Smackdown Books 2018

Wolf Hollow
Salt to the Sea
The Serpent King
Optimists Die First
The Hate U Give
Orphan Island
Dan vs. Nature
The Female of the Species
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Paper Girls, Vol. 1
The Passion of Dolssa
The Distance Between Us
When We Collided
Louis parmi les spectres
Girl in the Blue Coat
Defy the Stars

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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