Cherry Pits

Fiction - Thriller - Psychological
354 Pages
Reviewed on 08/04/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Cherry Pits is a neo-noir psychological thriller written by Emily Hodgson. Chester Finnegan (Chess) is a struggling young artist who spends his free time using his alias, Bucket, to dispatch dead bodies for a murderer named Murdy. Laden with a traumatic past due to his parents dying horribly in a tragic accident, Chess suffers routine panic attacks induced by PTSD. After a string of murders leaves a trail of missing persons, Chess finds himself unwittingly embroiled in a murder investigation where he is the primary suspect. Adding to his woes is the investigation being led by Detective Tahlia Lambert, Chess's best friend Nate's adoptive mother. As the local authorities inch closer to Chess's involvement in the disappearances, the killer's identity reveal makes things even more dangerous for Chess. Can he get out of this mess?

A gripping psychological thriller that keeps your eyes glued to the pages, Cherry Pits is a wild rollercoaster of a ride you don't want to get off. Author Emily Hodgson infuses the plot with numerous twists and turns to captivate you until the end. You're never quite sure what's happening next, and it makes the story all the more immersive to read. The narrative is paced well and flows smoothly like melted butter. I found the characters complex with layers of depth to their outward personas. Their inner conflicts and motives provide agency to their actions, making for some captivating character arcs. Chess's PTSD episodes felt realistically handled. If you're into neo-noir thrillers, I highly recommend Cherry Pits.

Michaela Gordoni

Cherry Pits is a wildly creative thriller about a 20-year-old artist with PTSD, anxiety issues, dark tastes, and a morbid job—disposing of dead bodies for a disturbed killer whose identity he does not know. Author Emily Hodgson will keep you on the edge of your seat as Chester (AKA Chess) navigates strange and changing events in his odd life. Chess was orphaned at a young age due to a terrible fire. He is on his own in the world and has found creative ways to support his (literally) skeletal artwork and make a living for himself, too. Chess realizes he is in way over his head when he grasps who his deadly employer really is and what cherry pits actually mean.

I absolutely loved how creative Emily Hodgson is. The story is extremely imaginative and fascinating. Emily filled Cherry Pits with many plot twists and I was constantly surprised. It is primarily written around the protagonist but occasionally shifts to the other characters’ points of view. Emily starts the story out slowly, giving the reader time to get to know Chess and his acquaintances, but then the pace suddenly quickens and maintains speed and suspense. The plot leaves you questioning certain things throughout the book to keep you hooked. For example, the author does not clearly reveal just why someone like Chess would be interested in cleaning up after a murderer until the end. I think Cherry Pits is an unusual find. It is a great psychological thriller, and I truly enjoyed it.

Vincent Dublado

Cherry Pits by Emily Hodgson is a psychological thriller with a strong plot and three-dimensional characters. Chester Finnegan is a janitor, but what makes his job unique is that he doesn’t sweep and mop the usual floors and hallways. Rather, he cleans crime scenes after the murderer commits the crime to leave no traces for authorities. It’s a tough and filthy job, one that requires precision and utmost secrecy. He’s doing it to pay the bills, given that he is finding it difficult to succeed as a visual artist, and most criminals are too lazy to clean up their mess. With a killer named Murdy whom he has never met, they use coded messages to execute their transactions and remain discreet. Murdy has always been afraid of getting caught, but he is not exactly cautious with his moves. When he creates a fatal error that leaves a trace of evidence, their professional relationship turns into a sour rivalry, and it threatens to destroy whatever is remaining of Chester’s dream to become recognized as an artist.

Cherry Pits uses the crime cleaner character as the frontman rather than a mere support who assists in concealing a crime. It is a well-plotted crime novel because Emily Hodgson has a penchant for diving into drama with a charged-up thrill and characters that you will care about, and the dialogue is well-written. At the back of your mind will be the lingering thought that there is something highly original about this story. You’ve seen the crime scene cleaning service in John Wick that works with efficiency and leaves everything spotless, after which they are paid in gold coins. In this more grounded story, Hodgson brilliantly portrays Chester’s job as filled with setbacks when an error tips the scales. It is a slick urban thriller with so many new things to offer, and I highly recommend it for your reading pleasure.