Book review: All These Bodies by Kendare Blake

By Meliyah Venerable / Delta Sports Editor 

Throughout the summer of 1958 the “Bloodless murders” made their way around the midwest. Claiming seventeen lives on the destructive path. The small town of Black Deer Falls, Minnesota thought they escaped the terror, but one night the whole town was in shock and disbelief. 

A family in town had an encounter with this “bloodless killer” and all of them except their small baby had their throats slit, laying next to each other in the living room. A young woman by the name of Marie Catherine Hale was found in the middle of the bodies covered in blood, but not her own. The protagonist of the book Michael Jensen, who was the sheriff’s son and an aspiring journalist is the only one Marie will speak to. It is his turn to decide what is the truth and tell Marie’s story. 

The beginning of the book gives you a chance to figure out what kind of person 17-year-old Michael Jensen is. He is a bookworm, who plays baseball for the sole purpose of hanging out with his class clown best friend Percy. Michael is an aspiring journalist, he delivers the paper and is building a relationship with the big journalist in town.  

As Michael wanders around the crime scene, his eyes meet Marie’s. They suddenly have some kind of connection. He later finds her at the town jail that he spends a lot of time at. They slowly build a relationship, but there is so much mystery about her. He can’t decide if he trusts her or not. 

Marie Hale is a very mysterious girl. She looks and seems so innocent, but you can’t help but wonder if she actually did commit these terrible murders. You also question if she did it, then how she do it. She is described as a small, dainty girl. She seems to have no regret, but it is clear she has been through countless bad things throughout her life. 

When she was found the three other states where the murders took place all wanted a chance to interrogate and possibly convict Marie. Benjamin Pilson, the District Attorney from Nebraska wanted to take Marie with him and charge her for the murders, which would most likely mean the death penalty for Marie. Upon the court hearing to see where Marie stayed it was agreed upon that she may stay in Minnesota, and confess the truth. But under one condition… She will only speak to Michael.  

Michael is now faced with this huge responsibility. He wants to act as a journalist and gather the truth, and nothing but the truth. But how does he know if she is telling the truth? He believes she is innocent, but there is still something unknown and mysterious about her. It is his job to tell her story, to decide what the truth is and most of all keep her alive. Mr. Pilson does not like the idea of Michael and Marie chatting, so he does what he can to hear all that they speak about. But for both Marie and Pilson time is of the essence, as they are working against each other. 

The book is very captivating from the start. You want to continue to read and find out what really happened. There is a mystery about the book. Often there are parts of books that are predictable, but this is not. You might think you know what is happening but it will suddenly change that is what makes it so hard to put down. There are parts of the book that you will have to re-read because the sentence structure is a little confusing. Since it is based in a small country town, in 1958 that could be why. But it is unclear if it is intentional. 

As you read the book you almost feel like you’re investigating or like you’re in the book as well. You easily connect with characters because they seem like your average everyday people. The mass hysteria that these murders caused in the town are easily understandable. Coming from a small town myself, you get to learn about everyone. So when something like this happens, everyone gets involved as they did in the book. 

Overall, there isn’t a question as to why Kendare Blake is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. The book tells a fascinating murder mystery, the hooks you from the beginning and drags you along until the end. All These Bodies is a must-read for those who enjoy mysteries. 

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