Smackdown Books 2017

Arlene's smackdown17 book montage

The Memory of Things
Hour of the Bees
The Gospel Truth
Ultraman, Vol. 1
Ghost
The Bunker Diary
Echo
Trouble Is a Friend of Mine
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy
The Hired Girl
An Ember in the Ashes
The Porcupine of Truth
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
Goodbye Stranger
Beautiful Blue World
The Blackthorn Key
One
Updraft
All American Boys
»

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender

Paranormal murder mysteries, or any stories with creepy ghosts, are not something I would choose to read on my own.  However, the whole point of joining Smackdown was to broaden my horizons, so I trepidatiously dove in.  Famous Last Words is set in Los Angeles, where Willa has just moved with her mom and her new Hollywood film-director step-father.  The city is currently gripped with news reports of a possible serial killer who has been targeting young actresses and leaving them posed, post-mortem, in re-enacted scenes from old movies.  Willa has bigger concerns, though, as her attempts to contact her dead father in the spirit world seems to have brought a new ‘friend’ along.  Willa faces the teen struggles of facing a new 90210-esque school, trying to find her way with her new step-father, grieving her own father, and fighting an ever more obvious supernatural presence.
I was not looking forward to reading this book, even the cover is a bit off-putting.  However, five hours later I realized I’d read the whole thing with hardly a break.  It scared the crap out of me, but I kept turning the page to see what happened next.  I found that Willa, and the other side characters—even the supernatural visitor, has a surprising amount of depth.  The mystery and suspense were skillfully built.  The juxtaposition of non-paranormal narrative and the paranormal parts occurred in a successful rhythm, building up to a climax that brought all of the parts together very satisfyingly.

It’s out of character for me to recommend a book like this, but if you like paranormal murder mysteries (or just want to see what a nicely written one is like) you should give this one a try.

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