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Friday, 1 March 2013

*** Review*** Killing Rachel (The Murder Notebooks #2) by Anne Cassidy

On the Back of the Book*

*Or what I found on Goodreads in this case. 

Rose's mother and Joshua's father have disappeared. Police inquiries have gone nowhere and the case, it seems, is closed: Rose and Joshua have been told that the police believe their parents are dead. But Rose and Joshua still hold out hope that they are alive. Joshua is determined to follow up his own inquiries, which includes working out the meaning of the cryptic notebooks - the murder notebooks - they have discovered. Then Rose is distracted by odd, desperate messages she receives from Rachel, a former best friend from her school, followed by the terrible news that Rachel is dead. But perhaps Rachel's death will provide one more piece of the puzzle about what has happened to Rose and Joshua's parents . . .

A taut and pacy thriller in The Murder Notebooks series, from an acclaimed writer for teens.

Pre Read Thoughts

I’m choosing this because:

I requested this book from NetGalley not realising that it was actually book two in a series. So when I was accepted I quickly bought book 1 and started reading. If you read my review of ‘Dead Time’ you’ll know that I was very on the fence with and that makes me very apprehensive heading into this. I’ve decided to cast my doubts aside though and read it with no expectations because I want to delve further into the mystery of Brendan and Kathy’s disappearance.

Judging a book by its cover:

The cover is similar to ‘Dead Time’, which is a good thing because I liked that cover. It has the same font and gritty feel that made the first cover appeal to me so much. The image is of a wooden walkway type thing and I’m really wondering how that fits in with the story. I will say that as much as I love this cover it was actually the title that caught my attention. I mean ‘Killing Rachel’ It sounds so awesome!

Pricing the (possible) awesomeness:

This book hasn’t been released as I write this review but you can pre-order on Amazon for £5.59 for the paperback or £5.31 for the Kindle edition. As I’ve stated I received a free copy from NetGalley for reviewing purposes so let’s get this show on the road!

Post Read Thoughts

Okay, you remember the issues I had with ‘Dead Time’? The ones that I assumed were first book jitters as Anne Cassidy figured out the pace of her book and how the series arc was going to fit over the course of the books? Well it turns out, I was wrong. They’re still there, this story wasn’t engaging either. As I was reading I still felt distanced, and not in a way I like either. I also felt like nothing really happened in the search for Brendan and Kathy until the final 20% of the story. It bothered me that the point of the series was cast aside in favour of a one book plot. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Rachel but I feel that it actually took the focus of the book and there was other, more interesting, stuff going on with Joshua’s hunt that I’d rather have read. What Rose took away from the whole thing could have been condensed into a smaller part of the story and we could’ve enjoyed Joshua’s detective mission.

The main characters haven’t improved in this book. If anything I like them even less! The only character I really liked in ‘Dead Time’ was Skeggsie and he barely makes an appearance in ‘Killing Rachel’

Rose She’s shut herself off from the world and then has the cheek to complain when people call her “offish”. Numerous times in this book (and the previous one) people have tried to talk to her and she’s just brushed them off. I get that she lost her mum but we’ve all got problems! She makes it so hard to be liked and that makes being with her for the duration of the book awkward. It’s like being stuck in a lift with your arch enemy.

Joshua He isn’t any better in this book. I find him to be so selfish. It feels like Anne Cassidy wants us to believe that Joshua is intensely focused on finding his dad but for me it’s an excuse for the fact that he doesn’t care about anyone around him. Rose’s ex best friend has been found dead and he barely seems to register how she feels. He just expects her to automatically follow him and agree with everything he does.

Overall I’m pretty unimpressed. Things that I’d let slide in ‘Dead Time’ are still there and in some cases are worse. The detail is so inconsistent, for example we’re told the name of Rose’s blog (Morpho) every time it’s mentioned (yea, I got it the first 100 times) but when it comes to other things it’s lacking. An example of this is bands, Anne Cassidy tends to write “A band Rose liked” or “A band Rose didn’t like”. I mean I don’t go “I’m listening to a band I like” I say “I’m listening to Fall Out Boy.” (Although it’s Green Day at the moment, I’m going off topic again.) It’s details like this that add character depth. I want to know what Rose is listening to! I do like how easy the books are to read though and, even though it wasn’t a part of the bigger picture, the mystery of Rachel Bliss, but unfortunately not much else.

My Rating

2 Stars This just wasn’t good enough for three stars. There’s too much that I didn’t like or that irritated me. The premise of the series is solid (and I’ll probably see it through to the end) but I’m wondering if this would’ve have been a better story if it had been a standalone book. This wasn’t for I’m afraid and that makes me sad.

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