Updated: Jan 14
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Del Rey
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region. Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
Mexican Gothic started out STRONG. The first chapter hooked me, the building tension kept me turning the pages, and the horror aspect gave me nightmares—literally, two nights in a row. Unfortunately, the sci-fi fantasy twist that occurred in the middle of the book sent the plot on a downward spiral. The creepy factor turned freaky, and not in a good way. Noemi’s struggle to decipher reality from the dream world left me confused. Characters that I once feared, switched to silly and predictable. The author’s visual descriptions, though beautifully written, became grotesque and over the top. I don’t mind gore or disturbing scenes in books if they have a purpose. The majority of them felt inserted for shock value, and the author dragged out so many in the second half of the book I found myself skimming.
When I finished the book, I thought, “Well, on to my next read.” The first half of Mexican Gothic left an impression, the ending, not so much.
Though the plot wasn’t my cup of tea, the author deserves high praise for her eloquent writing style and ability to create atrocious characters who make your skin crawl.
Readers: a chilling read for those who love horror mixed with sci-fi/fantasy, wicked villains, and disturbing scenes
Writers: an excellent read for those researching horror, paranormal, third-person POV, and imagery/atmospheric narrative
Triggers/Warnings: adult language, adult content, suicide, gore, graphic & disturbing imagery, violence
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Completed Read: 11/22/2020