Review: Dead Secret

dead secret
Source: GoodReads

Title: Dead Secret / Author: Janice Frost / Publication year: 2015

Genre: thriller, mystery / Rating: 3 stars

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Summary (from GoodReads):

Amy Hill, a nineteen-year-old student, is strangled and her body dumped on open ground in the city. New police partners, D.I. Jim Neal and D.S. Ava Merry are called in to investigate this brutal crime. The last person to see Amy alive was Simon, the son of a family friend, but before he can be properly questioned he disappears.

Detectives Neal and Merry are led on a trail of shocking family secrets and crimes. Can this duo track down the murderer before anyone else dies? Stopping this tragic cycle of violence will put D.S. Merry’s life at risk in a thrilling and heart-stopping finale.

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Okay, let’s start with the good.

This book has an interesting and promising premise. A college student is murdered and the investigation falls into the hands of two police officers that are working together for only six months. They are still learning their way around each other and how to work together. D.I. Jim Neal, the Senior detective of the pairing, is interesting, if a bit idealized. He is handsome, brilliant at work and a dedicated single Dad. Oh, and young and successful. Despite that, and the mentions about his experience, he makes a bunch of rookie mistakes that made me feel like banging my head (or his) on the wall. He is likeable, though, and I think his struggles and behavior are the most close to reality.

There are some interesting characters and plot ideas that helped me finish the book. The pace was good and the author managed to not leave loose ends. It was well written and didn’t drag, which allowed me to give it 3 stars.

Now, the not so good.

Yeah, there were some good plot points in the book, but it wasn’t an exciting or satisfying read. It didn’t left me with the urge to read more about these partners (maybe if the author got Neal a new partner…) The solution to the case didn’t leave me satisfied. Yeah, it made sense, and yeah, there were some allusions to it in the book, but still.

My main issue was with the second detective, D.S. Ava Merry. She is drop dead gorgeous and attracts attention wherever she goes. She is supposed to be a smart and relatable character, but she got on my nerves. We are presented with bits of her backstory and we’re supposed to see a multi-layered character, but to me she ended being one dimensional. I kept waiting to see the other sides of her come into play but it never happened.

This one ended being longer than I originally planned. Oops?

This was not a bad read, despite it all, but it’s not memorable either. Others seem to have loved it, so I guess it was just not the book for me.

Review: Viral

viral

Title: Viral

Author: Helen Fitzgerald

Expected release date: February 2, 2016

Rating: 3 stars

This is a good book, a fast and easy read (I finished it in under 24 hours), the curiosity of what would happen, what the characters would do propelled me to keep going.

There’s a good amount of foul language and some explicit descriptions in the book, more than I’m used to, but way less than in a rap lyrics, for example.

The premise of Viral is an interesting and current one: what would you do if the most embarrassing/humiliating moment of your life was caught on camera, posted on Youtube and gone viral?

Su, the teenage ‘star’ or the viral video, did what I considered the most expected thing – she ran and hid. And that’s how the story starts.

I don’t know if the author did it on purpose or not, but almost all the characters seemed mercurial to me, and I reached the ending not really knowing who they were. The only exception was the father, Bernie. He was consistent throughout the story and very likable. Su, Ruth (the mother), and Leah (the sister) are still a mystery to me.

Plot wise, it was fun, although a little exaggerated. It reminded me of soap operas or Shonda Rhimes crazy Scandal plots.

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I’d like to thank NetGalley, Faber and Faber Ltd and author Helen Fitzgerald for providing me with an ARC of Viral in exchange for an honest review.

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Review originally posted on GoodReads. Link here.