoyed this, and I'll be looking forward to more from this author.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)

    I started this book before I had to leave for a weekend upstate to be a part of a wedding. I didn't want to put this book down but I had to so I would read snippets here and there as I found time. One of the reasons I like to binge read is because it's like watching a movie. If you watch a movie in a lot of sections, then we don't get quite the same impact like we would had we watched it all the way through in one fell swoop. I do think that had I read this in one sitting it would've likely been I started this book before I had to leave for a weekend upstate to be a part of a wedding. I didn't want to put this book down but I had to so I would read snippets here and there as I found time. One of the reasons I like to binge read is because it's like watching a movie. If you watch a movie in a lot of sections, then we don't get quite the same impact like we would had we watched it all the way through in one fell swoop. I do think that had I read this in one sitting it would've likely been a five star read since I review with my emotions and this book is absolutely bananas and I LOVED IT. However, since I've had time to stew on it with the traveling and activities, and because I read it in parts as I could.... I feel like there were certain things that kept me from giving this five stars. I know some thriller readers are opposed to bringing in paranormal *things* to these stories. Personally, as a lover of horror, I have absolutely no problem with this and quite frankly, the finer line a thriller book walks to horror, the better! I couldn't imagine being the only witness to my family's massacre at the hands of my own father. I certainly couldn't imagine being a baby when this happens so the only thing I know about the event is what I've been told about or veered away from. Would I move back into that house once I saw it on the market. I'm pretty sure that's a hell to the NO, but then we wouldn't have this book so thank you Dixie for being so damn curious! There are certainly some elements where you need to suspend some belief. Strangely enough this is on the living side rather than the dead. Dismiss the legal/law side of the book and concentrate on the paranormal/psychological side and I think avid thriller readers will really enjoy this ride into the absolutely insane... or is it? **wink**

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laura • lauralovestoread

    There is no question about it, when I heard of this book through the book community/bookstagram vine, I needed to get my hands on it. I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to haunted houses and ghost story books, yet I’m also so fascinated by them. Almost as if to see just how scared it will make me. This debut novel had all of the ghost story and haunted house vibes I was looking for, yet it’s told upfront so you know what you’re getting into, even from the synopsis. For a big scaredy cat like me There is no question about it, when I heard of this book through the book community/bookstagram vine, I needed to get my hands on it. I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to haunted houses and ghost story books, yet I’m also so fascinated by them. Almost as if to see just how scared it will make me. This debut novel had all of the ghost story and haunted house vibes I was looking for, yet it’s told upfront so you know what you’re getting into, even from the synopsis. For a big scaredy cat like me, I appreciated that aspect so I could read with one eye open under a blanket as needed. As the story unfolds, and we get to see Dixie Wheeler, all grown up after the tragedy where her family is brutally murdered, things begin to take on a sinister feel. More and more of her story unfolds and more ghosts reveal their past. I really loved this book! I only wish that I’d read it closer to Halloween for that truly creepy factor. It’s gruesome and dark, but also grabbed me in from the beginning. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars!! *Thank you to Dutton for this gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ludwig Reads

    “I like this one,” I said. “It feels like home already.” Theme Music is what every thriller/horror novelist wishes they could write. It's obscure, unapologetic and knife-wielding. The author's writing is extremely sharp it terrified me. And that rarely occurs. Without further ado, welcome to the Wheeler House. The layout of this place is so wonderfully detailed throughout the story and, just like any of the characters that dwell inside it, has an extraordinarily haunting sense of self. From Dixie' “I like this one,” I said. “It feels like home already.” Theme Music is what every thriller/horror novelist wishes they could write. It's obscure, unapologetic and knife-wielding. The author's writing is extremely sharp it terrified me. And that rarely occurs. Without further ado, welcome to the Wheeler House. The layout of this place is so wonderfully detailed throughout the story and, just like any of the characters that dwell inside it, has an extraordinarily haunting sense of self. From Dixie's recollection, this is the house where her father grabbed an axe and massacred her family at the breakfast table as Badfinger's Baby Blue played in the background. Little does she know that coming back to her childhood home, twenty five years later, will dredge up sinister memories and, most importantly, the awful truth of what really happened on the day of her family's massacre. This book is truly boundary-breaking. It just knew how to be a thriller and a horror novel. In her debut, Vandelly proves herself as a master of both. I enjoyed everything that came after the final revelation. It felt like something out of a Wes Craven movie. The horror element explains the aftermath of our heroine's past trauma and how it psychologically affects her in the present. It also felt almost necessary. I doubt that the lack of this genre in this book would've reached the same purpose or engraved the same emotions into the reader. What was also interesting was the horror of the ways Dixie's guilt -as to her father singling her out as the sole survivor of her family's murder - manifested itself. I've seen my share of horror movies, but this book went beyond; what's more terrifying than our worst nightmares infiltrating themselves into our real lives?

  21. 4 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    3.5/5 I had never heard of Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly until I received it from The Book Drop as part of a rep package. Once I had it though of course, I started seeing reviews on Bookstagram and there were a lot of raves, so I was excited to give it a try. There are a lot of things to love about it if you are a crime fiction/horror fan like I am. For one it is incredibly creepy and at times icky, thanks to all sorts of strange noises and Dixie seeing ghosts of her family. Ghosts that are bl 3.5/5 I had never heard of Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly until I received it from The Book Drop as part of a rep package. Once I had it though of course, I started seeing reviews on Bookstagram and there were a lot of raves, so I was excited to give it a try. There are a lot of things to love about it if you are a crime fiction/horror fan like I am. For one it is incredibly creepy and at times icky, thanks to all sorts of strange noises and Dixie seeing ghosts of her family. Ghosts that are bloody and literally coming apart of course. There is also a sense that Dixie might be losing her sanity, and I spent much of the book wondering if there was something wrong with her, or something completely different at play. There is plenty of murder and action, but I do think it could have been about 100 pages shorter. It started to feel like it was dragging and at that point I wanted the author to hurry up and get to the point. There are only so many noises and visions I can stand before I need something more. Thankfully, things started coming together and there are a few surprises that I wasn't expecting at all. The audiobook is really well done and narrated by Sarah Mollo-Christensen who did a great job at all the sounds Dixie hears. If it's possible, Mollo-Christensen made this story even creepier, and I was really glad I decided to listen to the audiobook. It is on the longer side at almost 14.5 hours, but I loved listening to her narration, and she made it more enjoyable. While the end was a shock, I am feeling very ambivalent about it, but I can't really pinpoint why. Clearly, Theme Music is not going to be for everyone but I think it is a great read to pick up during the spooky season. It didn't scare the pants off me or anything, but it was the perfect creepy read for cooler weather. Read it if you don't mind books that are graphic and enjoy family mysteries with violence and intrigue. Yes, I said enjoy... I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Imagine being so enthralled by a house where a man savagely murdered his family 25 years earlier that you decide to buy it when you find out it’s for sale. Then imagine that the ghosts of this family begin to surface as you take up residence in your new space, although it isn’t really THAT new for you. You just don’t remember it well. You were only a toddler when your father killed your mother and brothers, leaving you in your blood drenched highchair, the sole survivor of this massacre. Theme M Imagine being so enthralled by a house where a man savagely murdered his family 25 years earlier that you decide to buy it when you find out it’s for sale. Then imagine that the ghosts of this family begin to surface as you take up residence in your new space, although it isn’t really THAT new for you. You just don’t remember it well. You were only a toddler when your father killed your mother and brothers, leaving you in your blood drenched highchair, the sole survivor of this massacre. Theme Music begins with a bang! Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that it begins with a swinging axe! Although brutally gory, it was also deeply unsettling, so I stomached the carnage, thinking this was the genuinely creepy read I’d been searching for. Sadly, by the time I read the last page, I no longer believed that to be true. Vandelly truly had a fascinating idea here, but the flawed execution eventually became a tedious task in reading. Perhaps I should have quit, but due to health issues and personal struggles, I initially chalked my disinterest up as the result of fatigue. It really wasn’t until I worked my way through the second half of the book that I fully accepted that I wasn’t a fan. By then, I’d gone too far to turn back. There’s no denying that the prologue created certain expectations. I braced myself for a fast-paced, crazy ride, but everything slowed dramatically after that opening. There was some decent foreshadowing, but this was more of mystery with eerie suggestions dispersed like tiny dust particles throughout. The story also relied heavily on gore to qualify it as horror, and the graphic nature was quite repetitive, since only one family had been brutally murdered. I wanted things to get moving, but I never really felt the pacing picked up. Dixie was not especially likeable, at least not in the traditional sense, but I did enjoy her snarky humor and felt amused by some of her terrible decision making skills. But it is worth mentioning that one of her most appalling choices was presented as humorous and I thought it was in very poor taste. How do I say this obscurely? Well, if it had been a male character, I think (hope) there would be more outrage. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the terrifying ghost story I’d hoped for either. Many of the scenes that suggested the possibility of a haunting were odd and a bit annoying, but they definitely weren’t scary. I did like Aunt Celia. I think the scenes with her, in particular, really captured the emotional depth of such a tremendous and horrific loss. I could have settled on three stars if I’d liked the ending a bit more. I felt it was silly, though, and the details were drawn out for entirely too long. And forgive me for this repetitiveness, as I’ve said it in other reviews, but villain monologues will never score points with me. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t feel this was worth the time I spent with it. Theme Music is Vandelly’s debut and while I had plenty of issues with the narrative, I do believe she holds promise as a writer. I think, more than anything, what this really lacked was maturity and I do believe this author has great potential to grow and excel in her craft. Of course, and this probably goes without saying, many readers have loved this. It didn’t fit what I want in a book, but it could be the perfect thing for you. You can find all of my book reviews, lots of other fun bookish content, and the occasional ramblings about movies right here: https://www.facebook.com/abookishbutt...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I'm not usually one for creepy ghost stories, but OH, this book! Very surprising that it's a debut novel as I believe it rivals some of Stephen King's in terms of the "creep factor." Protagonist Dixie was a toddler when her father interrupted the family breakfast by butchering his wife, his young sons, and then slitting his own throat. Now, twenty-five years later, Dixie feels compelled to buy her old house that is up for sale as she feels there are answers awaiting her. Of course her boyfriend, I'm not usually one for creepy ghost stories, but OH, this book! Very surprising that it's a debut novel as I believe it rivals some of Stephen King's in terms of the "creep factor." Protagonist Dixie was a toddler when her father interrupted the family breakfast by butchering his wife, his young sons, and then slitting his own throat. Now, twenty-five years later, Dixie feels compelled to buy her old house that is up for sale as she feels there are answers awaiting her. Of course her boyfriend, Garrett is horrified by this decision and refuses to live there with her. And so begins her tale as the house appears to be haunted by her dead family; she hears unusual sounds, music, and personal items turn up where she least expects them. I would suggest not reading this at night; I did and it intensified the creepiness more than I imagined. Yes, it's bloody, gory, and really gruesome, but the storyline is worth it all! I look forward to reading more by Vandelly! Thanks to NetGalley and Dutton for granting my wish with this ARC!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Madeline Nixon

    I hate it when a really good book falls flat. I loved the creepy vibes with the gruesome murders and ghostly figures in the house. That was probably my favourite part of the novel because it was so well done. But I wanted scarier and had been told it would be scarier. In addition to that, a little before halfway through the book it became glaringly obvious who really slaughtered the family, making me super disappointed when that reveal happened and my suspicion was true. I really wish this one e I hate it when a really good book falls flat. I loved the creepy vibes with the gruesome murders and ghostly figures in the house. That was probably my favourite part of the novel because it was so well done. But I wanted scarier and had been told it would be scarier. In addition to that, a little before halfway through the book it became glaringly obvious who really slaughtered the family, making me super disappointed when that reveal happened and my suspicion was true. I really wish this one ended better than it did.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tanaya Deshmukh

    The story had a very promising start and I was definitely scared. Am entire family is brutally murdered and the blame is placed on the father. Only one person survives, the baby of the family - our MC Dixie. Fast forward, she decides to go back to live in her old house (?!) instead of moving in with her boyfriend. My doubt of the woman being crazy started from there and did not change no matter what course the story took. The book was too long, almost nothing happened much of the time. I got tire The story had a very promising start and I was definitely scared. Am entire family is brutally murdered and the blame is placed on the father. Only one person survives, the baby of the family - our MC Dixie. Fast forward, she decides to go back to live in her old house (?!) instead of moving in with her boyfriend. My doubt of the woman being crazy started from there and did not change no matter what course the story took. The book was too long, almost nothing happened much of the time. I got tired of reading the same repetitive scenes and started skimming. The paranormal angle blends very well with the story and I was shit scared while reading them but I think this is the only thing that I enjoyed about the book. There are extremely graphic details about murders which were somewhat hard to get through. I also felt them to be repetitive after some point. Like whether the story had any point at all. It kind of became chaotic around 70-80% with the characters running around and got me confused. I think the writing should have been a little better here. There were not many characters so there was no reason to be confused but the chain of events kept me wondering. The end was something I had guessed early on, but I was expecting a twist. The end sequence was a little bit unbelievable and I don’t know, I was just happy the book was ending. TW : Too graphic

  26. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    3.5 stars. Twenty-seven year old Dixie Wheeler has always been told the story of how her father killed her mother and three brothers with an axe and then slashed his own throat with a butcher knife. She was only 18 months old when it happened so she has no memory of the massacre. Dixie and her boyfriend Garrett have been looking to buy a house. Her old house where the murders occurred comes up for sale. The previous owners swear it is haunted. She wants to buy it. Trouble is, she hasn't told Gar 3.5 stars. Twenty-seven year old Dixie Wheeler has always been told the story of how her father killed her mother and three brothers with an axe and then slashed his own throat with a butcher knife. She was only 18 months old when it happened so she has no memory of the massacre. Dixie and her boyfriend Garrett have been looking to buy a house. Her old house where the murders occurred comes up for sale. The previous owners swear it is haunted. She wants to buy it. Trouble is, she hasn't told Garrett this is "the" house. When she does, they fight. She decides to move there by herself. Yes, she sees the ghosts of her family, yes, she hears their voices. I have a bad feeling on how this is going to turn out. The story was creepy, bizarre at times, and not really my style of book but I couldn't tear my eyes from the pages. Dark thoughts about the house must be seriously affecting Dixie's reality. Since she's narrating the story, I wasn't sure how much could be believed. There are grisly scenes repeated over and over in the story. I thought the author did a good job of setting the spooky stage.

  27. 5 out of 5

    justonemorepage_

    "Dixie wheeler, she's a keeler, puts your body in the freezer". . Dixie Wheeler aka baby blue, is the only survivor from her familys massacre in 1992. Dixie was only a one year old when her father entered their house and slaughtered her 3 brothers, her mother, and then took his own life. It's been 25 years since she lost her entire family. Dixie is still desperate to find that connection to her family, so when her old family house goes up for sale, something in Dixie just clicks. She feels the onl "Dixie wheeler, she's a keeler, puts your body in the freezer". . Dixie Wheeler aka baby blue, is the only survivor from her familys massacre in 1992. Dixie was only a one year old when her father entered their house and slaughtered her 3 brothers, her mother, and then took his own life. It's been 25 years since she lost her entire family. Dixie is still desperate to find that connection to her family, so when her old family house goes up for sale, something in Dixie just clicks. She feels the only way to feel connected to her family once again, is to move into her old home where her family was slaughtered. Sounds normal right? Ha, just kidding. Who the hell would move into that house🤣. Dixie sets up her house exactly as her parents set it up 25 years prior. So it obviously doesn't take long before her family starts to take up residency once again. Dixie starts seeing things that aren't there, losing her memory, and constantly just misplacing things. Is this all in her head or is her family really there? Although this is a fictional read, I found myself completely consumed in the story as if it was real. I was completely spooked at times and honestly didn't know what was going on. This was filled with so many twists and turns, ghosts, murder, literally everything you're going to want for a spooky season read!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Richard K. Wilson

    So, do you have a Theme Song to your life? Dixie's is 'Baby Blue' and you had better prepare yourself to face the real horrors of the Human Spirit, in Vandelly's debut novel.....'Theme Music' This is a book unlike one you will read for a long time......I loved this!! So, instead of giving too much away of this shocker....here is my video review of the book from my Youtube Channel; AreYouIntoHorror here: https://youtu.be/NfRYfhtBrUI Enjoy.... Richard So, do you have a Theme Song to your life? Dixie's is 'Baby Blue' and you had better prepare yourself to face the real horrors of the Human Spirit, in Vandelly's debut novel.....'Theme Music' This is a book unlike one you will read for a long time......I loved this!! So, instead of giving too much away of this shocker....here is my video review of the book from my Youtube Channel; AreYouIntoHorror here: https://youtu.be/NfRYfhtBrUI Enjoy.... Richard

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    4.5 Stars First, I want to say that this book is filled with graphic violence, detailed acts of gruesome, inhumane acts of savagery and brutal murder. It might just be the bloodiest, goriest book that I've ever read. Ever. It's very dark and beyond disturbing so if you tend to stay away from books that read like that, then this definitely is not the book for you. With that said, I freaking loved T. Marie Vandelly's debut novel Theme Music! When Dixie Wheeler was 18 months old, her father t 4.5 Stars First, I want to say that this book is filled with graphic violence, detailed acts of gruesome, inhumane acts of savagery and brutal murder. It might just be the bloodiest, goriest book that I've ever read. Ever. It's very dark and beyond disturbing so if you tend to stay away from books that read like that, then this definitely is not the book for you. With that said, I freaking loved T. Marie Vandelly's debut novel Theme Music! When Dixie Wheeler was 18 months old, her father took an ax and brutally killed her mom, brothers Josh, Eddie, and Michael and then slit his own throat in their kitchen while she sat covered in blood in her highchair. She became known as "Baby Blue" for the song playing in a continuous loop while the murders took place, until she was found by Rory, a friend of her brother. Twenty-five years later when she finds her childhood home is for sale, she's determined to live there again, with or without her boyfriend Garrett, who refuses to move in and against her Aunt Celia's objections (she raised her). If she wants to finally try and discover what really happened that day, Dixie feels compelled to move in. And she does, with her family's old furniture, which she arranges exactly like it looked when they lived there. As soon as she moves in, ominous things begin to happen. Dixie starts having terrifying nightmares and loses bits of herself―she can't remember things almost as if she blacked out. Is Dixie losing her mind? Already insane from her childhood trauma? Or is the house haunted like it's rumored? That's what Dixie thinks when she begins seeing the ghosts of her dead family. As she delves into the past with the help of the detective who investigated the murders, she uncovers buried secrets and digs up more than just old ghosts. Like I already said, I loved this book. It was a thrill ride from the start, and I'm still impressed it was a debut! I know the gore will be a turn-off for a lot of readers, but I do enjoy graphic violence in my thrillers when it's done the right way as it is in this novel(for another excellent example, think Karin Slaughter's superbly written yet extremely graphic violence in her thriller novels). In this case, the brutality and violence, the disturbing content, vividly brings the horrific Wheeler Massacre to life, which I think was absolutely a brilliant move by Vandelly because you can't help but watch it play out in your head, bit by horrifying bit like a movie. It just amplifies the addictive quality of the novel as it goes along. There's really no turning back from this book once you're hooked by the narrative or Dixie, who is just a fantastic character. I absolutely can't wait to see what Vandelly has in store with her next novel and you can be sure that I'll be reading it! Definitely put this one on your TBR for this summer (or even this fall―perfect for seriously scary Halloween reading)! **Thank you Edelweiss and Dutton for the ARC. All opinions are my own.**

  30. 5 out of 5

    Octavia (ReadsWithDogs)

    " I didn't need to see how scared I was. The squirrelly quality of my heartbeat, the uncontrollable tremble in my knees, and the prick of a million tiny icicle hairs against the back of my shirt were reminder enough. My hands were shaking so bad I could barely get the floss out of the container. I shook my head as I took a seat on the toilet, wiped my brow with toilet paper, and steadied my knees with cold fingertips. Everything would be better in the morning. just had to get through the night.... L " I didn't need to see how scared I was. The squirrelly quality of my heartbeat, the uncontrollable tremble in my knees, and the prick of a million tiny icicle hairs against the back of my shirt were reminder enough. My hands were shaking so bad I could barely get the floss out of the container. I shook my head as I took a seat on the toilet, wiped my brow with toilet paper, and steadied my knees with cold fingertips. Everything would be better in the morning. just had to get through the night.... Live through the night. Freddy Krueger ran a knifey finger down my back as I stood to flush." 🥀🏚️👻 Theme Music follows Dixie Wheeler twenty five years after she was the only one to survive her family massacre. She's known as Baby Blue thanks to the song that was left playing in the background when she was discovered. Dixie has grown up living with her Aunt and never hearing about her family because it's too horrific for her Aunt to talk about. Then the family murder house comes on the market and Dixie can't believe her luck when she can afford it! She does the logical thing and moves in! The house has been remodeled since the massacre, but Dixie redoes it with the original furniture from her childhood and it seems like ghosts came with it. The writting was descriptive and lyrical and I loved how it embraced classic Horror tropes! Theme Music had it all! Gore-filled murder? ☑️ Dark family secrets? ☑️ Mysterious happenings? ☑️ Psychological suspense? ☑️ And best of all: A satisfactory ending!

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