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Into the Arms of Madness: A Novel of…

Into the Arms of Madness: A Novel of Suspense

by Regina Pacelli

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3817298,882 (3.18)3



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This review was written for LibraryThing Member Giveaways and is cross-posted on Smashwords.

There's quite a bit of victim-blaming and romanticization of abuse in Regina Pacelli's Into the Arms of Madness: A Novel of Suspense. It's a common—and disgusting—trope in thrillers. Pacelli seems to have little sympathy for cycles of abuse, and the novel would be better if it didn't contain lines such as, "I had said something—done something—to set him off. I had no clue ... how to put things right" (Loc. 1717).

Into the Arms of Madness has an interesting plot. A genuinely creepy would-be killer is locked inside a gory fantasy world and willfully enabled by his nasty relatives. The action takes place at an isolated lakeside vacation home that comes with a basement dank and smelly. Pacelli's writing leans toward an essay-like recitation of the facts, but the pace of the story still zips along nicely. A couple of scenes caused me to start. The book is a short, quick read.

In the epilogue, Bre mentions her new relationship, and it's hinted that the cycle of abuse has continued. If Pacelli had fleshed out more of the back story, detailing Todd's abusive behaviors and their effects on Bre, the novel might have felt less exploitative. Instead, signs of Todd's control and abuse blithely are shown to be side effects of his madness, and Bre is portrayed as a trooper for loving him enough to stay. Indeed, the novel is tagged as a 'love story' on Smashwords. This facile treatment of what clearly is domestic abuse overrides the rather enjoyable gore.

(Disclaimer: This review is based on a free .mobi ARC provided by the author, via Smashwords, in exchange for an honest review. No further compensation was received, and my review was not influenced by the free copy. All opinions expressed in the review are mine alone.)

NB: This review originally was entered on LT on 8/20/14 and was reentered, without edits, on 8/16/16. ( )
  diana.n | Aug 16, 2016 |
I didn't know much about this book before I read it. I entered and won a Member Giveaway on LibraryThing (a review upon completion was requested as part of the offer) based on an intriguing description of the plot provided with the contest announcement. I hoped Into the Arms of Madness would indeed prove to be an intriguing, enjoyable reading experience.

Thankfully, I can report that author Regina Pacelli did not disappoint these hopes. A sense of suspense drew me into the book immediately and kept my attention until the climax of the plot. I should add this is a very quick and easy, as well as entertaining, read.

Though enjoyable, I did find a few aspect of this novel to be problematic. First of all, I found the themes of the book were muddled. At least my understanding of them is muddled! I would say that the reason for this is the depiction of serious social issues as light matter. At the same time, while the tone as well as the material of the narration seems like it's supposed to be at least partly humorous at times, the joke element was never sufficiently sharp to produce amusement. For me, it only confused the effect of the narration in most cases.

Thank you for reading my ideas; I hope they can be useful to some fellow readers. ( )
  kara.shamy | Jan 5, 2015 |
Although the premise was interesting, the execution left something to be desired. The characters were not only two dimensional but acted and reacted in ways that weren't quite believable. The dialogue also needed some work, as it was a bit stilted. All in all, this could be stronger if heavily edited.
  mindy.magee | Oct 2, 2014 |
Into the Arms of Madness is a lot less, "A Novel of Suspense", and more of a first draft of something that could be really really good. As of right now, Bre, the main character, comes off as a naive young woman, who quickly marries her partner Todd after a short courtship. Just after the wedding, it is reveled that Todd has some peculiarities, to put it mildly, but in the end the young wife ends up happy. What ruins the book is the way too fantastical story plot. Give it another edit, and it could be great. ( )
  kristincedar | Sep 28, 2014 |
This was quite a chilling book as it covered the topic of ‘what happens when you’re on honeymoon and find out your partner isn’t who you thought they were’…a scary thought and particularly in the case of Bridget and Todd. I thought it was predominantly written well but some parts seemed to drag a bit while the climax was almost too quick and I felt myself wanting a bit more of the showdown, but the epilogue made up for that as in the conclusion, I felt an element of something else darker pervading once more. Sinister… ( )
  Bookworm1985 | Sep 27, 2014 |
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Young newlyweds Todd and Bridget met at a two-hour seminar and took an immediate liking to each other. Smart, caring, and quick-thinking individuals, they've been devoted to each other and like two peas in a pod ever since. But, when on their honeymoon, Bridget learns bizarre and alarming things about Todd, things that he's kept secret until now, their idyllic romance begins careening out of control.
Todd has high hopes and wants nothing more than for Bridget to understand and be part of his world. As Bridget struggles to understand the man she married and used to think she knew all about, and the situation escalates, the events that unfold will end up putting their sanity and love for each other to the test.
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Regina Pacelli's book Into the Arms of Madness was available from LibraryThing Member Giveaway.

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