by T. Marie Vandelly
Publication Date : July 23, 2019
Pages : 400
Synopsis From Publisher :
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.
The thought of moving into a house where a mass murder took place is terrifying to me. Especially if the victims of the massacre were my family. However, this is the scenario Dixie Wheeler has willingly placed herself in.
At the age of one, Dixie Wheeler suffered an unimaginable loss which has haunted and shaped her life. She is the sole survivor of her family’s murder at the hand of her father. When Dixie’s family home and the scene of the massacre is listed for sale, her longing for a connection with her family outweighs her common sense – she moves in. Very soon the house begins to feel as if it has a life of its own. Drawing Dixie further away from reality. Will Dixie be able to confront her demons before they consume her?
To say that Dixie has had it rough would be an understatement. From the age of one the cards have been stacked against her. While she has managed to lead a fairly normal and productive life, her life seems stunted. Almost as if she is stuck in neutral. Although she was raised by her aunt who loves her, there is something lacking from her life - an emptiness. This emptiness is palpable. Readers will experience Dixie’s loneliness and isolation. Although she is in a committed relationship and has familial support, seclusion and sadness still linger. I found Dixie frustrating but I could not help feeling sympathetic. I understood her need to move into her old family home, but I also thought it was incredibly foolish. The competing feelings of frustration and sympathy made Dixie intriguing and complex. My absolute favorite reads always feature a lead character who made me feel multiple emotions. Dixie Wheeler is great example of a multifaceted and complex character.
I cannot wrap up this review without discussing Dixie’s childhood home. One would assume the home is creepy and dark. However the house has been renovated and modernized to appeal to buyers. Vandelly describes doors which do not close and strange noises, but these things are not what make the house seem haunted. Instead Dixie’s feelings, the changes in her behavior, and character development are what make the house sinister and eerie.
Theme Music contains many special quirks which culminate into a riveting and original work of crime fiction. I have read several books which attempt to blend horror and crime fiction. There are few authors who get it right, Vandelly got it right. Although the pacing was a bit slow at times, the story simmers with tension. By incorporating the perfect balance of elements from both crime fiction and horror, Theme Music will satisfy fans of both genres.
Murder and Moore Rating:
4 out of 5 Stars