Book Review: ‘One of Us Is Lying’ Karen M. McManus

7/10: Come for the murder stay for the drama in this YA standalone that’ll have you racing to the finish.

A brain, a jock, a criminal, a princess and an omniscient narrator walk into detention only four of them walk out alive.

Simon, the creator of Bayview High’s premiere gossip app ‘About That’ had a list of enemies and a stack of secrets waiting to be published but the killer had to be in the room forcing these four completely different kids together to proving their innocence.

This twisted take on The Breakfast Club drags the tired stereotypes of the 80s into the modern day subverting our expectations of what we get from these characters.

One of Us Is Lying, is an insanely quick read that grips you from the start till the end but I wouldn’t say it’s strength or captivationness (that’s not a word I know) comes from finding out who the killer is or from Simon himself.

Instead One of Is Lying is a damn good high school drama, the change of narration between Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper show the intensity of the high school experience under the microscope of murder. True colours strip away the visage of their respective lives and in the end, it’s possible the truth could actually set you free.

I’d call this a summer read for ages 15-20, it’s unpretentious and easy to follow with a nostalgic high school feeling, One of is Lying reminds me of the finality feeling of your teen years.

 

 

Book Review: The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer

The Beautiful DeadThe Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overview-
‘He might kill her and she just might let him…”
Eve Singer’s career is based on death, as a crime reporter she’s always following the freshest body bag but her reporting attracts the attention of a ‘super-fan’ with macabre showcases he’s dying for Singer to show the world.

Personal-
This was my first Belinda Bauer book and I wasn’t particularly aware of her before this but I was pleasantly surprised by a strong multi-faceted main character and an unexpected take on the mystery genre and the switches in perspective kept my attention for the most part.

The Good-

-Gorgeously easy read that I completely flew through
-The events of the book felt grounded in reality whether it was unscrupulous journalism or a London underground platform it all felt like it could really be happening
– The deaths were so shocking and tense
-The addition of Singer’s dad and his struggle with Alzheimer’s was a really nice addition
-A really gripping look into the mind of a murderer all the way
-Some of the twists and turned had me gasping in shock

The Bad-
-The addition of Creed confused me a little bit (maybe I skipped over a little bit) but she felt like something that could have turned into something a bit different
-The ending switched around very quickly
-I would have loved to see more from the killer’s point of view

And finally…
If you’re looking for a traditional murder mystery then this might not be your sort of book I’d say a lot of the conflict is played out in between the ‘exhibitions’ as Eve grapples with her own ethics, family and work dynamics.

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Book Review: Saturday Requiem by Nicci French

Saturday Requiem (Frieda Klein, #6)Saturday Requiem by Nicci French

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overview:
Psychotherapist Frieda Klein is sent to assess mass-murderess Hannah Docherty as part of a wider case to ensure the case hasn’t been botched. She finds herself becoming connected to the case and realises it’s not as straight forward as everyone seems.

Personal:
I accidentally picked up Saturday Requiem by accident at my local bookstore without realising that I’d come in six books into the Frieda Klein series. But this book kept me informed and engaged right up until the last page and made me want to pick up the next book in the series.

The Good
-Super easy to get into, even without reading the first six book in the series I was caught up with current character arcs
-The characters felt realistic as we got into the little intricacies of the Docherty case
-Frieda is the perfect main character for a case like this, I’m not usually into detective novels so I really enjoyed her outsiders perspective and her personality
-Really interesting separate arc away from the Docherty case as well
-I read this book probably in three sittings

The Bad
– A lot of characters with similar personality type and situations (e.g. neighbours and relations) are introduced at the same time so sometimes I lost track of them.
-The same characters introduced in this book were completely dropped with no comment on what happened to them
-More than a few WTF moments

Overall:
I’d definitely recommend this book for someone who enjoys the mystery genre but I don’t think this series would be interesting for anyone who is a casual fan.

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Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spoilers –

Fun read- Desperately needs a new back cover

A YA murder mystery set in Victorian London sounds like a dream come true for a girl like me. As Stalking Jack the Ripper has a little bit of everything, forensic science, romance, family issues and historical tidbits.

Audrey Rose is a high society woman secretly undertaking a forensic pathology apprenticeship with her Uncle’s guidance. Her father still overly protective after the untimely death of her mother and a brother meandering from one study to another.

I had so much fun reading this novel and blew through it pretty easily, Audrey Rose was a great character, a girl torn between tradition and her own passion for science. She doesn’t look down on other girls for their pursuits and seems to find the good in everyone, sometimes stories like this can be a little manic, pixie dream girl.

There’s so many awesome moments whether it’s at a tea party or dissecting a body I find myself completely enamoured with the story. And although I’m not an expert in the Jack the Ripper murder it hit all the marks I know about the case including the letters.

And Thomas Cresswell, her partner in crime (so to speak) is the perfect romantic partner for our modern day audiences. Sarcastic with a Sherlockian edge he’s exactly whom you want to meet down a dark alley way. All the character so to speak are super fun and for a time everyone is a suspect.

Only the who-dunnit portion of the book is dampened due to the ‘girl who loved the ripper’ line of the back cover. There are a couple of moments you think it might be Thomas all lines of inquiry are trained on her father. For a second you think that the ‘loved the ripper’ line is a different type of love until you realize it’s probably not him and thus there’s only one person left.

If it wasn’t for this I might not have guessed the killer so early so please I implore you, on the next print just delete that one bit.

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