Book Review: Dead to Me

Dead to Me by Mary McCoy
Release Date ~ March 3, 2015
ISBN13: 9781423187127
ARC received from HBG Canada for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
LA Confidential for the YA audience. This alluring noir YA mystery with a Golden Age Hollywood backdrop will keep you guessing until the last page.

"Don't believe anything they say."

Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her--and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.

When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn't a kid anymore, and this time she won't let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets--and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie's attacker behind bars--if Alice can find her first. And she isn't the only one looking

Evoking classic film noir, debut novelist Mary McCoy brings the dangerous glamour of Hollywood's Golden Age to life, where the most decadent parties can be the deadliest, and no drive into the sunset can erase the crimes of past.

I was pretty much sold on Dead to Me after hearing it described as a noir-inspiredy 1940s mystery. I haven't encountered many books with this type of Hollywood setting, and I was immediately intrigued to see how the story would play out.

Mary McCoy's writing is engaging which makes Dead to Me an exciting read, ideal for readers who like a mystery with a less common setting.

  1. The old Hollywood setting:

    I haven't read many books which are set in old Hollywood, but Mary McCoy did a fantastic job describing the setting in Dead to Me. It was very easy to imagine the characters and the places. But more impressively, Mary's writing really gave me a sense of old Hollywood by creating an atmosphere. While reading, I felt like I had been transferred to the story!
  2. Strong female characters:

    I noticed towards the end of the book that there are many female characters in Dead to Me, and while they are each different they are all very strong, interesting individuals. You could see how they would each approach a problem differently, which added more depth to the characters. And I also appreciated seeing some very strong and loving relationships between them.
  3. Even pacing:

    Dead to Me moved along at a steady pace while I was reading, which made it an easy read for me. Since much of the plot is shrouded in mystery, the reader is in the dark nearly as much as the protagonist, Alice, is. And it was this sense of mystery and the need to help Annie that kept the plot moving forward steadily and kept it from feeling too slow even while very little action was happening.

One of the most interesting aspects of Dead to Me was how the characters, even those who did not take an active role in the book, were not cast as stereotypes and there were a fair number of significant reveals with respect to secrets the characters were keeping. This felt realistic, but it also made the book interesting and more developed. 

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