Dead Jealous by Sharon Jones
|Dead Jealous by Sharon Jones|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Genre-busting teen murder mystery thriller set at a pagan festival with slightly supernatural elements and a romantic sub-plot. The blend worked brilliantly and the plotting is absolutely super, but we didn't bond so well with the central character.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: July 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
Poppy is a rationalist. Her sweatshirt says so: GOD IS DEAD, it proclaims. She's been swearing blind she wouldn't attend her mother and stepfather's handfasting ceremony at the annual pagan festival. It's all stuff and nonsense. But then her best friend - and secret love - Michael goes and gets a girlfriend and jealousy gets the better of Poppy. Suddenly, the festival and the handfasting seem much more inviting. Once there, Poppy meets a strange girl at the shores of Scariswater Lake. When Beth turns up dead, Poppy is sure she has been murdered. And the police don't seem to care, putting it down as an accident.
Poppy is determined to get to the truth, even though Beth's death is bringing up all sorts of painful things in her own life - her own near-drowning the year before, her relationship with Michael, and her commitment to science and distaste for all things supernatural...
I thought Dead Jealous was a really interesting thriller. It blends characteristics of several popular genres - crime whodunnit, the paranormal, romance - and this made it refreshingly different. It wasn't following a template at all. And I wasn't at all sure whodunnit until very late on. The climax was great, as all the underlying tensions and clues suddenly came together to make one very exhilarating ending. I liked the setting in a pagan festival, too - this kept things nicely tied up and confined and lent a claustrophobic aspect to the novel that really did feel quite menacing. The writing is great: never too much, never too little, and great dialogue.
In fact, I have only one quibble. I found it difficult to like Poppy. And we do need to like a heroine, don't we? But Poppy is just plain rude half the time. She's very impulsive and given to snap judgements, too. Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing and many of the supporting characters in the book love this aspect of Poppy's character. They see her as vital and vivid and passionate. Well, maybe she is. But sometimes she's just downright stupid. There's impulsive and there's idiotic and Poppy swerves too close to the idiotic for me at times. And, I repeat: she's not just blunt. She's rude. I wanted to like her more than I did.
Poppy's character flaws aside, I thought Dead Jealous was great. It offers something different in a landscape too often taken up with books-by-numbers. I'd certainly read more books by Sharon Jones. So I hope she has something in the pipeline.
You can read more book reviews or buy Dead Jealous by Sharon Jones at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Dead Jealous by Sharon Jones at Amazon.com.
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