Tag Archives: serial killers

The Killer in Me

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The Killer in Me

The Killer in Me is an intense and fast paced read with a pitch perfect creepy atmosphere.  It will leave you uncertain and unsettled in a wonderful way.  I couldn’t put it down, and I think other readers will find it just as absorbing. Fans of Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers and Lisa McMann’s Wake series will be interested, but I think it holds a wider appeal that transcends gender and age.  I gave it five stars.

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Goodreads Summary

Seventeen-year-old Nina Barrows knows all about the Thief. She’s intimately familiar with his hunting methods: how he stalks and kills at random, how he disposes of his victims’ bodies in an abandoned mine in the deepest, most desolate part of a desert.

Now, for the first time, Nina has the chance to do something about the serial killer that no one else knows exists. With the help of her former best friend, Warren, she tracks the Thief two thousand miles, to his home turf—the deserts of New Mexico.

But the man she meets there seems nothing like the brutal sociopath with whom she’s had a disturbing connection her whole life. To anyone else, Dylan Shadwell is exactly what he appears to be: a young veteran committed to his girlfriend and her young daughter. As Nina spends more time with him, she begins to doubt the truth she once held as certain: Dylan Shadwell is the Thief. She even starts to wonder . . . what if there is no Thief?

My Thoughts

I think the most compelling element is the fact that you really never have a solid grasp of whether Nina is a reliable narrator.  Is she really experiencing something or has she created a story in her sleep deprived mind?  She is balanced nicely by Warren, a character who comes across as solid and trustworthy.  I liked how the author manages to build some history between them  because it adds so much validity to the relationship.  As much as I liked that aspect of the book, the central conflict between Nina and the Thief is the real reason to read this book.  The author masterfully puts readers through their paces.  I found myself relaxing only to feel the tension creeping back in time after time.  There really isn’t anything I didn’t like about this book, and I can’t wait to add it to my high school classroom library.   Situations make this most appropriate for mature high school readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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True Grit meets The Road in Beth Lewis’ The Wolf Road

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True Grit meets The Road in Beth Lewis’ The Wolf Road

The comparison between The Wolf Road and True Grit meets Cormac McCarthy’s The Road isn’t far from the mark.  I can easily imagine the Coen brothers adapting this horror of a western set in a post-apocalyptic version of a kill or be killed future. That means that readers will find the setting cinematic in its detail, the characters dynamic in their conflicts, and a story that is equal parts contemplative and bloody minded action.  I gave it five stars, and fellow reviewers on Goodreads are giving it high marks as well.  It doesn’t seem fair to give you a glimpse of this book and then tell you it doesn’t publish until Tuesday, July 5, but it is one that I can definitely say is worth the wait for fans of westerns and the end times.

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Goodreads Summary

True Grit meets The Road in this postapocalyptic psychological thriller–narrated by a young girl who has just learned that her adopted father may be a serial killer, and that she may be his next victim.

In the remote wilds of a ravaged land, Elka has been raised by a man who isn’t her father. Since finding her wandering in the woods when she was seven, he has taught her how to hunt, shoot, set snares and start fires–everything she needs to survive. All she knows of the world outside is gleaned from whispers of a cataclysmic event that turned the clock back on civilization by a hundred and fifty years and reduced governments and technology to shambles, leaving men at the mercy of the elements–and each other.

Everything changes when Elka learns that the man she has been calling father is harboring a terrible secret. Armed with nothing but her knife and her wiles, she decides to escape his clutches and sets out on a long journey to the frozen north in the hope of finding her long-lost parents.

But as the trail of blood and bodies grows in her path, Elka realizes that daddy won’t be letting his little girl go without a fight. If she’s going to survive, she’ll have to turn and confront not just him, but the truth about what he’s turned her into.

My Thoughts

Elka, the narrator is a strong and distinctive voice that is pitch perfect for the duality of her character.  She is both a no-nonsense, determined survivor and a victim seeking redemption and revenge, a mix that has always found favor in westerns.  She isn’t the only character that has a satisfying complexity, either.  Villains and allies have that blend of vulnerability and steel that make the population of this desperate world come alive.  While I found some lulls in the action, the time was used to develop surprising traits and revelations about the people I thought I knew, and I read them as eagerly as I read the bloody and violent battles for survival.  Frankly, I found it hard to put this book down, and I think others will as well.  Language and violence make this more of an adult novel than a YA, but the narrative perspective and the themes make for a story that will hit home with teens despite and perhaps because of the brutality inherent in the tale.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The May Queen Murders

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The May Queen Murders

Yes, The May Queen Murders is just as creepy as the cover promises.  It is the rural legend that nightmares are made of, and it may give you nightmares.  I thoroughly enjoyed the out of place and time feel, which added a lot to the atmosphere and a general sense of unease.  If you like your country folk weird and your precautionary tales horrifying, this is your book.

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Goodreads Summary

Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.

Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them

My Thoughts

This is an atmospheric read, full of country superstitions, old wives tales, and long held secrets. It is centered around the legend of a murderer who inhabits the forest outside a small, isolated Missouri community.  The setting is what is going to make or break this book for most readers.  It is one that is a bit hard to place in time.  The community is so out of synch with the modern world – they seem to be stuck in an era closer to early American settlers, wearing long dresses and relying on teas and tinctures over modern medicines, but it is clear that the world around them is probably closer to our modern times.  This isolation and separation is key to the plot, the characters, and the atmosphere of gently creeping horror.  Ivy, the narrative voice in this story will give many readers that same feeling of being out of time while still being part of our time.  Her experience of watching close relationships unravel when faced with the diverging paths inherent in growing up is a universal theme that many YA readers will connect with, as are the feelings that come with being a social outsider in the larger picture of the world.  However, there is just something so alien and maybe exotic about her and her world that some readers will embrace it, and others will struggle to connect with.

The plot is paced to develop suspense and that sense of wrongness that slowly builds until it breaks wide open and unleashes a malevolent chaos.  It felt like I was watching an approaching storm cloud, and when the fury hit, I was still a bit unprepared.  Despite my excellent skills of prediction, the twists and turns this book took left me feeling slammed by the climax.  This went from being a tense and rather slow simmering mystery to a full on teen horror flick in a heartbeat.  There were a lot of players on the stage, and it took a bit of hustle to get them all in place for a resolution.  I think it could have been a littlle less chaotic, but that confusion did mirror the confusion the poor protagonist certainly must have been experiencing.  I ended up having to re-read parts to make sure I had it all straight.

I would recommend this book to readers who enjoyed Julie Berry’s All the Truth That’s in Me, which had the same creepy and time lost feel.  I personally enjoyed the book, but I acknowledge that other readers will find it too strange to stick with.  Language and situations are appropriate for high school and beyond.

I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ The Naturals – the best dollar I’ve spent in a long, long time.

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Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ The Naturals – the best dollar I’ve spent in a long, long time.

I get a lot of books from publishers in exchange for review, but that doesn’t stop me from browsing.  When I saw that a book from the same author as The Fixer , and noticed it was only 99 cents today, I went into high alert. The blurb sounded like a go, and the price was unbelievably right, so I bought it before I even sampled it.  I’m so glad I did.  Think Criminal Minds, and add in a little teen angst, and you’ve got yourself a YA read that, while a bit unbelievable, is compelling and entertaining.

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Goodreads Summary

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

My Thoughts

I thought this was a very engaging book with enough suspense and suspects to keep me guessing.  Right up until the big reveal, I kept changing my mind.  That speaks well for this suspense/mystery/thriller because that doesn’t happen very often in a head so full of plots and predictions.  I liked the characters, who represented a variety of personality types with their white, black, and gray sides.  I liked the concept.  No,  I didn’t really believe the concept could happen, but I was able to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the ride.  The plot moved quickly and there were no noticeable lulls, but there were some sketchy relationships.  That might be due to the fact that these kids are all suppose to be masters of deception and detection and thus made themselves really hard to read, or it might be the fact that I smelled a more than awkward love rectangle early in the game.  I honestly wasn’t bothered by the Anita Blake/Stephanie Plum they are going to pass each other around relationship set-up, but I would have enjoyed a more clear-cut romance.  Don’t want to write it myself, though, so I’ll take what I can get.  I particularly appreciated the fact that Cassie wasn’t forced to join the team and we didn’t have to listen to her sullen resentment – it is a breath of fresh air in the YA genre.  She did pull some tern pouting when she didn’t get her way, but nothing on the scale I expected.  Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I think my high school readers will as well, particularly those who enjoy watching Criminal Minds or just interesting if implausible teens hunting murders read.  Language and situations are appropriate for high school, but as an adult reader of YA, I got a kick out of it as well.

This book is available in the MHS library.

Supervision was a confusing horror, I mean, a confusing YA horror book.

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Supervision was a confusing horror, I mean, a confusing YA horror book.

This was a strange little tale with a maybe dead protagonist and a ghostly serial killer.  This time, surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one who thought it had potential but fell flat because it got rather low ratings on Goodreads as well.  Go ahead, you obstinate little readers, and insist that I am a YA horror snob and a grouch (I won’t even deny it).  Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  
When Esme is sent to live with her grandmother, it feels as though she is invisible, and there is a possibility that she might be dead, at least according to her new friends. Linking her strange circumstances to the mysterious disappearances that have plagued the community for years, Esme begins to uncover a long chain of misery with a key player at the core. The puzzle behind Esme’s inexplicable situation was the focus of the story, and though all other conflicts were resolved, there were still questions about Esme’s “state,” leaving the story open for a sequel. My frustration with this book centered around that focus. I was as confused as Esme for a majority of the book. It was hard to switch gears near the end and start caring about mysterious disappearances, especially when the threat seemed to be to a character I had only really met a few pages earlier. When the climax and resolution of the story arrived, I didn’t really care because the all consuming question of “Why?” wasn’t answered. Overall, this wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t what I wanted either. Many of my high school students enjoy mysteries, especially those that have an element of horror, but this isn’t going to be my first recommendation to them simply because the threat wasn’t really very frightening and the ending wasn’t really satisfying.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Madness So Discreet is a five star historical mystery that you shouldn’t dismiss just because it is branded YA.

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A Madness So Discreet is a five star historical mystery that you shouldn’t dismiss just because it is branded YA.

This historical mystery is at home with many books by some of my favorite adult authors like Deanna Raybourne,  Victoria Thompson and P. B. Ryan.  It is well written and heartbreaking, and a little chilling in the end.  If you enjoy a great mystery with a protagonist who survives despite the odds, this book definitely needs to go home with you today.

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Goodreads Summary

Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.
When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.

My Thoughts

I thought this book was amazing, not only because it was just horrifying enough to keep me glued to the pages, but because it had a cast of characters who showed what it means to survive and perhaps thrive even when life gives you the rawest deal.  I wasn’t sure where this book was headed for a quite some time.  The bleak situation Grace finds herself in at the beginning of the novel seems inescapable.  However, when Grace is at her lowest, an opportunity presents itself that changes everything.  The story shifts from being an exploration of Victorian madhouse horror to a very smart hunt for a serial killer.  It maintains the thread started in the beginning of the book, but it does take on a increasing complexity that readers will find fascinating and satisfying.  However, it isn’t only the plot that makes this such an engaging read.  Grace is a narrative voice that I found compelling from the first page.  Her reactions ring so true for her situation, and she felt like a very real person to me.  I absolutely adored the woman she became by the end, and I think you little dark hearts will as well.  She isn’t the only carefully crafted character – this book is populated by people who feel so real and so alive.  If I had to pick a favorite, I would be hard pressed because there were so many of them that I loved.  Seriously – even the villains are completely realized and nuanced.  And this book is devious, too.  Unexpected twists and surprising turns pop up to remind you that madness is, indeed, discreet.  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading this book, and I think many, many other readers will as well.  While the book is appropriate for high school readers, it is a little horrifying and a lot sophisticated, so the interest level will be for more mature high school readers.  I do think that this book has a much broader appeal than to the YA crowd.  This was better than a lot of historical adult mysteries, and I would recommend it to fans of Deanna Raybourne’s Lady Julia Gray series or readers of P.B. Ryan’s Nell Sweeney’s mysteries (and if you enjoyed this book, those two series will leave you thrilled).  I am going to put this author on my “buy without hesitation” list, and I would be surprised if most readers don’t walk away feeling the same way.

I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Boy Meets Girl Massacre is a disturbing YA horror that I thought was a little too disturbing

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The Boy Meets Girl Massacre is a disturbing YA horror that I thought was a little too disturbing

This was a rather gruesome YA horror book that I found reminiscent of The Shining.  Noelle and Art are the teen night clerks at a hotel with a horrifying history, and when the book begins, they are among the many dead found in a strange massacre that takes place on the anniversary of one of its most infamous events.  The book is written as Noelle’s diary and it contains various annotations from the police investigation and the movie executives who have gotten their hands on it.  Readers should be prepared for a lot of gore and generally disgusting descriptions of everything from bowel movements to an insidious sore.  This was a three star read for me, but horror isn’t my thing.  Mature high school readers can probably handle it, but many authority figures will find it objectionable.

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Goodreads Summary

Noelle takes a summer nightshift job at the infamous Boy Meets Girl Inn, even though she’s well aware of the grisly murders that happened there decades ago. That’s why she has a diary—to write down everything she experiences in case things go bump in the night. But the inexplicable freezing drafts, the migrating rotten-flesh smell, and the misplaced personal items don’t really scare her. Noelle has bigger problems: her father’s ailing health, her friend Alfred’s inappropriate crush, and the sore spot on the back of her head that keeps getting worse.

When a party commemorating the anniversary of the original killings ends in a ghoulish bloodbath, Noelle’s diary becomes the key piece of evidence for investigators. But the cryptic and often incoherent entries suggest there is more to the bizarre case than can be rationally explained…

 

My Thoughts

Since readers know what happened, the mystery is how and why this happened, and my own curiosity about these questions was what kept me reading despite my initial gag reflex.  I have to say I wasn’t completely satisfied with the answers, but the narrative voice at the beginning warns that is the case for everyone involved, so I can accept it.  The pacing is designed to introduce an atmosphere and establish the setting, so things are pretty slow going as they build up to the climax. The annotations were not formatted to fall at the ends of pages in my ebook ARC, so I found them either disruptive or too far from initial text to be terribly helpful.  I did like the information they gave me, so when they are properly formatted, they will add to the experience.  It was interesting how much I liked Noelle, even when she was writing truly awful things, but Herman was my favorite nutcase.  This man could give Norman Bates’ mom lessons on creating a psycho.  I’ve never seen an emotionally dependent dad like this before, and I loved it.  Readers who pick this up probably aren’t looking for anything more than an escape read, so they won’t be upset that there really isn’t any deeper themes or universal lessons about the human condition.   While there were things I liked, horror isn’t my genre of choice and I didn’t enjoy so much as endure this book.  However, if you are someone who truly enjoys old school Stephen King or horror films, this book will probably be right up your alley.  There is a lot of mature language, graphic violence, and disturbing imagery, so this isn’t something I can include in my classroom library.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Natasha Preston’s Awake will be a disappointing read for fans of The Cellar

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Natasha Preston’s Awake will be a disappointing read for fans of The Cellar

Lots of people really enjoyed Natasha Preston’s The Cellar and are looking forward to her new book, Awake.  Unfortunately, this was definitely a two star book, and I don’t think it is worth your time (seriously -2.9 average on Goodreads).  

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Goodreads Summary

Scarlett doesn’t remember anything before the age of five. Her parents say it’s from the trauma of seeing her house burn down, and she accepts the life they’ve created for her without question—until a car accident causes Scarlett to start remembering pieces of an unfamiliar past.

When a new guy moves into town, Scarlett feels an instant spark. But Noah knows the truth of Scarlett’s past, and he’s determined to shield her from it…because Scarlett grew up in a cult called Eternal Light, controlled by her biological parents.
And they want her back. 
My Thoughts

Awake had an interesting premise, and the dual narrators created a lot of dramatic irony.  I’ve read several books dealing with similar topics this year, but none of them used this rather intriguing angle.  The narrative is almost entirely dialogue and stage direction, though, so beyond the main internal conflict of each narrator, there is little dimension to the characters.  This means that they don’t always come across as real people so much as actors in a play, especially the secondary characters who either represent good and evil with no gray areas.  I think the plot is engaging enough that most readers will push past that flaw just to see how this one will end.  I certainly had a good idea of what was going to happen, as will most readers, but the fun was in figuring out how it was going to happen.  Unfortunately, I was most distressed by the final resolution to the story.  I felt sick when I realized what decision Scarlett was ultimately going to make, especially considering all the growth she displayed as a character in the final third of the book.  I was baffled and more horrified by the (probably) unintentional message it sent than by any of the intended horror in the book.  If the target audience for a work is the YA crowd, I think it is important to consider what they are going to get out of it, and I just felt like this was setting impressionable readers up to excuse reprehensible behaviors in the name of true love.  I wanted to like this book, but in the end, I just can’t forgive that ending.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Survive the Night reads like a B Horror Movie for teens that will leave you puzzled and forever cautious of drugs, raves, and the subway

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I wasn’t a fan of this book, and it felt like a bit of bait and switch by the end, but if you enjoy teen horror flicks, this might interest you.  It is not scary because it is ridiculous, but one part reminded me of a movie I saw as a kid – a group of teens get stuck on a floating dock in the middle of a lake because some oil slick looking thing eats anyone who tries to swim for shore.  I have no idea what the movie was or why I was allowed to watch it – I think my biological father is to blame for this ridiculously inappropriate viewing – but it certainly made an impression on me.  So, if you are into that kind of thing, here you go . . .

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Goodreads Summary

We’re all gonna die down here. . . .

Julie lies dead and disemboweled in a dank, black subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Her friends think she’s just off with some guy—no one could hear her getting torn apart over the sound of pulsing music.

In a tunnel nearby, Casey regrets coming to Survive the Night, the all-night underground rave in the New York City subway. Her best friend Shana talked her into it, even though Casey just got out of rehab. Alone and lost in the dark, creepy tunnels, Casey doesn’t think Survive the Night could get any worse . . .

. . . until she comes across Julie’s body, and the party turns deadly.

Desperate for help, Casey and her friends find themselves running through the putrid subway system, searching for a way out. But every manhole is sealed shut, and every noise echoes eerily in the dark, reminding them they’re not alone.

They’re being hunted.

Trapped underground with someone—or something—out to get them, Casey can’t help but listen to her friend’s terrified refrain: “We’re all gonna die down here. . . .” in this bone-chilling sophmore novel by the acclaimed author of The Merciless.

My Thoughts

This is a wholly unrealistic teen horror book, and if that isn’t what you are looking for, please move along.  This is a book you read for fun and escape.  It is reminiscent of the Christopher Pike teen scream books from the nineties, but it is a little heavier on its attempt to add depth to the story by developing conflicts around addiction, friendship, and love.  The truth is, though, that you are reading this for the thrills, or you probably will wish you weren’t reading it, so no depth really needed.  This attempt at depth is actually what slows the story down.  There is a large chunk of the book that was dedicated to establishing character and situation.  However, when the action does pick up, it is pretty decent horror sequence action.  One of the best things about this book is the reader’s uncertainty about whether or not the narrator is reliable.  I honestly couldn’t tell, right up till the very end.  It got a few laughs from me, some of them were probably even intentional, and I thought there was a good sense of ” this is a bad idea, guys” throughout.  There is an excellent final sequence that surprised me and definitely left me asking WT?  If this is what you are looking for, I think you will be moderately pleased.  If you are looking for a more realistic scare, this is probably just going to annoy you.  Language and situations are probably appropriate for high school, and though there is a variety of bad ideas and terrible behaviors in this book, most of those are punished in traditional horror movie fashion.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sharon Sant’s Dead Girl Walking was a gloomy and depressing YA paranormal suspense

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Sharon Sant’s Dead Girl Walking was a gloomy and depressing YA paranormal suspense

I enjoyed this author’s first work, The Memory Game, so I thought I would give her follow up book a try.  This isn’t really a new premise, but it is one I usually find engaging.  In this case, it was a little darker than I expected and I just didn’t care for the unrelenting doom.  

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Goodreads Summary

From the author of the bestselling The Memory Game 

Cassie Brown doesn’t see dead people, she becomes them. The slightest touch forces her to relive their final moments in breath-sapping detail. She herself was dead, killed in the accident that took the rest of her family. But whatever strange power governs the universe, has plans for her that don’t involve her death… yet. 
Dante has a recurring dream. Every time he sleeps he sees the exact moment of his own demise. But where did the nightmare come from? If it is a premonition, how long has he got? 
A girl and a boy, two damaged souls drawn together. Add a serial killer stalking the streets, a desperate cop and a newspaper reporter with an unhealthy interest in her story, and Cassie is soon mixed up in a lethal game. She may have cheated Death once, but this time he’s keeping a much closer eye on his prize… 
Dead Girl Walking is an unpredictable mix of romance, paranormal and crime thriller that will keep you gripped until the very last page. 
My Thoughts

Cassie was dead for eight hours before she woke in a morgue next to her family.  It was a miracle, but it came at a price.  Now she can relive deaths of the people she touches, and her skill could be invaluable to the police.  Cassie is seriously depressed and dealing with survivor’s guilt, but the opportunity to turn her curse into a gift tempts her to put herself in the path of a killer.  This was a fairly slow paced book that spent a lot of time with Cassie working through her feelings.  It focuses more on her character than on the actual crimes that she could help solve.  It is also a fairly depressing read for that same reason.  Cassie can’t seem to get herself together, and she doesn’t actually do a lot in the story other than wallow in her despair.  There is a little romance, but the fact that neither Cassie nor Dante, her love interest, feels they can reveal things to each other means the connection between the two of them is tenuous at best.  The suspense was a little wasted on me because I was able to identify the murderer and the twist long before the reveals.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I felt vindication instead of surprise, but it might annoy some readers with its predictability.  Overall, I felt the pace, the focus, and the unrelenting gloom made for a rather dull book.  Language and situations that involve rape and murder make this a read for more mature high school readers.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.