Theme Music

Theme Music

An utterly propulsive and unpredictable psychological thriller from stunning new talent T. Marie VandellyFor 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...

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Title:Theme Music
Author:T. Marie Vandelly
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Theme Music Reviews

  • Dennis

    Once in awhile, you come across a novel that completely knocks you down, and shakes you to the core—and that is

    . A family mystery, interwoven with sparks of suspense

    Once in awhile, you come across a novel that completely knocks you down, and shakes you to the core—and that is

    . A family mystery, interwoven with sparks of suspense and horror,

    is like the

    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

    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.

    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

    , 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

    , because it played a part in breaking up the intensity—

    ! 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

    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?

    will be released July 23, 2019 and I received an advanced copy from Dutton Books in exchange for an honest review.

  • Michelle

    For such an unassuming title and cover I was surprised at how dark a story lay within these pages.

    ~ 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.

    ~ 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!

  • marilyn

    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 des

    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.

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    I'm tired of waffling on various ends of the rating system regarding this book, so I think a middle-of-the-r

    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

    !

  • 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 -

    🤷🏻♀

    And that’s what happened here. You see, the prologue of Theme Music is pretty hardcore, so I was excited to rea

    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 -

    🤷🏻‍♀️

    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

    . If you don’t read anything like that, then you might actually enjoy this book quite a bit!

    if you don’t like gore or guts or very descriptive language about brutal crimes, then I would suggest passing on this book. ☠️

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