As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson

Themes: YA mystery

The synopsis

Pip is about to head to college, but she is still haunted by the way her last investigation ended. She’s used to online death threats in the wake of her viral true-crime podcast, but she can’t help noticing an anonymous person who keeps asking her: Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears?

Soon the threats escalate and Pip realizes that someone is following her in real life. When she starts to find connections between her stalker and a local serial killer caught six years ago, she wonders if maybe the wrong man is behind bars.

Police refuse to act, so Pip has only one choice: find the suspect herself—or be the next victim. As the deadly game plays out, Pip discovers that everything in her small town is coming full circle . . .and if she doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears. . .

The review

Gosh, this one was dark… As Good As Dead is the final book in the A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder trilogy and I must admit that I didn’t expect what happened.

In this book, Pip is trying to deal with her PTSD trauma and seems to slowly, but surely, slide towards madness (and I still don’t know if the end of the book confirms it or not). This book was difficult in the sense that we are inside her head and so we see how messed up she is and how an unreliable character and narrator she has become. But what I enjoyed is the realism of the situation because yes, when you have seen what Pip has seen and lived in the previous books, you just cannot be unscattered.

Another aspect of this book I truly appreciated was its social denunciation. Jackson is pointing out everything that doesn’t work in the system and that allows people like Max to walk free despite their crimes. Along with Pip, I was disgusted, angry, and finally sad for her, who is trying to do the right things by going to the police, the body that exists to help, only to receive comments implying that she’s not well or even crazy. This book is showing how hard it is sometimes to receive the needed support, here because of our heroine’s age and gender. One figure that Pip’s using, even though I don’t know if it’s true, stroke me: 50% of the women killed by their stalker reported him to the police. Something that would give a blow to even the most optimistic.

As you can guess, the tone of this book is totally different from the first two. And I would gladly give an award myself to the author for her writing, which is creating an unsettling, creepy atmosphere. The repetition of ‘Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears?’ and so many other little details are increasing the tension you feel until the different climaxes. So much that I had to pause my reading several times just to recover, and waited to be with someone to read it!

In brief: This final book is definitely for a more mature audience than the first two. As always with this series, I was totally invested in the story and the different resolutions took me by surprise. From the middle of the book, the story becomes pretty unconventional and surprising. But I loved it because all the events that happen are logical and in the continuity of what has happened before.

Don’t hesitate to check A Hundreds & Thousands of Books’ review, it says it all!

My rating: 4.5/5 (just because it creeped me out)

3 thoughts on “As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson”

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