book reviews, spoiler free

A Good Girls Guide To Murder…

cover145858-medium.pngA Good Girls Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson

Rating; XXXXX

Published: May 2nd 2019 by Electric Monkey

“This project is no longer the hopeful conjecture is started life as…An innocent life was taken and everyone in this town turned it ugly in their mouths…”

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it. Almost everyone. Having grown up in the small town that was consumed by the crime, Pippa Fitz-Amobi chooses the case as the topic for her final project. But when Pip starts uncovering secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden, what starts out as a project begins to become Pip’s dangerous reality . . .

I want to start by saying thank you. Thank you to Electronic Monkey who gave me the opportunity to win an advanced copy of this book at YALC (which I won on the last day), even if you monsters did tear out the last few chapters from the ARCs (I actually thought this was a fun and clever way to get more people talking about this debut book as well as being able to tell just how many people read the arcs). Thank you to Charlotte and Hannah for telling me all about this book and introducing me to Holly! Thank you to Holly Jackson for many things! For taking the time to talk to me and my friends at YALC, for meticulously signing my book etc and for writing said absolute rollercoaster ride of a book.

A Good Girls Guide to Murder is set up fantastically as part narrative, part school report where main character Pippa talks to us directly about her findings and theories giving the reader a real sense of closeness and inclusion into what’s happening and where Pips train of thought is going. Not only is the format well chosen but the writing style chosen to accompany it feels spot on, it drips with mystery and unanswered questions. Holly is very good at feeding us just the right amount of information so that it feels like we a good level of understanding without being bogged down with too many uninteresting info dumps. Of course, then she artfully pulls the floor out from under you leaving you to wonder which way is up and question everything you think you know while you piece together every single scrap of evidence you can get your hands on.

As Pip investigates the narrative is pleasingly organic, nothing feels especially twee or too much of a coincidence, I love that Pippa is resourceful, determined, loves to study and sticks up for what she believes in. I also realised while waiting for the last few chapters to arrive (as mentioned previously, they had been ripped out and a ransom note of sorts left with a contact email for the publisher to receive access to the last few chapters), that none of the things Pip does are particularly out of the realms of possibility for an ordinary teenager which I really liked.

One of my favourite things about this twisty book is that everyone feels untrustworthy at one point or another as things change and different pieces of information and evidence come to light, I think throughout this book I’ve suspected almost everyone at least once. A Good Girls Guide to Murder as a brilliantly realised, deliciously tense tale of whodunnit wrapped in danger and betrayal.

 

 

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book reviews, spoiler free

One Way – Spoiler Free Review

34326051.jpgOne Way by S.J Morden

Rating: XXXX

Published August 23rd 2018 by Gollancz

Eight Astronauts.

One Killer.

No Way Home.

ONE WAY opens at the dawn of a new era – one in which we’re ready to colonise Mars. But the contract to build the first ever Martian base has been won by the lowest bidder, so they need to cut a lot of corners. The first thing to go is the automatic construction… the next thing they’ll have to deal with is the eight astronauts they’ll sent up to build it, when there aren’t supposed to be any at all.

Frank – father, architect, murderer – is recruited for the mission with the promise of a better life, along with seven of his most notorious fellow inmates. As his crew sets to work, the accidents mount up, and Frank begins to suspect they might not be accidents at all. As the list of suspects grows shorter, it’s up to Frank to uncover the terrible truth before it’s too late.

I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Following on with the theme of murder and mystery I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read One Way which features both of those things IN SPACE. Count me in!!

This was one of those books I absolutely devoured at every opportunity I could. There were shocks and twists around each turn and I enjoyed that you were never really sure who you could trust, this is one of my favourite things in any kind of murder mystery or “whodunnit” type story and although by the time we find out who the killer is I think I was a little underwhelmed as it seemed fairly obvious by that point and was certainly an option I had considered fairly early on. One way is, however still full of tense, suspenseful moments throughout.

We are introduced to Frank Kitterridge, our main character who is in prison for killing his sons drug dealer, he is a well described and somewhat relatable character considering he is a murderer and I feel we get a really in-depth look into his background and characteristics, we understand him very early on. When he takes a job that will send him to Mars with a group of other cons he ends up at a training camp and meets his team of other inmates there. This is one of my favourite chunks of the book, a part that would probably be nothing more than a training montage if it were a film was insightful and at times just as tense as some of the moments on Mars. We get a little background on some of the other prisoners and learn a few important things about them, their characteristics and what kind of role they will potentially play on Mars.

On Mars the situation is dire and there was a real sense of panic that came across in the pages that had me turning them frantically. There were times though when there was just driving happening or a lot of explaining of the tech stuff that I feel could have been used a little less, I understood some of it but I just ended up glossing over it because it just felt like it went on a little too long or was a little too wordy. The “techno babble” as it were may be fantastic for people who are interested in those fields or enjoy that kind of thing but it reminded me of food being described in G.R.R Martin books. I would much rather have had more information and development from the other characters who at times felt like walking stereotypes which is a shame as I would have liked to get to know some of them better, especially Zeus and Marcy.

Despite some of the little problems I had with the pacing and the fleshing out it was overall a really good book, as mentioned before the tense moments are done really well and its an interesting story that I’m glad I got a chance to read.