The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill by C.S. Robertson #BookReview

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Death is not the end. For Grace McGill, it’s only the beginning.

When people die alone and undiscovered, it’s her job to clean up what’s left behind – whether it’s clutter, bodily remains or dark secrets.

When an old man lies undetected in his flat for months, it seems an unremarkable life and an unnoticed death. But Grace knows that everyone has a story and that all deaths mean something more.

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I’m sure everyone’s heard at least one story about someone who was found dead in their home for quite some time, months even. Their absence was not remarked upon by family, friends, not even their neighbours. How sad is that? Well the last person that takes note of them is the woman who cleans up after they are gone, it’s Grace Mc Gill, death cleaner.

Grace has a 10-step plan each time she needs to carry out a deep clean and it’s very thorough. Grace takes the reader (once or twice) through what happens after bodies start to decompose and how she needs to clean their final resting place. It’s a unique approach, it fascinated me and Grace is quite unique (and fascinating) as well. A little quirky right from the beginning maybe, because she lives alone with her cat George, thus leading a similar life to the people she cleans up after, and because she makes dioramas of the rooms the people who died were found in, right till the smallest detail. She is also at the beck and call of her father who’s an ugly drunk most of the time. They don’t seem to be able to stand each other so it was a real mystery to me why she didn’t just ignore his calls. There’s a lot more to be discovered about Grace and her family history but that would be spoiling things too soon.

At one house she finds newspapers of the same day but for different years and Grace packs them up with a few other mementos of the deceased to give to his next of kin, only to start wondering about the significance of the date of the papers once home. She also finds the strangest little thing next to his pillow, a little dried daisy. It won’t be the only time she’ll find this little flower either, but what does it mean and who left it there?

I found the investigation about Thomas Agnew’s past and the secret he took with him to his grave a little slow going in the first half of the novel, nobody wants to talk, everybody’s angry at her for asking questions and Grace walks around in the footsteps of another person without much result at first (I know I’m impatient!) but the significance of the daisy sure made up for it. This side of the story was so cleverly put together and I had not seen this coming at all.

Grace cares about the lonely people, the ones lying in their homes all alone, their absence unnoticed. Grace is a remarkable character, determined to solve a 56 year old secret that leads her to Bute and to age-old conspiracies. She’s a person I won’t easily forget, especially with the ending the author had in store for her, it was utterly fitting even though I felt a bit sadness about it as well.

The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill might be a little bit of a macabre read, but don’t let that put you off because it’s worth it! If you don’t mind your reads more on the darker side then make sure to put this one on the list, it’s so unique!

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

He Started It by Samantha Downing #BookReview

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No one knows you better than your family. They know your hopes and dreams. And your darkest secrets.

This is a story about three siblings. It’s about a secret they’ve all kept since they were children. It’s a story about lying. A story about murder. A story where only one can win…

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2 / 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars_1457015727_81_246_96_2

Thank you to my blog friend Jonetta for making me pick up one of Samantha Downing’s novels! Well the year has certainly ended on a high note with this novel! He Started It is a novel about a road trip. Scratch that, it’s a novel about a power trip, both in the present and past storyline.

After their grandpa died Beth, along with her siblings Eddie and Portia stand to inherit his estate, car and liquid funds. All they have to do to receive their inheritance is go on a road trip. Well not just any road trip but THE road trip, following the exact same route as the only other road trip they went on when they were children and their grandpa took them on to give their parents time alone to sort their differences.

He Started It is filled to the brim with secrets and lies, the characters are generally untrustworthy and greedy. Her older brother Eddie is a charming asshole, her younger sister Portia stole from her even when she was 6 years old so she might be up to her old tricks in the present. As for Beth herself, she doesn’t call herself a good person, she makes it clear from the start that she’s not hero, and she really isn’t a good person either but in the end I did still feel for her! Mission accomplished you amazing author!

This was literally the road trip from hell, it all starts going haywire fairly soon when they feel they are being followed by another car, but who and why? Are they even being followed or is it also a lie, Beth doesn’t know for sure. Strange things do start to happen when they’re not looking, things go missing, but is it an outsider or an insider… you just don’t know! On top of that the author drops plenty of twists and turns in the past roadtrip as well with great shock value. It only added to the suspense and it had me question every few pages what went wrong on that first roadtrip and what secret they’re not talking about.

This was unlike any other roadtrip I ever read about and I loved every second of this crazy trip. Maybe I would have liked it more if Beth was the one good person but in this family, how could she? I had no idea how this would end and this novel managed to surprise me right up to when I read the very last lines.

I can’t believe it’s only the first novel I read by Samantha Downing, but it will certainly not be my last! If you enjoy unpredictable stories, then you really need to add this one to your list!

I bought a paperback copy of this novel via Amazon. This is my honest opinion.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware #BookReview

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When she stumbles across the advert, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss: a live-in nanny position, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten by the luxurious ‘smart’ home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare – one that will end with a child dead and her in a cell awaiting trial for murder.

She knows she’s made mistakes. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty – at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

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The Turn Of The Key is the creepy novel you didn’t know you needed (or wanted) to read. I’m not especially very much into scary novels myself and I stay far away from everything that might seem ghostly but this novel is an exception and I could hardly put it down.

The way the novel started alone was already a great beginning. Rowan writes to a solicitor to take her on as a client and explains that she’s accused of murdering someone but that she didn’t do it. What she doesn’t do is disclose the name of that person in her letter. It’s a high profile case so the solicitor will know very well who it is but the reader is kept in the dark. There are not so many characters in the novel but it remained an absolute mystery until the very end why or how she might have done it.  

Rowan hadn’t even set foot into Heatherbrae, the house of the Elincourt’s and already I was having unsettling vibes from the house itself so the impact of the intrusive high tech, combined with not so cooperative or friendly children to nanny and things that go bump in the evening or night.. well you know this one will play on your mind!

The whole novel is suspenseful from beginning to end and her writing was very convincing in making me believe what was happening. Things go missing which was bad enough but the strange sounds really made the goosebumps raise on my arms because I couldn’t find any reasonable explanation for it.

Rowan has her arms full with Petra, Ellie, Maddie and Rhianon and I wondered for which of the four children she was arrested and if she really was innocent. The story ends with another letter which gave some much needed answers and I love how the author brought the truth to light in this way. Even so, it still ends with some mystery about Rowan’s fate. I have my own thoughts about what happened to her in the end (convincted or not convicted) but I’ll never know for sure.     

This is the third novel I read by Ruth Ware (after The Lying Game and One by One) and I definitely haven’t had enough. I’ve already added her next novel IT Girl (expected July 2022) to my readlist!

I bought a copy of this novel in a secondhand bookshop. This is my honest opinion.

Olive by Emma Gannon #BookReview

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Independent.
Adrift.
Anxious.
Loyal.
Kind.
Knows her own mind.

OLIVE is many things, and it’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made, boxes to tick and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. And when her best friends’ lives start to branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, Olive starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different.

Moving, memorable and a mirror for every woman at a crossroads, OLIVE has a little bit of all of us. Told with great warmth and nostalgia, this is a modern tale about the obstacle course of adulthood, milestone decisions and the ‘taboo’ about choosing not to have children.

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star three and a half / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

This is a story of friendship between a small circle of friends, namely Olive and her 3 best friends, Bea, Cecily (Cec) and Isla. Along the line they make different life choices so the plotline is told over a number of years, one timeline is where she and her friends are 22 years old and another at the age of 32 or 33. At 22 Olive and her friends lived parallel lives, but since then they have all spread their wings so to say and while they still meet at their favorite Italian restaurant on a regular basis and have vowed to stay friends and to always be there for each other, it is proving difficult to hold their unison intact ten years down the line. Bea is a mother of three children, Cec – who was the wild one, the disorganised one – is pregnant of her first child and Isla is waiting for another round of IVF. She desperately wants a child but it’s not happening. The odd one out is Olive and she feels that way too. She doesn’t want to have children and her relationship of 9 years fell apart because of it. With her friends all so busy and focused on babies she has trouble finding a listening ear and would they understand at all if she did tell them?

Even though I received a free copy of this novel in a giveaway, I was drawn to this novel immediately. I’m single now but I had two relationships of 11 years (it’s a magic number it seems) and neither relationship resulted in offspring. My first love didn’t want children and I was happy with our life, we enjoyed it to the fullest and I also didn’t want it to change. The second time I was older and slightly more open to it but decisions were made (snipsnip) so having a child was never going to happen.

So I welcomed the thought of a novel about choosing not to have children because it really is something that still is something of a taboo. When are you starting a family? No children yet? WHY NOT? I heard it a lot over the years and it makes me feel as if I need to defend myself over and over again. I was curious how Olive was going to experience her life choice and I expected that I’d be able connect with Olive and feel a kinship there.

While we’re in the same boat, Olive still has a slightly different mindset and while I can see positives and negatives for myself as much as others Olive seems to have more of a one track mind. I found Olive’s reactions to be generally speaking mostly negative, it’s not because you don’t choose children that you can’t enjoy being around them for a while (she’s horrified at the thought of having to babysit them even hypothetically). She certainly doesn’t acknowledge the joy a child can bring at all. Olive accuses her friends of not being there for her but is she there for them? She also wants their bubble to stay EXACTLY the way it was. People evolve though and nothing stays the same, I find it pretty amazing that they still managed to meet up at their restaurant with everyone’s busy lives, that alone takes dedication if you ask me, but Olive doesn’t realise this. She came across a bit naive on that part and a bit self-centered although she comes to realize this too and does make amends towards the end of the story.

What hit me the most though is that she finally finds other women who choose to live childfree (a different term than childless) after she wondered if she was the only person feeling that way but then she decides not to write an article about it for the magazine .dotcom that she works for. I didn’t understand this at all and I never found out what was in the article she ended up writing either. The ending did surprise me in some ways. It was mainly a happy surprise that Olive had changed enough by then that she was more accepting and understanding of her friends.

Pfew sorry for my long piece here where I had a lot to say about Olive. Overall a decent debut about friendships for life and the different angles of the life altering choice of motherhood.

I received a free hardback copy of this novel from the publisher via a giveaway. This is my honest opinion.

The Coffinmaker’s Garden by Stuart MacBride #BookReview

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A house of secrets…
As a massive storm batters the Scottish coast, Gordon Smith’s home is falling into the sea. The trouble is: that’s where he’s been hiding the bodies.

A killer on the run…
It’s too dangerous to go near the place, so there’s no way of knowing how many people he’s murdered. Or how many more he’ll kill before he’s caught.

An investigator with nothing to lose…
As more horrors are discovered, ex-detective Ash Henderson is done playing nice. He’s got a killer to catch, and God help anyone who gets in his way.

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Stuart MacBride is a well-known author to me although I lost sight of his work over the last few years. I have now rediscovered how fond I am of his writing style peppered with metaphors, descriptions of people’s appearances to die for (what about: a face like a slab of concrete that’d been carved by a sadist; a greying beard trimmed to within an inch of its death; a head looking like something happened to one of the hairier muppets) and other punchy comments which make it all very humorous, so I definitely regret that I have let this happen. Apart from The Coffinmaker’s Garden I have 3 other MacBride novels in my library (photo on my Instagram if you care to see). I think I read two of them but I definitely seemed to have forgotten how witty and fun his writing is. It’s not just a well placed one liner in every 50 to 100 pages either but all throughout the novel. I loved the dry humour!

I blasted through this novel and despite this being the last novel of a trilogy, I had no problem engaging with Ash Henderson. I don’t know yet what happened to his foot or Rebecca, his wife so I need to go back to find out but that did not diminish my enjoyment of the story. I didn’t get a good grip on Alice though, the woman he apparently shares a house with. In a fleeting moment I wondered if they were lovers but aside from the age gap it also soon felt Ash’s protective stance was more fatherly than anything else. Alice, a psychotherapist (who seems to be in need of some therapy as well) is investigating the murders of some young boys and the disappearance of one, while Ash is assigned to this serial killer on the run. He not only has to find him but also identify his victims while he’s being chased, followed and blackmailed.

I read reviews saying there’s a lot of violence and while Ash Henderson does get battered (within an inch of his life even) quite a few times it does not get into any graphic details about the torture of the victims. If there’s one thing I would have changed about this novel it would be hearing more about the victims, why they were targeted, their backgrounds, how the killer’s wife fit into all of this, etc. but otherwise this novel is bloody perfect as it is.

There’s plenty to sink your teeth in and there’s really never a dull moment. Lots of action and investigating going on with main character Ash and his faithful sidekick Henry aka ‘the Scottie Dog Vehicle Defence System’. Who doesn’t want to read a novel with a dog in it (not that he’s very helpful but he’s so cute!)?

If you’re looking for a thriller that is action-packed, intriguing and has a good dose of humour, you need to put this one on your list! Believe me, you won’t regret it! I already was a fan but now I’m an even bigger fan!

I received a copy of this book in my Capital Crime book subscription box.

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier #BookReview

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Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family—until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix.

Permanently.

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I loved reading Jar of Hearts, the first title by this author that I read back in 2018. Little Secrets was published in 2020 and I recently found out that Jennifer Hillier has a new novel on the way in 2022 called Things We Do In The Dark which sounds pretty amazing so I wanted to get up to speed before this new title arrives. This is mainly why I decided to read this as my next book pick.

I really enjoyed Little Secrets even if it has a very different feel and style compared to Jar of Hearts. After I finished reading it I can attest she’s still this brilliant writer who very well knows what she’s doing, luring everyone in like she did in Little Secrets and then captivating you with the small cast, only to circle back in the end to show how it all fits together.

Even if I was expecting something a little differently, with perhaps more high tension throughout the story, it did pull me in right away with the brutal abduction of Marin and Derek’s little boy Sebastian in the first pages. The adrenaline dies down quite abruptly then though with Marin attending a group counseling session where the author seemed to want to have the reader hear from missing children’s parents how they feel and struggle. The focus of the story shifts further towards Derek’s affair. The whole mystery and search for Sebastian seemed to be put on the backburner suddenly and isn’t talked about much anymore which felt a little strange as I expected it to be the main focus of the novel and what I really wanted to find out about, but soon enough I did get caught up in Marin’s knowledge about the affair of Derek and Kenzie Li and especially in what she was going to do about it. There was a moment that I felt I had read Marin’s resort of action before in another novel this year, but I was happy to find out that it only became more surprising and exciting from hereon. The author also gives Kenzie Li a voice in the story which I appreciated because she has her own story to tell and while I sometimes hated her, my sympathy for her grew as well at other times.

Hillier delivered a great psychological thriller with lots of drama and emotions. With not many pages left in the novel I suspected how it would all finally unravel but the anticipation was very high. Was Marin going to find her son and the person who took him? The author kept me well in suspense! I’m definitely putting her next novel on my wishlist!

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley #BookReview @TrapezeBooks @rmorganbentley

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One fatal crash. Two colliding worlds. Three wrecked lives.

School teacher Ben is driving on the motorway, on his usual commute to work.

A day like any other…

Except for one man who, in a final despairing act, jumps in front of Ben’s car, turning the teacher’s world upside down in a single horrifying instant…

Wracked with guilt and desperate to clear his conscience, he develops a friendship with Alice, the dead man’s wife, and her 7-year-old son Max.

But as he tries to escape the trauma of the wreckage, could he go too far in trying to make amends?

How would you cope, knowing you’d caused someone’s death?

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2 / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

The Wreckage is a solid psychological thriller and a brilliant debut novel. In fact, The Wreckage didn’t feel like a debut novel at all and I don’t know why I didn’t pick it up sooner. Well actually I do know a little, see when I have read an author already I know in advance how much I’ll probably like it but with a new author the fear of the unknown sometimes works against me. I’m happy to confirm that it worked out really really well this time.

The writing was addictive and very easy to read. The novel opens with a horrific event for Ben when someone jumps in front of his car. It was raining so he certainly wasn’t driving fast and yet it happened in a few seconds. He feels very guilty and he visits the comatose man in the hospital where he meets his wife Alice and their son Max. It all feels genuinely nice and Ben is just concerned but then it starts to feel somewhat stalkerish. There are limits in wanting to make amends right? Well Ben didn’t seem to get the memo! I started to feel quite uncomfortable about the whole situation (which I mean in the bestest of ways) although Ben never actually does anything wrong. So he remembered Max’ birthday and he wants to buy him presents and he happens to be in the shop at the same time and find Max wandering around. He’s concerned that Alice doesn’t take care of him like she should then, it’s a normal reaction, right? Right? Hmm I don’t know but I wanted him far away from Alice and Max, yet he seems unstoppable to want to help them, to want to be in their lives.

The author includes a whopper of a twist in the final part of the novel. I did not expect this at all so I had to mull it over in my own head how believable it felt and if this made a difference and could make me change my opinion of Ben. The idea is indeed a little out there, yet I still embraced it because it worked so well in the story and honestly, I read this book about two weeks ago and it still plays on my mind now so the fact that it dumbfounded me is exactly why it is one of those memorable plotlines that will last in my mind for all eternity. I loved that the author misled me and did it so perfectly. I honestly also do love it when an author can make you see someone in another light all of a sudden. This happened here slightly but it’s not as if Ben suddenly turned into my favorite character either as too much water had passed under the bridge already. In the end I felt there were no winners at all. 

I love novels about obsession and the lengths people would go for the love of their lives. I thought I knew where this story was going too but I was wrong, which I loved! I can’t wait to read another of his novels and see what else he has in store.

The Wreckage is perfect for fans of His&Hers by Alice Feeney, or The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton.

I received a free (and signed!) paperback copy from the author as a winner of a giveaway. This is my honest opinion.

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard #BookReview

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At the age of twelve, Eve Black was the only member of her family to survive an encounter with serial attacker the Nothing Man. Now an adult, she is obsessed with identifying the man who destroyed her life.

Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle has just started reading The Nothing Man–the true-crime memoir Eve has written about her efforts to track down her family’s killer. As he turns each page, his rage grows. Because Jim’s not just interested in reading about the Nothing Man. He is the Nothing Man.

Jim soon beings to realize how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first …

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Wow, what a killer thriller! I loved it! It usually takes me a week to read a novel but not this time no, I picked this one up every free moment I could find so I finished it in only two days. I’m even a bit sad it was over so quickly.

I love true crime. Well The Nothing Man is a book within a book bearing the same title and the fictitious book that is included within happens to be a true crime novel. The novel has a brilliant concept and execution. Eve Black is a final girl, the sole surviver of The Nothing Man and now a good 18 years later she has written this book about it. She is still hoping to find witnesses, a breakthrough in finding out who killed her parents and her little sister when she was 12. She describes The Nothing Man’s multiple attacks before his final act on her family among other things and the harrowing stories made me strongly think about another book I read which was a real true crime novel about The Golden State killer, and after I finished the novel I found out that Catherine Ryan Howard really found the inspiration for this story after she read I’ll Be Gone In The Dark as well.

I really enjoyed the back and forth between Eve’s book and Jim’s reactions upon reading the chapters. The only reason I’m giving this novel 4.5 instead of the 5 full stars (although I’m rounding it up for Goodreads) is that I knew what the author’s intentions were so I saw the ending coming from far ahead. I don’t know what I was hoping for in the end but I felt a little underwhelmed for some reason at the big finale. It was all over rather too quickly for me, without much of a fuss, whereas I wanted fireworks and to be genuinely shocked when reading the final chapters. That didn’t happen but that being said, I found The Nothing Man excelling in originality and highly entertaining. I definitely want to read more novels by this author!

I received a copy of this novel in my Capital Crime Book Subscription box. This is my honest opinion.

Survive The Night by Riley Sager #BookReview

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It’s November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana’s in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there’s nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing–survive the night.

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2 / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

I’m a fan of Riley Sager’s books – I read all of them – so I was thrilled to receive an ecopy to read from the publisher via Netgalley. Although I do admit having a few favorites, Sager’s novels never let me down and Survive The Night is yet another corker!

After Charlie’s best friend Maddy is killed by The Campus Killer, Charlie is filled with grief and she feels incredibly guilty for leaving her friend behind on their night out. Charlie is desperate to get away from school and find solace at her grandmother’s house and that’s why she puts up an ad at the university notice board and finds a ride with the unknown Josh.

You have to suspend some disbelief if you want to get the most out of this novel. First off, Charlie is well aware that anyone can have bad intentions and she’s anxious about it, yet she gets into a car with a total stranger without a problem. She doesn’t even make her boyfriend wait with her to see this stranger and check out the scene. Hmm, that’s a bit crazy, right? It’s probably the first but definitely not the last stupid choice she makes that night. It was fun though to see how she gets herself into so much trouble and to worry about her safety. It’s impossible not to root for Charlie in this novel.

The one thing I didn’t really like was that Charlie is turned into an unreliable narrator because she sometimes ‘checks out’ and sees ‘movies in her head’. The result is that you have no choice but to question what is real and what isn’t? It’s a little like an alcoholic character having blackouts, I’m not a fan of this either so I was afraid it wouldn’t work for me after a while and I wouldn’t stay on team Charlie but I’m happy that the author managed to keep me onboard. I was fortunate that the story wasn’t entirely hung up on this technique and we don’t get stuck on it.

The story is fast-paced and even though I now know what’s coming I’d probably still be hiding behind a pillow if Survive The Night is adapted on the big screen. The night was dark, the tension high and unsettling. Is Charlie really getting a ride from the Campus Killer? What are his intentions, why get her in the car when he could have killed her already on campus? How is she going to escape? It is only the start of a very wild ride! My mind went in circles of yes, no, maybe, and I don’t know anymore. I wanted the author to put me out of my misery and when the truth came out my heart certainly did a little flippety flop! The twists in this novel were numerous and I did not see ANY of them coming! Hence why I loved this novel so much :-).

I received a free ecopy from the publisher Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #3) #BookReview

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Pip Fitz-Amobi is haunted by the way her last investigation ended. Soon she’ll be leaving for Cambridge University but then another case finds her . . . and this time it’s all about Pip.

Pip is used to online death threats, but there’s one that catches her eye, someone who keeps asking: who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? And it’s not just online. Pip has a stalker who knows where she lives. The police refuse to act and then Pip finds connections between her stalker and a local serial killer. The killer has been in prison for six years, but Pip suspects that the wrong man is behind bars. As the deadly game plays out, Pip realises that everything in Little Kilton is finally coming full circle. If Pip doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears . . .

The highly-anticipated finale to the A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series, the instant bestsellers that read like your favorite true crime podcast or show. By the end of this mystery series, you’ll never think of good girls the same way again…

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review-2

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As Good As Dead is the third novel of a trilogy, with A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (my review) and Good Girl, Bad Blood (my review) preceding this one. I read the first two novels so of course I had to find out how everything was going to end for Pip Fitz-Amobi. I wouldn’t recommend reading this last novel as a standalone because there were a lot of references to both of the previous novels. That being said, I read the first one quite some time ago and it was not so easy to remember everything that had happened to all the characters of the town for me either so I struggled a little understanding why Pip was feeling so much animosity towards some of them.

I enjoyed the majority of the story of As Good As Dead, but it wasn’t love from the first page so it really me had to win me over. First, the second novel did end quite traumatically for Pip but I wasn’t a fan of Pip’s paranoid thoughts (PTSD if you want) and the manifestation of that fact with Pip imagining seeing blood on her hands quite a few times. It’s perhaps possible but I’m still not a fan. Secondly, the novel started slow although there’s an indisputable threat directed at Pip that is designed to keep the reader guessing early on and tension was building with each new message she discovers closer and closer to home. I enjoyed the clever way someone is trying to frighten her and yet I still felt that the plot took its time getting the story to where it should be, especially because there’s a major shifting of gears with one pivotal scene kicking the novel up a notch or ten and then never letting go again.

This pivotal scene and everything that happened after shows a Pip at the top of her game. I loved everything that came after that. I hadn’t seen her like this before, so brilliant, so controlling, so impressive. Her skills and all the knowledge she has acquired while working on her podcasts, she has to put them all into practice. I learned a few new things about death bodies too as she includes a report on how pathologists use rigor mortis, livor mortis and algor mortis to determine the time of someone’s death. I found all of this very interesting and I’m sure I won’t forget about it soon.

The second half of the novel was very addictive and I had to know if Pip was going to succeed. Sidekick Ravi was absent from the second novel but is back in As Good As Dead to take his place next to Pip and their connection, the support he gives her is wonderful. They are the bestest team!

The author promised a thrilling novel and she kept her promise, I loved the direction she took with this novel. I wasn’t expecting Pip to surprise me so much after her ‘weak’ start but she’s really coming through and this third novel is a wonderful conclusion to the series. It certainly ends on a high for me! And that last line.. I was sooo happy with it!

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.