Thursday, April 30, 2015
Book Review: Pretty Little Dead Girls by Mercedes M. Yardley
Author: Mercedes M. Yardley
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Source: Digital Copy
Content Alert: Violence
This year the Whitney finalists in the speculative category included two novels by Mercedes M. Yardley. Her other novel, Nameless, was published first and therefore also eligible for the Best Novel by a New Author award. As I read both novels (and the rest of the books in the "new author" category), I kept lamenting that Pretty Little Dead Girls wasn't published first, because it was a thoroughly enjoyable novel.
Everyone knows that Bryony Adams is marked for murder. The people in the small desert town in which she grew up all knew that one day the desert would come out and claim her. But somehow, she lives. She lives through childhood and adolescence and college, and then moves to Seattle and starts her life. Whenever it seems like she might just be on the cusp of being murdered, someone else seems to step in to take her place.
The best thing about Pretty Little Dead Girls is the voice. Yardley writes in a third person "Dear Reader" voice reminiscent of Charles Dickens. I also really enjoyed the fact that although the book was in the speculative category and there was a degree of magic involved, the book really didn't feel like a speculative novel, since the action was based on relationships and characters. Speaking of characters, the serial killer who stalks Bryony in the second half of the novel is more interesting than the husband, whose backing out at the last minute seemed flimsy.