*I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
Releases: August 8, 2017
Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.
But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second―until someone tries to kill her.
And there are no second takes in real life.
I really wanted to adore this book. Instead, I only liked it a lot. (Still keeping my preorder.)
Small dif, right? Maybe.
There is so much to love about this book. The cover is absolutely amazeballs! Seriously, scroll back up and look at that gorgeous cover. In an age when most covers are photo-manipulated, Ms. Garrett’s book merited custom artwork.
Ms. Garrett has voice to worship upon an alter to, really, 3 pages into the book and the MC, Dayna, had me by the throat. It’s that good.
Voice is one of the things I look for, because it can’t be taught. You’re either born with voice or you develop it by reading and trying to write and reading again and then finally throwing up your hands and saying fuck it, I’m going to write what I want. Then (after failing, a lot) thinking about how you write, deciding you don’t know anything and going for it anyway. I’m known as a voice-y writer, I know.
Ms. Garrett has VOICE. (trust me, it’s worth the caps).
(^that there^? You caught your breath, maybe a little? Possibly blinked your eyes? You want to know what I have to say next? Voice. Remember, I’m an editor too.)
This book is fantastic, it’s well worth the purchase and the read, I just didn’t connect with the characters as well as I’d hoped.
So here’s why.
I’m not into shopping (like, I have to be forced to shop, and even though I know the names? I wouldn’t buy a pair of Louboutin’s if I had the disposable cash, not that I do, but that’s irrelevant.) Prada shmada. I have 2 designer handbags ’cause my MIL is into fashion and name brand, they’ve been gifts… and? they sit in my closet, unused. Give me a well-made leather pouch big enough for my stuff? I’m happy. Until it disintegrates, leaving minuscule bits of itself everywhere. At which point, I grouse my way into a store to get another one. The character I connected best to in this story is Emme, and there wasn’t enough Emme for me. (That’s a ME thing, not a BOOK thing.)
The heels I love… (the few, the far between, the ones I need help walking in) well, those tend not to be designer either.
So, I couldn’t connect to those parts of the book, and there’s enough of things like it… that ignoring it affected the story. They’re beautifully described and voice-y parts, no doubt. Gorgeous, but… not a ‘me’ thing.
I found it incredibly interesting to get-what feels like-an insider peek into Hollywood or acting. Especially as I’ve only done stage acting. It was real enough that I wondered about the author’s background. (and then I read the author blurb, and no wonder it felt so real!)
I’ve also been an in real life criminal forensic technician. It’s not like you see on TV. I’ve worked with cops, and met a few PIs. (I’ve worked with many FBI special agents in my time, they tend to like to drink… IME.)
so… the retired cop character came off a bit flat and unrealistic for me.
A lot of the parts involving the investigation read to me… with my experience, more like a tv show than the real thing, so it didn’t work as well as it could’ve ‘for ME.’ It’s well written, very, and probably will be an incredibly entertaining read for a lot of people.
The one thing I can say in regards to the investigation? It’s so perfectly in character for Dayna that it’s beautiful. Do you have any idea how hard it is to do that? To separate the ‘what you as the author knows’ from ‘what the character as she’s written CAN know?’ It’s nigh impossible at times, I’ll leave it there because it’s incredibly well done.
This book has one of those really well-fleshed out characters, you know the ones, the ones that make it feel like you’re walking around in their skin.
It’s a fantastic book, just not a *me* book. (I figured it would be, because I love mystery, which is why I asked for it from Netgalley.)
Remember, please. Reading is subjective. I found the writing excellent, the MC interesting, the world believable. I just didn’t connect with this story. Which is not even close to a problem with the story itself.
Readability: 4/5 Characters are well-rounded, real and they have relatable flaws! I loved that Dayna gets mouthy when she’s anxious. It’s awesome, cause that’s one of my own flaws. The book is fast paced and well written.
Arcs: 5/5 Dayna’s arc is well defined, I’d love to see more backstory and even shorts regarding her room-mate, love interest, and their friend.
Craft: 3/5 Here, it’s getting a lower score. I hope it’s only because this book is at ARC stage, (or that maybe these mistakes are intentional for piracy tracking purposes, they ARE repetitive, so it’s possible this is the case) but I caught many problems within the text. If the mistakes are formatting mistakes (also possible) I really hope there’s more editing that will happen with this book before it hits shelves or that these mistakes are intentional. (As they ARE repetitive, always in the same place, I’m hazarding they may be either on purpose or formatting) and it’s still getting a good craft score because there aren’t many fillers/filters, the author doesn’t ramble, and it’s all very tightly written.
Would I buy it for a friend? I’m keeping my pre-ordered copy, even though I have an ARC, and yes, I’d buy it for a friend, if they liked shoes.
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