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Book Review: Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy

Murder has come to the peaceful prestigious coastal Cape Bonita, shattering the town’s illusion of safety. Gretchen Nelson is found murdered early one morning, in the parking lot of the local Catholic church, her throat cut. No clues as to her killer can be found. It’s not long before another girl succumbs to the killer. She is found on school grounds, same manner of death, and now they have a pattern. Narcissistic biatches seem to be the killer’s target, all of them members of the all-girl high profile Larks Club. A third murder cements the pattern. The Larks are being targeted. But who? Will the killer be caught before any others die?

As a murder mystery, I enjoyed this story. I’m going to be honest. I didn’t care much for the victims. They were asses. Despite the point of the Larks club being charitable acts, they were not charitable people. I got the feeling they did this not because they wanted to, but because it made them “look good”. Ugh. The concept of death was sad, but those particular victims didn’t elicit specific sadness, except for the last one.

The primary narrator was Penelope Malone, president of the Larks. I enjoyed seeing how she grew and matured during this time, managing to evolve beyond the narcissism. My favourite character was Cass, whom they all treated as pariah at first, though Penelope finally took time to really get to know him. I just kinda feel none of them really deserved his friendship, and I don’t understand why he liked Penelope.

I enjoyed the writing for the most part. I did feel there was an overuse of ellipses, and an overuse of italics to stress extra emphasis. I found it distracting, however I don’t feel it was inattention or poor skills on the author’s part. No, I think it was an accurate reflection of how these girls spoke, and since we tend to think as we speak, it was an accurate reflection of thought as well, and I probably wouldn’t have found it as annoying as I did if I didn’t already despise these characters.

There are two different viewpoints, told using different fonts. One is the unknown killer, the other is Penelope. Using different fonts really made the infrequent delvings into the killer’s viewpoint stand out. We are given two herrings early on, but they both seemed so obvious I ignored them. I did have initial qualms with the killer’s gender. The method of killing doesn’t fit. Poison is the more likely choice unless these were not random but killings driven by passion/rage. When we finally learn the killer’s past, those suspicions are borne out.

Perfect for any who love a good murder mystery.

***Many thanks to Netgalley and Entangled Publishing for providing an egalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

9 thoughts on “Book Review: Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy

  1. Sounds pretty interesting! I’m not sure I’d love the girls, which makes it a bit harder to care when they’re dying, but the mystery still sounds pretty good.
    Two different fonts? Dangerous! But, if it works and doesn’t distract, then that’s awesome. 🙂

    1. No, the fonts weren’t distracting. You only get a chapter from the killer’s point of view once in a blue moon, so it did a really good job of placing extra emphasis that *this was someone special*.

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