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All These Bodies

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Sixteen bloodless bodies. Two teenagers. One impossible explanation.

Summer 1958—a string of murders plagues the Midwest. The victims are found in their cars and in their homes—even in their beds—their bodies drained, but with no blood anywhere.

September 19- the Carlson family is slaughtered in their Minnesota farmhouse, and the case gets its first lead: 15-year-old Marie Catherine Hale is found at the scene. She is covered in blood from head to toe, and at first she’s mistaken for a survivor. But not a drop of the blood is hers.

Michael Jensen, son of the local sheriff, yearns to become a journalist and escape his small-town. He never imagined that the biggest story in the country would fall into his lap, or that he would be pulled into the investigation, when Marie decides that he is the only one she will confess to.

As Marie recounts her version of the story, it falls to Michael to find the truth: What really happened the night that the Carlsons were killed? And how did one girl wind up in the middle of all these bodies?

304 pages, Hardcover

First published September 21, 2021

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About the author

Kendare Blake

39 books54.7k followers
So, I write books. The Anna Dressed in Blood duo is horror, The Goddess War trilogy is mythology, and Three Dark Crowns is fantasy, because the world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you, may not be right for some. Love to read, too. Fiction, philosophy, good books, bad books, because you take the good you take the bad you take them both and there you have a stack of books and stuff. I mean, you've got to be adventurous. There's more to life that what you're living, so take a chance and face the wind.

There's more coming soon like ALL THESE BODIES and a new fantasy series, so don't waste another minute on your cryin. We're nowhere near the end.

My likes include animals, food, and nostalgia. I mean, whatever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy, the evening TV? Used to be everywhere you look, there's a heart, a hand to hold on to.

Anyway, I love to hear from readers so drop me a line here or at my website and we'll talk about friends to know, and ways to grow, and how if you threw a party you would see that the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

We can also talk about all the sitcom theme songs in this bio. Sha la la la.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,385 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,508 reviews30.9k followers
September 23, 2021
this book should be filed under ‘evidence confirming recency bias.’ the ending totally let me down and, because of that, the enjoyment i felt throughout now feels forgotten.

i honestly was really loving this. i think KB has perfected the small town feel. the atmosphere, the characters and the way they talk, the description of the town and its citizens, and just the overall writing is such a good reflection of the time period and location. i felt immediately transported and immersed. its honestly what i loved most about this.

i also loved the murders. you know im a true crime junkie. the bodies. the missing blood. the one key witness turned suspect. i ate it up and was fascinated by the real life inspiration behind it all. marie did frustrate me with her vague nature and lack of willingness to answer questions. i wanted to shake her most of the time. but i like the bond michael formed with her as he tried to come at the investigation from a journalistic perspective.

that leads us to the ending/reveal. its… not great. it creates more questions than answers. the information discovered throughout the story is never explained properly. and i just dont like how everything plays out. its unfulfilling and boring and just doesnt satisfy a reader who put in the effort to read and get to that point. such a shame.

this book has really excellent world-building and writing style, but the conclusion is making it hard to remember that.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,470 reviews9,367 followers
March 21, 2023
In the Summer of 1958, a string of unsolved murders dubbed The Bloodless Murders plagued the U.S. Mid-West.

In each case, the bodies are found completely drained of blood. Defying explanation, there is also no blood to be found anywhere at the scene, or any other evidence, for that matter. How is the killer getting away with this?

In September, the spree ends in a small Minnesota town with the killing of the Carlson family. 15-year old, Marie Catherine Hale, is found at the scene absolutely covered in blood.

Initially mistaken for a survivor, it turns out, none of the blood is hers and Miss Hale didn't previously know the Carlsons. She is the only lead.

Michael Jensen, the Sheriff's son, soon gets pulled into the investigation when Marie declares that he is the only person she is willing to tell her story to.

Michael can't believe his luck. With dreams of becoming a journalist, and leaving his small town behind, Marie's story could be exactly what he needs to help him reach that goal.

However, it's more than that. He's drawn to Marie. The pretty girl is not like other girls he knows. She fast and world-wise. He can't help but be intrigued by her.

Over the course of several jailhouse confessionals, Marie Catherine reveals a tale to Michael that includes a potential supernatural twist to the killings.

Certainly, there's nothing more to that than the active imagination of a young girl trying to avoid blame for truly heinous acts, right?

Nevertheless, Marie couldn't have acted alone, so who was her accomplice? Will the police be able to locate him based on the information Marie Catherine has put forth?

You'll have to read it to find out! Y'all, this was really good. I enjoyed it so much.

When I first started, I was instantly reminded of Truman Capote's masterpiece, In Cold Blood. The whole 1950s-era Mid-Western feel channeled that, for sure. If you are unaware, ICB is my favorite True Crime book of all time.

My In Cold Blood vibes were definitely not far off, as the Author's Note at the end did mention the Clutter murders and Truman Capote.

Overall, I found All These Bodies to be unique, compelling and fast-paced. I loved how Blake built-out the relationship between Michael and Marie Catherine.

I also really enjoyed the pace at which Marie Catherine's story is told. It kept me completely focused and engaged.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Quill Tree Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I will remember this one for a long time to come.

Definitely recommend!
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,419 reviews77.6k followers
November 22, 2022
"Tell the truth and shame the devil. I always thought that would be easy. But what do you do when the truth that you're faced with also happens to be impossible?"

All These Bodies has been one of my most anticipated 2021 releases since it was first announced. The fact that it blends a historical aspect with the mystery/horror subject piqued my curiosity, and the first 1/3 of the book had me riveted. I think the middle chunk was what really bogged the story down, as it became less about the murders and more about the relationship between Marie and Michael. Once things ramp back up toward the end, there's a brusque "conclusion" that didn't really give me the insight I wanted into what was going on all along. This book might suffer from the "trying to fit too many things into one story and not making any of them great" conundrum, and without a satisfying ending, I couldn't give it more than 3 stars. Not exactly sure who to recommend this one to, but I know the right reader is out there. Maybe those who like more of a textbook feel to their serial killer thrillers?

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
February 16, 2022
2 "disappointing, dissonant, mild flop of a job" stars !!

Second Most Disappointing Read of 2021 Award

I am a fan of Kendare Blake's YA fantasy series Three Dark Crowns...I have read the first in the series as well as two short prequels and found them absolutely delightful and entertaining (2 excellent four star reads and one a very good 3.5 star read). I have also shortlisted the next book in the series.

When my lovely bf bought this and put it on my new kindle I squealed and was excited that Ms. Blake had written a supernatural serial killer mystery. This is where the good stuff ends....

Ms. Blake has written a book that is mostly inconsistent, illogical and lacking emotional resonance. This was inspired by teenage serial killers in the late 1950s Midwest that killed 16 people across several states
These fictional characters behave in ways that stretch credulity and the plot is juvenile and convenient with supernatural elements thrown in when she doesn't seem to know where to take the plot. The story is uneven and I'm sorry to say I found much of this book sloppy and lazy. Unacceptable for a writer of Ms. Blake's calibre.

This is far from a terrible book but goddam this is very far from a good book too.

Oh well....still very excited to continue the Three Dark Crowns Series !

Profile Image for jesslyn.
308 reviews233 followers
November 2, 2021
”No! I’m NOT going to tell you! I’m going to just tell the one guy friend of mine who I met yesterday by the way! But he’s the only person who will believe me unlike all of you SUCKERS! But then I’m not going to do that either!”

…And it goes on for 300 pages

If there is an award for most pointless books I’ve ever read, this book would be a frontrunner.

I’ve never felt so annoyed and cranky after I read a book. And we’re talking about “I’m bad-mouthing it” kind of cranky. What the hell did I read this for?

This book centers around Michael Jensen, whose father is a cop. One day, there is this homicide happening in a house and the only one left in the crime scene is a fifteen year old girl, drenched from head to toe with blood. All the other people in that house are dead, their blood drained. By what? Vampires? Magical mosquitos? Nobody knows! But the girl is only “willing” to talk to Michael because no one else would believe her anyway.

Pay attention to the quotation marks there. I’m getting where to where this book gets annoying.

So in here, we have a cold-blooded murder mystery crisscrossing with a hue of paranormal. The last book I read that I could compare with at the very least would be Stephen King’s The Outsider though that won’t be fair either since one is YA and the other is adult and written by Stephen goddamn King.

Allow me to spare you the agony of going through such a tiresome journey: this book has uncontestably zero plot. Read the synopsis again. That’s what happened until the end. It’s basically this Marie girl being annoying and not willing to talk about exactly what we want to know. And if you think the ending would appease your hunger for answers… oh boy, you’re in for a treat because you will get absolutely ZERO answers either. So why did I read all of that for? I have no clue. I felt like I was doing a research paper on the Zodiac Killer or Jack the Ripper or something: tremendously laborious yet futile. That would give you a good idea on what happened and how it ends.

If we are touching the grounds of “open-endedness”, this book doesn’t even allow me the least bit of contentedness to end the book with no plot and no answers. The thing about putting up a mystery centered around one person who won’t speak anything about it is that it will get old, and Kendare Blake doesn’t exactly have a plan in mind to keep me invested. There are no progresses or investigations (or even if there are, it’s not directly shown). It’s 300 pages of Michael trying to get Marie to talk and Marie not wanting to then proceeds to irritate the fuck out of us all.

Michael is bland and though he isn’t much of a fun person to spend the time with, I think I’ve had no complaints about the poor guy. Marie, on the other hand, makes me want to chuck my phone to the wall and that’s exceptional because I love my phone. She is uncannily fictional: adamant girl who refuses to bow to anyone with the world kissing her heels begging her to say something.

I need to stress out for the third time that nothing happens. It’s like the author is trying to find a way to accentuate this story by creating a girl so mysterious we know nothing about her, but she has to make the girl clam up so she would sound “interesting”. This worked in like the first 50 pages before it seemed like she was stalling and then she was downright annoying, petulant, and childlike.

Though ambiguity in endings is something common in psychological thrillers (one of my favorite genres), its scope on this book is far too large and I struggle to find what I’m supposed to believe. This book doesn’t give me an option to believe in and it feels like I’m patching up pieces from newspaper clippings. The ending is one that refuses to end and if the book doesn’t give me the slightest bit of answer that I want… then why did I read it at all? For atmospheric study?
Profile Image for Lia Carstairs.
397 reviews2,126 followers
November 30, 2021
I am officially spooked™
“All these bodies without blood."

Our narrator is a 17-year old future journalist named Michael who recounts his view of The Bloodless Murders case. The one person at the scene of the crime declares that they'll only tell their story to him and him only -- for some unknown reason.

These murders have been terrorizing the whole country and now the case of the century is at the hands of Michael. He just needs to prove that Marie - the suspect - was only the accomplice and the true murderer is still out there. Easy.

Except... sometimes the facts aren't as easy as they're made it out to be and Michael soon discovers that.

"Tell the truth and shame the devil. I always thought that would be easy. But what do you do when the truth that you're faced with also happens to be impossible?"

Michael as a narrator was... interesting to say the least. I'm impressed at how he was able to separate his emotions from the horrors he saw at times like wow I could never.

But also sometimes he could be such an idiot like if someone was literally pointing a gun at you and about to shoot you -- when you manage to get away the first thing you do is tell the cops/parents right??? MICHAEL DIDNT DO THAT🤡 and its not like he was threatened or anything by them, he just decided not to tell anyone?? * sigh *

That was probably the only really stupid decision there well that and him wanting to break a murderer out of prison

I must admit that one thing I did find done well was the murder mystery being pretty spooky and interesting -- but at the same time, it was also really boring?? I don't know if that makes sense but that's how I felt. It was really easy to guess who the culprit was and this is coming from someone who sucks at guessing that.

And the ending to it all was really underwhelming to be honest. That ending didn't reveal everything clearly and actually left me with more questions than answers.

Also I may be dumb, but what even was that last chapter???

Anyways overall this was super boring but alright. I've definitely read way better mysteries but this wasn't completely terrible.



Many thanks Harper Collins Canada for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!
Profile Image for Heather *sad DNF queen*.
Author 17 books442 followers
October 28, 2021
**Slightly spoilery review**

I'm kind of annoyed at this book for a few reasons.

1) The lack of connection to the characters due to the story being Michael's "report" on the incidents
2) The way this story took a supernatural turn... or did it??? WHO KNOWS BECAUSE THERE IS NO CONCLUSION
3) The fact that we never find out what truly happened. It seemed like the author just had all these elements but didn't know what to do with them, so she just decided to NOT solve the crime she came up with.

I keep picking up these books with ambiguous endings and I hate it. I want answers. I don't want to feel like I wasted my time. And I don't want to have to be like this in order to figure out the story:

Profile Image for The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori).
1,161 reviews1,299 followers
September 16, 2021
Full Review on The Candid Cover

All These Bodies by Kendare Blake is a compelling thriller that lingered with me long after I turned the last page. The story depicts a series of murders, with each of the bodies drained of blood, and the main characters are expertly written. I don’t normally gravitate to books about vampires, but I found that the paranormal aspects of this one have a unique angle, and I enjoyed the way the author leaves it to the reader to decide what they believe. A suspenseful and thought-provoking mystery, this is a great read for fans of true crime.

In the summer of 1958, the Carlson family is brutally murdered inside their own home, their bodies drained of blood. At the scene, police find a girl covered in blood, but none of it is hers, and she is completely unharmed. With the entire town reeling with questions–who is Marie? Where did the blood come from?–Marie decides that the only person she will share her story is the sheriff’s son, aspiring journalist Michael. As Michael sits down with Marie in pursuit of the truth and hears a story that seems outrageous, he must decide if he believes her, and find a way to convince the district attorney of Marie’s innocence before she is given the death penalty.


This book has such complex characters who I loved getting to know as the story progressed. The story is told through Michael’s point of view, and I enjoyed the angle of an outsider trying to figure out what happened. This creates a lot of suspense, as the shocking details of Marie’s story are slowly revealed. Marie herself is such a mysterious character, and she is difficult to figure out. Is she a murderer, or is she a victim? While Marie isn’t the easiest character to connect with, I enjoyed the thrill of watching her story unfold and the bit of agency she has as she is only willing to tell her story on her own terms.


Throughout the book, there are many powerful themes, including what happens to women’s stories in the media and what it means for something to be true. As the story makes clear, it doesn’t really matter what Marie says because everyone–the town, the press, the attorney–have already cemented their own beliefs about her, and nothing she says will change them. This book exposes how there is no such thing as the objective truth since the truth is influenced by our own beliefs, and, accordingly, the ending is left up to the reader’s interpretation. I am not normally a fan of open-ended endings, and I know some readers might not be satisfied with this, but I found that this conclusion drives home the message in a powerful way as it asks the reader what they choose to believe about Marie’s story.


All These Bodies by Kendare Blake is a powerful thriller about the truth and what it takes for a story to be believed. I enjoyed the concept of a journalist trying to uncover the truth about an unbelievable story, and the characters are well-written. As a story about a murder investigation, this one has an interesting perspective on the truth, making it a thought-provoking read. Those looking for a unique thriller this fall will not want to miss this one.
Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
707 reviews1,955 followers
December 9, 2022
"What do you want, Michael?" he asked. "What are you after? And think very hard before you answer."
"I'm after the truth," I said finally.
"That's all the good journalists are after. That's all you're looking for."

This wasn't bad but I wish it gave me more closure.
Up until 70% I thought I'd end up giving this at least one more star, but the ending and the loose threads the author left behind left me unsatisfied.
Not bad overall, though. It reminded me a little of Matt Wesolowski's Six Stories series, which I'll never stop recommending.
Profile Image for Erin Craig.
Author 7 books3,666 followers
October 21, 2021
I cannot adaquately express how much I adore this book. Hot damn, what a powerful story!
Profile Image for Fanna.
987 reviews498 followers
Want to read
March 11, 2021
March 10, 2021: A teen girl accused of a string of horrifying murders confesses her crimes to the sheriff's son? Well, I'm here to confess my absolute interest in this book, thank you.
Profile Image for Elena.
153 reviews70 followers
April 1, 2022
~ Buddy read with Farah~


Here is my review with no format and no prose or point because I'm tired asf of this book.

1. This turned supernatural
2. The main character was a SIMP for the murder suspect and like NOT in a good way
3. The ending doesn't make any sense
4. The main character had no personality
5. The prose is nonexistent
6. There is no mystery to be solved

Thanks for coming to my Ted talk
Sincerely, a tired kid.
Profile Image for Ashley.
776 reviews418 followers
October 8, 2021
Star Rating: —> 2.5 Stars rounded^

Very disappointed. What a waste of what could've been SUCH a great plot! UGH. I was so looking forward to this, and idk WHY I rated it 3.5 Stars previously, but I read it again to make sure I didn't miss anything bc its a quick read... but just no. *sighs*
Profile Image for Grace.
125 reviews112 followers
Want to read
February 1, 2021
Profile Image for Joan He.
Author 6 books7,073 followers
July 17, 2022
I'm always a sucker for books that challenge the reader to fill in the blanks and, more bravely, challenge the reader to leave some blanks unfilled, to sit with the uncertainty and to figure out if we want the truth or if we want answers that help us make sense of things. while the latter can seem requisite for a story, stories too can sometimes confuse and serve only the teller (as we see so clearly in marie's case). then, we have to ask ourselves if we want answers, really, or if we just want the stories to satisfy some itch. but perhaps the thing that I love most about true crime is that the acts and motives sometimes don't make sense, and the stories shouldn't necessarily be things that feel good or satisfying going down. in other words, the stories aren't for US, and kendare blake honors that truth perfectly
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 28 books5,610 followers
April 29, 2022
True crime, small town shook by crime wave, and a VAMPIRE all combine to make this a unique and fascinating read. After a string of bizarre murders, a young girl is caught literally redhanded at the scene of the latest killing, but her story is very strange, and she will only tell it to the sheriff's son.

Mysterious without being overly coy, full of details without telling you every single button on everyone's shirt, this is more Anna Dressed in Blood than Three Dark Queens, and I am HERE for it!
Profile Image for Andy.
2,360 reviews185 followers
October 22, 2021

The summer of 1958 has the Midwest gripped by a brutal string of murders. Dubbed the bloodless murders, the victims all have died by exsanguination. In September the murders have come to Minnesota, but there is a change. A young girl, Marie Catherine Hale, is found at the scene covered in blood. She refuses to tell her story to all except Michael Jenson, the sheriff's son.

This was an interesting read, overall it was interesting but I have so many questions left? While Marie tells her story, we never really get concrete answers as to who committed the murders or how certain things happened. The ending really left me underwhelmed because the book kept hinting at answers to come, but they never came.

I did enjoy the tone and atmosphere of this book. It was thrilling and entertaining to read. I just wish I had gotten more from the story. The question of vampires was never completely denied or confirmed.

Rep: N/A

CWs: Abandonment, underage alcohol consumption, animal death, blood, child death, confinement, death, death of parent, grief, misogyny, murder, sexism, violence.
Profile Image for Darinda.
8,062 reviews144 followers
December 24, 2021
A series of murders that leaves the victim’s bodies drained of blood. Another gruesome murder, but this time a teen girl is found at the scene. At first, she appears to be a victim, but she is soon the suspect. A teen boy who aspires to be a journalist, and is the sheriff’s son, is the only one she will talk to.

All These Bodies is a young adult novel that combines historical fiction, mystery, and horror. The story is told from the boy’s point of view, and he’s not the best interrogated to find out what really happened.

A slow burning novel. Fans of true crime and horror are likely to enjoy All These Bodies.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
1,675 reviews2 followers
March 12, 2022
ALL THESE BODIES by Kendare Blake was a compelling read that I finished in two days. This one is part horror (psychological and physical), and a large part mystery. After a series of murders that leave behind bodies drained of blood, a family murdered in Minnesota gives police the first clue: A 15 year-old girl, drenched in blood, in the middle of the farmhouse.

None of it is hers.

Marie latches onto Michael Jensen, teenage son of the local sheriff, and claims she will only tell her story to him.

"So much fear over one little girl . . . "

This is where I'd say I started to see the book as part "coming of age", as well. Marie's tale is unconventional to say the least. Did she kill all those people? Was she an accomplice? Or was something more sinister involved? Michael is seen as a "friend" of sorts. While he knows the crimes she is accused of, he also is able to see that there is so much more than what she says. There are no easy answers here, and I realize some people won't like that at all. However, I found that the ambiguity and the uncertainty were the BEST parts of this novel. This is what elevates it from other murder mystery novels, and sets it above in my mind. When I finished reading, I was still thinking about everything, and the fact that the possibilities are there, is what makes this a book that will stay in my mind--one I can see myself re-reading, in fact.

A fantastic and different type of mystery for those that appreciate having the freedom to come to some conclusions on their own.

Profile Image for Stacey-Lea.
178 reviews19 followers
July 16, 2021
So, I really struggled with All These Bodies.

As it is incredibly plot-driven it was hard to connect with the characters. It almost felt closer to reading an academic paper or study at times than a fictional mystery. Because of this I wasn’t able to invest into the story as much as I wanted. Characters just really carry a story for me more than plot so that was the divisive point for me. Our leads, Michael and Marie were okay, but it wasn’t enough.

The pacing was also predominantly slow moving as well, which didn’t help. Honestly, many times I found that I just did not want to pick it up. Toward the half way point the plot started to pick up and I was hopeful for a moment, so I powered through but this is just not what I hope it was going to be. Especially because that ending? I’m sorry but that ending was so unsatisfactory, and not worth the time (sorry about it).

If you’re going into All These Bodies expecting a fast YA mystery then this one isn’t for you. This isn’t your Truly Devious or Good Girls Guide to Murder so just go into it with that in mind.

I’m giving this a three star rating mostly because I don’t think the book itself is bad, it just wasn’t what I wanted. The writing is great and the attention to detail is amazing, Blake has really done her research here, and that I can appreciate. I’m just not the audience for this one.

ARC provided by the publishers through edelweiss for an honest review
Profile Image for Melissa.
Author 11 books4,244 followers
November 1, 2021
This book was just excellent, a gripping story told from an unexpected angle. Put into a blender: midcentury historical, true crime, police procedural, coming of age in a small town, paranormal romance (and its ugly aftermath), bloody mystery, unreliable narrator.

Seriously, Blake just kills it. It's got the feeling of a familiar story rendered wonderfully fresh and strange by a change in perspective and a jump in time. In that sense it's also a super inspiring book for writers in search of a story (on this, the first day of NaNoWriMo 2021): it will make you feel like there are infinite ways to make a narrative arc exciting and new! Read this!!
Profile Image for Nana .
1,201 reviews36 followers
October 13, 2021
I liked the atmosphere at first and it seemed like I could enjoy it, but I didn't, my biggest problem was that I didn't find it believable that a 16 year old teenager was interrogating an alleged culprit, in fact those scenes felt like it was for adults, but then the boy said he had to go to school and reminded me that he was young, also that ending was disappointing, I felt like I read for nothing, waste of time.
Profile Image for The Girl with the Sagittarius Tattoo.
2,073 reviews264 followers
October 2, 2021
This is the third Kendare Blake novel I've tried, including Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares. I've also added Three Dark Crowns to my TBR based on my friend's good experience with it, but I don't know if I'll end up trying it out. My take on this author is that her stories seem to be juuuuust missing something. They're almost good. Anna Dressed in Blood is the best of the three I've read, mostly attributable to two likeable characters and a more fully fleshed-out story.

A spate of inexplicable murders trails across both the middle states and newspaper front pages: ANOTHER BLOODLESS FAMILY FOUND DEAD IN HOME. Every midwest town holds its breath, praying the evil passes by until the law can catch the killer... Sheriff's son Mike can hardly believe it: a call in the night has deputies charging to the Carlsons' house. The killer has struck his hometown, but this time they've found someone at the scene - a girl, just younger than Mike, covered head to toe in blood and none of it her own. When authorities from several states demand to interview her, she refuses unless she's allowed to tell her story to Mike alone.

I expected her to tell Mike about each incident, but she just makes small talk and flirts, and eventually mentions what happened to her mother and stepfather. She claims she was in the company of an adult male who went on a killing spree, but she never provides the backstory. I can't believe I finished a book about an interview with a perpetrator who never really talked about the crimes.

And that's what I meant before. Blake wants readers to feel like things are spooky and unnatural, but misses opportunities to let us feel unnerved. I dunno, I just don't think this author's for me.
Profile Image for Brooke — brooklynnnnereads.
985 reviews240 followers
October 26, 2021
4.5 stars

This book is for all those true crime lovers out there. Although there's somewhat of a twist when it comes to the murders (I'm being intentionally vague here to avoid spoiler territory).

This novel is a perfect read for Autumn and Winter with the accompanying spookiness of the seasons. It had the perfect amount of mystery, thrill, and horror which had me creeped out but also unable to put this book down.

There were many twists and turns along the way and I absolutely loved the unanswered questions that were left at the conclusion of this novel.

***Thank you to HCC Frenzy for this ARC in exchange for an honest review***
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,084 reviews215 followers
October 7, 2021
I'll be honest here guys. I was very excited to jump into All These Bodies. Heck even before it won one of the BOTM polls for my group. It was a new freaking book by Kendare and that's basically the main reason on why I wanted to dive into the book. It also doesn't hurt that the cover gives me all the spooky feels that one should get when it's October.

In it, you will meet Marie and Michael. She was found at a murder scene and he's the son of the local sheriff. Somehow their paths are about to merge because she will only talk to him about what may or may not have happened. Now, of course, I got all the spooky and creepy vibes that I wanted but I still feel like I have a lot of unanswered questions.

The characters themselves were okay but I wasn't overly invested in them either. I just kind of sat back and watched the story be told and tried to put all puzzles pieces together before the big reveal. As for the twists and turns, eh, they could've been better. It's not like they were predictable but I was kind of expecting something more from them.

In the end, I'm not sure how I completely feel about this book. Kind of bittersweet at the moment because I was just so excited about this and maybe I might have hyped myself up too much? Not sure but I was wanting something more from this. It definitely had the potential to be a great October read. Maybe even a favorite of mine. It just sort of fell flat in places.
Profile Image for Cesar.
350 reviews235 followers
November 20, 2021
3 stars.

It's a bit hard to describe how I feel about All These Bodies because my opinions vary from either being disappointed to slightly entertained. And I'm not the only one who feels this way based on the other reviews. If I did have to give my overall thoughts, I would say that I sort of liked it but I wouldn't say it was great. I expected more and sadly I didn't.

All These Bodies is about a teen named Michael living in a town in Minessota where the bordering states have been plagued by mysterious murders where the victims are found with their entire bodies drained of blood. No suspect has been apprehended until a family in Michael's town is killed and a girl is found at the scene of the crime covered in blood. Michael, who is also an aspiring journalist, is then pulled into helping solve the murders and to see if the girl, Marie Catherine Hale, is the true culprit behind all the murders.

What initially drew me in was that the story takes place in the 1950s and there's a 'vampire' going around killing people. When you think of the 1950s you don't think much about paranormal stuff going on so it was a surprise to see a story with that kind of premise. The problem is, is that the story doesn't really know what it wants to be sometimes. One minute it's a character analysis and another is about this so-called vampire. Plus its mystery, if you could call it that, left a lot of questions and little to no answers.

I will say that Kendare Blake really put a lot of emphasis on the idea that a girl (or any woman) isn't capable of committing horrible crimes. Since it takes place in the 50s, a lot of people hold onto the belief that a soft-looking girl couldn't have killed so many people. And Blake does push back on that idea by saying that women are more than just that. That anyone is capable of doing horrible things.

The mystery of the murders and learning more about Marie was interesting and somewhat enjoyable because of Marie herself. She's very unreliable. You don't know if she's telling the truth or not, or if she's just saying a bunch of white lies. Her ambiguity will be a hit or miss with a lot of people but in my case, I liked it because it made the mystery all the more interesting.

Now, with that being said, the mystery and the vampire aspect of the story, does fall in certain parts. This is a short story, just under 300 pages and it has pacing issues where the mystery is sometimes all over the place. What you'll notice from other reviews is the ending just stops abruptly with no answers and I can say that they're right. It is more of an open-ended ending but like I said, there are more questions than answers and it will leave you disappointed in you expected something. That's how I felt.

And if I'm being honest, Marie is the only interesting character to stand out amongst everyone else. I never got a clear view of who Michael is (I don't even know if the book describes him because I for the life of my cannot imagine what he looks like). His motives are clear but his lack of characterization makes him feel almost like an empty vessel with only one thing going for him. The same can be said with the other side characters.

At the end of the day, All These Bodies was an OK read that should've had more stuff explained. At best, if you're looking for a short read, then I guess it would be a good book to pick up. But other than that, the experience was just OK.
Profile Image for Tijana.
310 reviews148 followers
May 4, 2022

Partially, being this disappointed is my own fault—I read the blurb once, while adding this book to my to-read shelf, which was months ago. Then I proceeded to excitedly expect its publication day, completely forgetting this book:
A. has a male narrator (for some reason I rarely enjoy books told from a guy's perspective)
B. is set in 50's (I prefer books set in present time)

But for the rest I blame the author.
There were whole pages—whole chapters!—leading nowhere. I kept reading, hoping to finally get some answers, but I got nothing. Not ONE clear answer to what the heck happened. I couldn't even tell if the story included paranormal elements or not.

So, all in all, the unsatisfying (*cough* lazy *cough*) ending brought down the book I wasn’t enjoying all that much to begin with.

2 stars.
Profile Image for Cynthia.
730 reviews115 followers
September 24, 2021
Imagine Leave it to Beaver, but with murder.

Really. Envision this wholesome town on TV. Everything is in black and white. Except the blood and Marie’s red lips.

Kendare Blake effortlessly captured this 1958 small town vibe, with all of its pure goodness, barring that one rotten apple stinking it all up.

A string of murders in the Midwest that leaves the victims drained of blood comes to an unsettling end when a family is killed and a teenage girl, Marie, is found at the scene, covered in the blood from their drained bodies. She is taken into custody, but refuses to tell her story to anyone other than the local sheriff’s son, Michael. But is she telling him the truth? No one seems to think so. After all, vampires aren’t real.

Brimming with thoughtfulness and emotion, All These Bodies is a story of good and bad and that fuzzy line in between. While it’s largely character driven, with its focus zooming in on the relationship between Michael and Marie, there are plenty of eerie things happening in the background. There is a deliberate ambiguity throughout that allows the reader to consider how a villain is made and what, exactly, it means to be a monster. The graphic descriptions are minimal, as the terror really lies within what people cannot see, understand, or control.

And that ending! I could not have asked for a better one!!

While I’ve read Kendare Blake’s story contributions to Violent Ends and His Hideous Heart, this was my first experience with one of her novels. It’s been a long time since I was ready to check under the bed, pushing the dust bunnies aside, in search of change to buy an author’s entire backlist, but that’s what All These Bodies did to me. I’ve already gotten price quotes from my local indie bookstore on many of Blake’s older books and I’ve preordered her Buffy continuation that’s coming out in January. I know it’s a bold declaration after just one book, but Kendare Blake is absolutely a new favorite author for me! All These Bodies was brilliant and I need more stories like this in my life.
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