Monday 12 May 2014

Book Review - The Dead Girls Detective Agency

The Dead Girls Detective Agency
Author: Suzy Cox
Series: Dead Girls Detective Agency #1
Genres: Mystery, Contemporary | Young Adult
Release Date: 18th July 2013
Publishers: Much-in-Little
No. Pages: 336
Source: Purchased
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Being told you're dead is one thing. But having to solve your own murder? It's a lot for a girl to take in. Solving the mystery behind your death can be murder.

Charlotte wakes up at Hotel Atessa, home to murdered New York teenagers and HQ of The Dead Girls Detective Agency. Before she has time to adjust to her new, erm, dead self, she's thrust into the arms of her new afterlife companions, Lorna, Nancy and the cute - if slightly hostile - dead boy, Eddison. But where does this leave Charlotte and her boyfriend David? Is it possible to have a long-distance relationship from beyond the grave? The only way out of this limbo is to figure out who killed her, or she'll have to spend eternity here. But who could hate her enough to want her dead?

When I bought The Dead Girls Detective Agency earlier in the year, I did so because the cover looked beautiful and the premise sounded like a lighthearted, mystery book with plenty of contemporary features, and yes, this book was lighthearted, in fact very lighthearted, and definitely had a level of mystery in it, and it would most definitely fit into the contemporary genre, but in the end, it didn't blow my mind. It was disappointingly really nice.

When I say the book was disappointingly really nice, it's not a really bad thing; books that are nice make you feel like you haven't wasted time on them, and they are enjoyable, but they also lack a few things that you either wanted or expected, and in this case, it was a little of both. The book started off really quite well, introducing the main character Charlotte in a fantastic way, highlighting her sarcastic and humourous personality and her attitude which was most of the time, fantastic, and got us comfortable with the idea that she was murdered. Now, I don't make a habit of comparing books often, but after reading Don't Look Back, I must have accidentally highered my expectations when it came to a mystery book because The Dead Girls Detective Agency fell off the mark. The first half of this book felt solely focused on Charlotte coming to terms with being dead and moping after her 'boyfriend/ex-boyfriend/cheating/not cheating person' and it really put quite an uninteresting dampener on the pace and premise, not to mention that David was quite a single layered, boring character to start with, so I was extremely glad when he wasn't involved, which sadly, wasn't enough. However, the second half of this was so much better; the girls possessing people, which is both as scary and frighting as it sounds, as well as some undercover work, pretending to be ghosts made of sheets and some real slick ghostly tricks from all the characters involved which were all explained perfectly which in turn made them believable, I began to enjoy myself, laugh along with the characters and really feel myself connect to the story and the people in it. I was even impressed with the ending, both with the murderer reveal, which scored points Don't Look Back didn't because I never saw that coming, and also when it came to Charlotte's 'Key', because I didn't see that coming either. On the plot twist front, Cox executed it brilliantly, but when it came to the first half, well, not so much.

The biggest featured I loved about this book though was the characters. I really hadn't expected each of the characters to have their own personality as well as they did, and neither did I expect to come to like each of them in their own way either. As I've mentioned, Charlotte was a fantastic main character; she had sarcasm and wit down to a tear, both in conversation and her thoughts, and she was also emotional person who on numerous occasions let that dictate her actions, which I could easily relate to although not always agree. I've gotten quite used to Charlotte's voice and humour in this book, and that makes me wary for the next installment from Lorna's point of view, however, I did enjoy Lorna's personality too. She had this quirkiness from the start, with a mothering affection that passed between all of the girls involved and on many occasions, she was the the perfect bridge between Charlotte and Nancy since Nancy had an entirely different personality. Nancy was a strong willed leader, making the decisions, taking the action and always wanted the facts on the situation, and while I really liked her character, I didn't like her as much as Charlotte or Lorna, or Edison in fact. I know, bad boy alert, but when Edison opened up to Charlotte and found comfort in doing what he does best, protecting and teaching someone else how to protect themselves, I really found myself warming to him, and even in the end, I still foolishly liked his character, tall, dark, brooding and hot, I can't complain when an author gives me someone who ticks my boxes, can I? I don't have very much to say about Tess, although I can understand why she did what she did and how painful it must have been for her, I only really related and connected to her a few days throughout the story, but I do think she had a really good opposing personality to Charlotte and their friction was brilliant.

For a book bought completely on a whim and pushed up my pile because of the sequel, The Dead Girls Detective Agency was a really nice read. I enjoyed the writing style and found the world built well, and did you notice it took place in New York? Of course I was going to like it just a little bit. I was disappointed that Charlotte didn't seem to consider her parents more, if at all, which felt very out of place considering she'd just died, however, the character's, the twists and the world were enough to keep that from being a huge problem. I'm actually looking forward to the sequel and to hear from Lorna, and to see more of Charlotte and Edison now that she's 'hopefully' over her whatever-the-hell David was.


  1. I've never heard of this book before, so I'm glad that you've reviewed it. The premise sounds very intriguing and I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for the great review, Amanda.

    1. It was a new one for me too so I'm glad I've spread the word a little.
      It's a very nice little mystery book so I hope you try it Ebony. Thank you :)

  2. Disappointingly nice? That is a fabulous phrase really...I can think of several books I'd use that on. ;) It kind of sums up a meh story quite well. I like hardcore mysteries, so I think this might be too fluffy for me. ;)

    1. Definitely the phrase to use when you expected something more I think, glad it made sense to other people ;)
      This isn't a hardcore mystery by far, it's definitely on the contemporary side, but who the murderer was was surprising..


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