Friday 17 October 2014

Review ~ Dead Gorgeous by Elizabeth Flynn.

Title: Dead Gorgeous.
Author: Elizabeth Flynn.
Publisher: Lion Fiction.
Genre: "Crime meets chick lit".
Publication Date: October 17, 2014.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Kirsty Manners is young, beautiful, and ambitious. And dead.

Kirsty was trying to make it in the fashion world. As the in-house model for Ivano King and having dated the great designer himself, she believed she was well on her way. But Kirsty is found dead in her flat one Sunday afternoon, and D.I. Angela Costello is called to the scene.

Kirsty has left behind a lovesick ex-boyfriend and a jealous flatmate. And what about King’s new girlfriend, who openly admits she has a reason to wish Kirsty dead? Behind the flawless make-up and gleaming catwalks, Angela’s enquiries uncover theft, drug addiction, prostitution – and suddenly her own life could be in danger…

The first book in the D.I. Costello series, Game Set and Murder, is on sale until October 24 - with big savings at all major online ebook retailers. Find it on Amazon here.

I loved the sound of Dead Gorgeous and along with the brilliant cover, I was very excited to start reading it. It began with a prologue which didn’t make much sense to me originally, though I assumed it would as things came to light in the book, and once the story begins, we’re introduced to several characters, Kirsty, Ian, Sandra, Eleanor, Jenni and Darren, amongst others, none who seemed in the least likeable. I was a little worried this book was going to veer off into an overload of characters and confusion which explains why I was cynically happy when Kirsty Manners was found to have been murdered. Once the case is opened and D.I. Angela Costello and her team are on the scene, Dead Gorgeous became extremely compelling and a complete page-turner of a novel.

Kirsty is desperate to be a model and was ambitious with it. She looked to have no real care for anything or anyone that might get in the way of her plans – not that we really know what they are – and using people or dropping them in a flash seemed a little bit of a theme in this book. Every character we meet has a link to the others and they were all perfectly capable of using each other too, with all the lies and hidden truths setting up the murder investigation perfectly. Though I say none of the characters were likeable, and I wasn’t expecting them to be either, this did a great job at building the unpredictability of the book because there were so many directions the novel could be taken in that it was difficult to second guess it. With each new bit of evidence or information that was unveiled throughout the book, I would be thinking – oh, I know where this is going now – when evidently I didn’t have a clue. I loved how Elizabeth Flynn managed to keep me on my toes the whole way through – my interest and intrigue into the mystery never faded regardless of how many wrong predictions I made (and whether I’m simply clueless or this was just very cleverly written, I made quite a few).

I also loved how the author controlled the pace of the novel. I was hooked right from the moment the murder took place and I enjoyed the way the pace kept changing – whether it was slowed down a little so I could take in the information and try and figure out any motives along with the team working on the case, or whether the pace picked up to allow a surge of revelations that left me none the wiser. It was utterly gripping and I particularly liked the fast pace towards the end which heightened the suspense and tension in the novel, and for me there was a lot of that. I read this book in two sittings and would have completely devoured it in one had time allowed. I just had to read on and find out where it was going and I was completely fascinated and drawn into the investigation – almost feeling like that one hopeless D.I. you see in so many crime books – the one who’s so desperate to uncover the truth they don’t realise that they’re on the complete wrong track. I thought Dead Gorgeous was a fantastic read with a captivating case, a little bit of wit and an ultimately satisfying and very entertaining finale.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK

Elizabeth Flynn is a Londoner of Anglo-Irish parentage. She has a background in the theatre both as an actress and in stage management, and has experience in broadcasting. She has more recently worked as a hospital bereavement officer and managed a mortuary so she ‘knows the drill’ and has used some of this experience in her writing. This is her second novel and the second in the series: A Mystery for D.I. Costello. The first book in the series is Game Set and Murder.


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