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.