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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

It Takes Monsters

Narrator: Alex Picard

HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

ISBN: 9781613164440

Publisher: Penzler Publishers

Publication Date: 10/17/2023

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)

She had decided to kill her husband. But then somebody else got there first.…

Victoria Tate has had enough of her controlling, incompetent husband Warren. But planning the perfect murder is more difficult than she expected. When the social event of the year, an over-the-top costume ball, is rescheduled for the date she has selected for her crime, Victoria has to scramble to make sure she will still be able to follow through. But even hours of listening to crime podcasts cannot prepare her for the next wrench that is thrown into her plans: Warren turns up dead by someone else’s hand.

Now Victoria finds herself at the center of a murder investigation in which she is actually innocent. The real killer taunts her, making it clear that they knew what she was planning all along. With the police closing in and her neighbors turning on her, Victoria stands to lose everything she had hoped to gain from Warren’s death, unless she can figure out who wanted her husband dead—and why. It turns out that Warren was better at keeping secrets than she ever could have guessed. But which secret is the one that led to his death? And even if she can find the answers, does Victoria have what it takes to confront a real murderer?

In this twisty thriller from the author of Chloe Cates Is Missing, danger comes from both the monsters among us and the monsters that lurk inside us.

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My Review

Mandy McHugh returns following Chloe Cates Is Missing with IT TAKES MONSTERS — a woman planning on killing her husband; however, someone else beats her to the punch in this cat-and-mouse clever domestic suspense blended with dark humor.

Victoria Tate and her husband Warren live in the prestigious Kent Wood development, working together in her father's company, Livingston Corporation. Livingston women got married and had babies. She will have it all. The husband, house, and successful career. She loved her independence. He did not see her as an equal.

She and Warren skirted the edge in a dark dance for power.

Victoria has had enough of Warren trying to grab the company and push her aside, thinking she would be the wife to stay home and have children. No chance. She has worked too hard for this position, and he will not take over the company. She is running out of time. Warren was taking away her choice.

Victoria has studied and listened to true crime podcasts and feels like she is a pro and can pull off the perfect crime. She carefully plans the night of her husband's murder. However, the gala of one of their major clients is on the same night. It is a black-tie and masked affair in October.

Victoria also has a sister, Teagan, who is a doctor (plastic surgeon), and they are always at each other's throats with hilarious banter.

At the gala, Warren is drunk, and she finally leaves. However, he does not come home as intended, so she must clean up per plastic and prep. Then the cops show up, and he has been murdered.

How dare someone murder him before she has a chance. She is obsessed with solving this mystery. When she learns this was a brutal murder using a knife and his eyes removed, she is shocked. Did he have enemies?

Soon thereafter, she begins receiving texts from someone named X. X seems to know a lot about her and her plans. X begins taunting her and seems to be one step ahead of her. Who is X? Is X the murderer and the motive? She slowly begins to learn her husband has deep secrets.

Once you think the book is wrapped up with the identity of X, there is a final jaw-dropping twist when Victoria takes back the power. Often, the monsters are within us or right in front of us.

Mandy McHugh delivers a twisty game of cat and mouse murder in IT TAKES MONSTERS. However, who is the cat, and who is the mouse?

Dark, sinister, disturbing, and wickedly evil. For fans of authors Kaira Rouda and Victoria Helen Stone.

Thanks to Penzler Publishers and NetGalley for an early reading copy for an honest opinion.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Oct 17, 2023

My Rating: 4 Stars


A SheReads "Most Anticipated" Thriller

"Dark, disturbing, and twisty ... McHugh’s biting sarcasm and witty humor take center stage in this fast-paced domestic-suspense story full of secrets, lies, and betrayals."

― Booklist

"A tale guaranteed to keep genre fans up till dawn"

― Kirkus on Chloe Cates Is Missing

"A clever and pacey thriller. McHugh delivers a tantalizing story about a dysfunctional marriage and what happens when one decides to take matters into their own hands. Claws out, no holds barred, this one is urgent, sinister, and sharp as a knife."

― Christina McDonald, USA Today bestselling author

"It Takes Monsters is a spellbinding thriller that dives deep into domestic dysfunction, sibling side-eye, and the monsters in our midst. Dark, clever, and even shocking at times, the novel proves that Mandy McHugh is a writer to watch."

― Alex Finlay, author of Night Shift

"McHugh has done it again. With a close look at a likeable villain, this roller coaster ride is a beautifully written story with brilliant plotting where you will learn to trust no one. Revenge takes center stage as you piece together the puzzle, with twists and turns at every opportunity. IT TAKES MONSTERS is a compelling, standout novel like nothing I’ve ever read before."

― Jaime Lynn Hendricks, bestselling author of I Didn’t Do It


This mom is a total psycho! Social media-obsessed! Child/family services need to take her away, please. What a highly entertaining audiobook and a wild debut by Mandy McHugh. She definitely showcases a highly dysfunctional family from mom, dad, daughter, and brother and supporting characters. Very realistic, every mom, dad, teen, and pre-teen in this world needs to read this book. A cautionary tale about the addictive social media craze world. READ MY REVIEW

About the Author

Mandy McHugh is an author from upstate NY. She received her MA in English Lit from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY and her BA in English from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY.

​​Her debut novel, CHLOE CATES IS MISSING, was one of Popsugar's best mysteries and thrillers of 2022. ​

IT TAKES MONSTERS is forthcoming October 2023. WEBSITE







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