Author: Gemma Hallida
Series: Deadly Cool #1
Published: 11 October by Harper Teen
Length: 303 pages
Warnings: Sex references, murder
Other info: The sequel, Social Suicide, should come later this year.
Summary : Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he's pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren't enough, now he's depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool. But as much as Hartley wouldn't mind seeing him squirm, she knows he's innocent, and she's the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school's resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer's next victim
Review: It all goes wrong for Hartley when she finds out her boyfriend Josh is "seeing" (and a lot more) the president of the school's Chastity Club. Then said president is found dead in his bedroom, obviously making him the prime suspect. Knowing that he's innocent, Hartley has a go at using her detective skills to find the real killer. And as the body count rises, and she thinks that she may be next, Hartley really does need a better boyfriend.
The whole First Love is a Killer tagline was what drew me in. I love it when these things can be taken literally or metaphorically. The book gets off to a quick start, with Hartley finding out about Josh's cheating on the very first page. By the end of the second chapter, we'd also found the first dead body. Pacing is not an issue with Deadly Cool-something seems to be happening all the time.
There's a good cast of stock characters, with the budding Nancy Drew, the mysterious boy who may or may not be involved with the whole thing, the supportive best friend, the mandatory OTT-goodgirls. Hartley was strong and intelligent, with her voice being friendly, chatty and relatable. Chase was an interesting guy, who I'd definitely like to get to know a bit more in book 2, Social Suicide.
The whole mystery aspect to it was good, a more girly, less gritty one that I did enjoy, even if gritty is more of my thing.
Some parts of it were quite predictable. And some others weren't. For example, after body 2 is found, I guessed who it was, but when it's officially revealed, there's also a big showdown that I was not expecting at all, just because it would be so out of character. Then again, so was the murders. Anyway.
Hartley's narrative definitely pulls you in, makes you seem like you're enjoying (ok, that's a really inappropriate word. But I can't think of anything else) the action right alongside her and the rest of them.
It all comes to a neat conclusion on all parts, but I definitely want to read Social Suicide and see more of Hartley's adventures.
Overall: Strength 3 tea to a fun mystery with a strong heroine that isn't as gritty or gory as I like mine, but I still enjoyed it.