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The Monsters We Make

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  37 reviews
For fans of Rene Denfeld and Shari Lapena comes a rich, atmospheric family drama set in the 1980's following the disappearances of two paperboys from a small midwestern town.

It's August 1984, and paperboy Christopher Stewart has gone missing.

Hours later, twelve-year-old Sammy Cox hurries home from his own paper route, red-faced and out of breath, hiding a terrible secret.

Expected publication: June 9th 2020 by Crooked Lane Books
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  42 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Kimberly Belle
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Im a sucker for a suspense novel crafted around real-life events, and Kali Whites The Monsters We Make had me hooked from page one. This is a story that creeps up the back of your neck, an intense, haunting tale that is as twisty as it is terrifying. A nail-biter with a dark, atmospheric heart.
Mar 02, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is set in the 80s in West Des Moines, Iowa.

It based on a true story which the author tells us about in their notes at the end of the book.

We have three narrators in the book sergeant Dale Goodkind, Crystal who wants to be a journalist and Sammy who is Crystals young brother.

The case starts off with a young boy goes missing at the start while doing his paper round. Dale Goodkind is in charge of finding the boy. A case that Dale Goodkind investigated two years ago is very similar the
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally, decent crime novel. Quite good actually. Based on real life kidnappings that several decades ago all but spelled out a certain shift in zeitgeist, the disappearance of a time of (at least perceived) innocence, when people were decent and children were safe. Set in Des Moines in the 80s, it has all the nostalgia of Stranger Things coupled with all the evils of stranger danger. Young boys are disappearing, paperboys, the community is terrified, the neighborhood will never be the same, ...more
Kendal (TatooineReads)
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4 🔪

Author: Kali White

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Release Date: 9th June 2020

(Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the free early copy!)


For fans of Rene Denfeld and Shari Lapena comes a rich, atmospheric family drama set in the 1980's following the disappearances of two paperboys from a small midwestern town.

It's August 1984, and paperboy Christopher Stewart has gone missing.

Hours later, twelve-year-old Sammy Cox hurries home from his own paper route, red-faced and
Kimba Tichenor
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A haunting mystery that transcends the genre, because it gives the reader no easy out, no pat resolution, no sinister villain on which to pin our fears. It is an engrossing and powerful read about how when we as a community "give a criminal the label of 'evil,' or categorize them as 'monster,' we them power through camouflage. We allow them to hide in plain sight while doing what they behind closed doors, in secret." I do not want to give away the plot, but if you value realism in the ...more
I must admit, one of the first things that drew me to this story was the era. I remember the 80s well.

The story takes us back to a time when notepads, library books, cassette tapes, and landlines were the norm. A time before we had the internet and cell phones at our fingertips. And more importantly, how prevalent paper runs were back then.

The story is told in third person and from a number of perspectives. (No head-hopping).

This is a whodunnit type story with a certain character painted so
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When it is snowy and cold outside (and my car is buried under 2ft of ❄ ), superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book and many more today. LOL

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

For fans of Rene Denfeld and
Donna Hines
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
Based on a real story with fictional characters this one was different.
It had that weird who could've done such a thing feel that kept readers engaged with eyes squarely upon the paper boys and their families.
The complacency in believing the boys were safe is what has brought on the spur of emotions.
The notion that monsters are made or born is another avenue one can take to understanding it all.
Having been married to a nightmare as a 'kept woman' I can sympathize with the subjects as isolation
Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Monsters We Make.

I enjoy novels based on true crime and I was intrigued by the premise so I was excited when my request was approved.

The Monsters We Make is a well-written, fictionalized account based on the real life disappearances of three young newspaper boys in the Midwest in the 1980s.

In August 1984, a young boy goes missing.

Sammy Cox is a 12 year old boy hiding a terrible secret.

His sister, Crystal, an aspiring journalist, intends to write an
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I grew up in Iowa in the 80s, and remember clearly Johnny Gosch and Eugene Wade Martin's abductions. White's novel is loosely based on these disappearances (and one I don't have memories of). I found it hard to put this novel down. I enjoyed the different perspectives which varied by chapter that allowed for the reader to see multiple characters thoughts and feelings. White did a fantastic job recreating the culture of the 80s and the innocence of that time and the freedoms that kids who grew up ...more
Kayla Frazee
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have to admit it probably took me until halfway through to become invested. But once I was, I was so deeply impacted by this book.

I appreciated the complexities of each perspective in this book- an 18 year old awkward yet adorably bright, innocent high school senior, a 13 year old chubby, shy, nearly suicidal paper boy (these two are siblings), and a detective investigating a series of missing boys in the rural midwest.

This was, in my limited opinion, the most vivid and accurate portrayal of
Misty Williams
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a chilling read this story is. It's based off true events and it definitely takes you back to that time period. Every parents worst nightmare takes place. You really had a feel for the characters. Very good thriller!
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book; it captured me during the first chapter and held me until the end. "THE MONSTERS WE MAKE" is set in an any neighborhood kind of place. Though it is really in Des Moines of the early 1980s it really could be in any city or towneven mine. The setup is that two newspaper boys have disappeared early in the morning as they prepared to begin their route. Because of the near-dawn hour there were no witnesses, no sounds, no evidence. It was as if the two boys merely vanished.

One of
Deirdre Rosenberg
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I liked this book very much! It reads like true crime, which is a really nice and welcome change of pace for me. I love the mystery/thriller genres and thought this was a unique angle. White captured the vibe of the early 80s well and she kept this plot moving at a very steady clip without leaving details behind. ...more
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I greatly enjoyed this book. It takes place in Des Moines, IA in the early 1980s when a couple of disappearances of local paperboys scares the town into believing there is a serial killer on the loose. The primary characters are 12 yr old Sammy, a paperboy himself, his 18 year old sister, Crystal, a wannabe journalist, and the officer in charge of the disappearance cases, Dale. The book goes back and forth between the POVs of these 3 characters.

There is a lot going on here for us to figure out
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'll be real: I struggled with this one. It struck me as a novel written by someone not at all comfortable with thrillers. There were obvious attempts to push the envelope, but they never reached their full potential. This book was like taking someone to a haunted house but in broad daylight and the house itself has 100 people in it: everything seems a lot less scary with that lens on.
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, netgalley
Growing up during the 80's I remember children disappearing and the pictures on the back of milk cartons. This book is based on a few of those real life cases as the author explains in the notes section.

This book was a bit difficult to read with all that is going on in the world at the moment. But I wanted to focus as much as I could and really give this book as much of my attention as I could and I am glad I did.

The story centers around a neighborhood in Des Moines, Iowa where paperboys are
Christine Moore
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The Monsters We Make is a mother's worst nightmare.A boy go missing while taking care of his paper route. This story is told by 3 different people. Officer Dale Goodkind, is the police officer in charge of the investigation. Sammy, who is a 13 year old boy also with a paper route who seems to be hiding something. Crystal, Sammy's 17 year old sister, who is investigating the crime thinking it will help her with her essays for entering college. This story is creepy, scary, and keeps you on the ...more
Johnna Whetstone
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a very chilling, well written read, which had me covered in chills while also gasping for breath. I thought it being about a true story made it much more chilling, astonishing, and shocking! The author was sympathetic, I think because it was based on a true crime, and couldve possibly went to more extreme and disturbing writing, but overall I felt the story was done very well and made for great chilling, twisted read! I highly recommend to both thriller/mystery and true crime lovers!
Alexis Nascimento
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was the early 80s, before children and their parents had to worry about the worst that could happen. Kids could run free and play outside with abandon. Young boys could do their paper route on Sunday mornings before the sun rose. Until a paperboy is taken in plain sight, twos years after another one went missing.

Told from the perspective of a young boy, his journalistic sister and the detective on the case, The Monsters We Make is truly enthralling. I might dare to say that this may be one of
Adrianna Lamm
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was an amazing read. I love that this story is based a true story that actually happened made this book even a better read.
Jamie Trauth
Feb 23, 2020 marked it as to-read
In the 80s, in West Des Moines, Iowa, a string of murders waged war on the hearts of parents, the victims, paper boys.

This is the true story of the Paper Boy murders. As a parent, a tale that hits you deep in your gut. It was repulsive, and heart wrenching. To know what the families went through, breaks my heart.

I was absorbed. The writing was excellent. The story was intricately told in third person.

Well worth your time.

* Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for a copy in exchange of my
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book about a small boy whose words are not taken seriously and how he goes on to solve his problems himself. The back drop is the kidnapping of paper boys in the 1980s. The book deals with a very sensitive topic without delving into descriptive details but still makes the reader understand the magnitude of the offence. It emphasises that parents should listen to what the children say and trust them which I wholly accept. The characters are very well developed and the families are ...more
Sherryl Clark
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After a couple of chapters, I realised I had read this book before in hard cover. However, I was happy to read it again and enjoy. The factual background material (paper boys kidnapped and murdered) added extra depth to the story. So we have both a historical novel (it's set in 1984) and the sense that this could just as well be a story happening right now.
The focus on the boy at the centre of the story, Sammy Cox, provides a keen insight into how predators operate - that it doesn't have to be
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had a growing ache in the pit of my stomach every time I turned a page. This story is every parents worst nightmare. A child missing. No leads. No clues. Then another child. The cycle continues. Evil lurking right under your nose. This story preyed on every fear not only for a parent but for a child. Its really eye opening at just how easy it is for a child to be manipulated by an adult. I found myself scrambling to pinpoint the guilty party and just when I thought I had it figured out I ...more
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The Monsters We Make by Kali White.
Publishing date - 9th June 2020
Publisher - Crooked Lane Books
It's August 1984, and paperboy Christopher Stewart has gone missing.
Hours later, twelve-year-old Sammy Cox hurries home from his own paper route, red-faced and out of breath, hiding a terrible secret.
Crystal, Sammy's seventeen-year-old sister, is worried by the disappearance but she also sees opportunity: the Stewart case has echoes of an earlier unsolved disappearance of another boy, one
Kate Morgan
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed "The Monsters We Make" by Kali White. The storyline was deeply thrilling and action-packed. I finished this book in twenty-four hours over this past weekend. It was extremely difficult to put down and I loved that it was based on a true kidnapping case. True crime lovers - you will have to pick this one up. 4/5 on Goodreads.
Miss R
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A superb, true crime novel from Kali White.

If you enjoy a crime novel grounded in real-life events, "The Monsters We Make" is simply unmissable. Based in the 1980s, the novel explores the disappearances of two paperboys from a small midwestern town. Atmospheric and claustrophobic, White evokes with her stylish prose, the zeitgeist of an era defined not only by Reaganism, yuppies and big hairdos but also some
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I absolutely loved this book, Im very new to mystery/thrillers but this one is definitely a favorite. Its told from a variety of points of view, all centered around the disappearance of a young paper boy two years after a similar cold case. Its set in the 80s, back when everyone thought it was safe for children to roam their neighborhoods and pedophiles just didnt exist (or werent spoken of).
The ending definitely left me wanting more and I would love for the story to continue, I dont wish to
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for a copy of this book to review !

The Monsters We Make
by Kali White

This was an excellent mystery about a neighborhood boy who goes missing never to return from his early morning paper route. The story unfolds through the eyes of another young paper boy in neighborhood and his older sister who aspires to become a writer. Several characters in the story appear to fit the bill of the kidnapper but the story keeps you guessing. Strong writing, good plot,
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Kali White is the author of the novel The Monsters We Make (Crooked Lane, June 2020) and the novels The Good Divide and The Space Between (MGPress as Kali VanBaale) Shes the recipient of an American Book Award, an Eric Hoffer Book Award, an Independent Publishers silver medal for fiction, and a State of Iowa major artist grant among others. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The ...more

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