I don't know much about the fashion industry - you'd know that if you met me - so I can't really say if the background to this murder mystery is accurate. But it certainly feels authentic, with a glittering and sometimes toxic mix of money and art and beauty and greed.
Character is also very important to a good novel, and the character's here are well developed. Too many details would cause spoilers, because the plot development relies on the way different characters react to situations at several points. But the main character, D.I. Angela Costello, is given special depth (as is appropriate) - we get to see something of her home life as well, and how this influences her on the job. This isn't a stereotypical tortured loner, but a women with strong relationships to fall back on when needed, and it shows in her approach to life and to the case.
The author has deftly woven these different elements together, and manages to keep introducing new twists at every turn. In the end, everything comes together in a very satisfying and effective conclusion. All in all, a great read.
I loved this book. It was unputdownable from start to finish. I forced myself to put it down a few times and go back to it later, though, just to keep the enjoyment going for as long as possible! D.I. Angela Costello is completely likeable, and her relationships with her husband, step-daughter and colleagues make for a fully-rounded character. The other people in the book are also very real - you can imagine them living or working near you. The plot itself is very ingenious and multi-layered, like a rich trifle that produces new flavours the further you get into it. And there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you hooked. Although a murder mystery story, there are no graphic or visceral descriptions so it's ideal for the squeamish too (like me)! Can't wait for the next one!
In this second novel, Elizabeth Flynn again demonstrates her elegant and fluent writing style as D.I Angela Costello investigates a murder in the world of fashion. I found this story a little more difficult to grasp than Flynn's first novel: the ins and outs of the suspects' machinations with each other were much more complicated. During the first part of the novel, we are introduced to so many people who you cannot really like at all-everyone in this world seems to have at least three sexual partners on the go simultaneously. This picture of people treating each other as objects and trophies just to get what they want can become quite depressing. But then we meet Angie, the detective inspector and her team and we feel a sense of relief. I really like Angela and her husband Patrick and her young colleague, Gary; one of the most enjoyable things about the book is Angela's relationships and repartee with the colleagues in her team. It is also clever the way Flynn weaves the exploitation of Eastern European immigrants into the story, along with all the tiny little bit of information that are being revealed, building up into a significant lead for the investigating team. There is also a very tense and exciting scene near the end of the novel with a moment of real personal jeopardy for Angela, demonstrating her courage and her strength of character. And once again, as with her first novel, Elizabeth Flynn shows a meticulous attention to detail in her portrayal of the world in which her story is set.
I was very excited when I was asked to be part of Elizabeth Flynn's blog tour of Dead Gorgeous. The blurb sounded very promising and the book cover is such an eye catcher. Who could have said no to that? Dead Gorgeous is part of a series. The series started with Game, Set and Murder and Dead Gorgeous is the second book in the series. Both of them can be read as a stand alone novel. I have never read a book by Elizabeth Flynn before. What a good one to start with! I have been so impressed with Dead Gorgeous that I am even more happier I have recieved a copy of Game, Set and Murder as well.
Kristy Manners was young, beautiful and a trying to make it as a model in the fashion industry. For a start, she worked as an assistant for fashion house called Ivano King. Kristy had big ideas, not only about the modelling, she wanted to live a the high life. She liked the idea of going out with a rich and famous boyfriend. She wants that lifestyle.And now... she is dead. At this point Elizabeth Flynn introduced us to Detectiv Inspector Angela Costello, who was called to investigate the murder of Kirsty, who was found dead in her flat. Not only dead, she has been murdered.
When I started reading Dead Gorgeous, it was a difficult for me to get into it. The first few chapters didn't make any sense to me but when you keep reading all things come together at some point. Things picked up for me when D. I. Costello started to invastigate on Kristy's case. Quickly I was hocked by the story.When the story unfolds more and more we meet plenty of characters. Sandra, Kristy's flatmate, Darren, Kristy's ex-boyfriend. Ian King, Kristy's employee, several workmates and police officers and there are even more. Sounds pretty much like a confusing character overload? Not at all! Flynn created a brilliant storyline were all these characters are interlinked in some way and it worked so well. Elizabeth Flynn knew how to build tension in this book and I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. There were twists and turns through out the book and I did not find it predictable at all, which added to my enjoyment of the book. I found the book captivating and kept me guessing who the murder of Kristy was. Sometimes my prediction changed from chapter to chapter and so many times I was on the completely wrong track. I loved that! Not only the the storyline, also the characters, for me, are really what made this book so great. They are all complex characters with their own agendas, thought processes and personalities. Angela is a fantastic character, I warmed to her straight away.
Dead Gorgous was everything I was looking for in a light crime novel. It compelling, pace changing, and a real page turner.
D I Angela Costello is called to investigate when Kirsty Manners is found dead in her flat. She is an assistant working for fashion house Ivano King and has aspirations above her abilities. There are plenty of suspects including Ian King - her employer - who has been having a bit of fling with her and her on/off boyfriend tough guy Darren. But is there something more going on behind the scenes? Something which could lead to other crimes? Father Martin - Angela's local Roman Catholic priest, has been appealed to for help by a very distressed Easy European girl and he can't get her out of his mind.
This book is an absorbing read. It is a police procedural where the police team get on well together and share a lot of banter and where they really do seem to work as a team. Angela herself is a likeable character, coming to terms with a recent promotion and with her step daughter living with her and her husband, Patrick. I though it was well plotted and the characters were convincing and I liked the very tense ending.
The series started with 'Game, Set and Murder' and 'Dead Gorgeous' is the second book in the series and I hope we will see many more books featuring Angela Costello. If you like your crime stories without too much on the page violence and bad language then you may enjoy this series. I received a free copy of the book from NetGalley fro review purposes.
Originally reviewed for www.bookaholicconfessions.wordpress.com
I was really excited about reading Dead Gorgeous. Described as ‘crime meets chick lit’ it sounded ideal for me. The synopsis has me hooked right from the off; fashion, murder, mystery and plenty of nail biting moments…What’s not to like?
From reading the Prologue I wasn’t sure how I was going to find Dead Gorgeous. It took me a while to get my head around that part because it launches right into a story that you know nothing about and you don’t know who any of the characters are.
However, as soon as Kirsty is murdered and the investigation begins that’s when the story really gripped me. I had no clue who was behind the murder and I remained that way throughout the book, which is a must for me. It’s no fun if you work it out too soon, maybe some super-crime fanatics could work it out but I, for one, was stumped.
The story was unpredictable and takes you on plenty of twists and turns as various things are revealed throughout the investigation (and yes, the prologue does then make more sense!) There is another sub-plot running alongside Kirsty’s murder involving a European girl who seems to be being held in a house against her will. At first I wasn’t sure how everything fitted together, but there comes a point where everything clicks and adds up.
None of the characters were very likeable, but then they are all potential murderers so I suppose that’s to be expected! D.I Angela Costello made for an interesting lead character (and one person who I did quite like…) You get to see a more sensitive side to her in her home life as she battles with insecurities such as her step-daughter moving in, but then you get to see her more confident side as she works her magic on the investigation. I thought the work/life balance for Angela in the story was perfect and I loved the working relationship she has with her colleagues and the banter that they shared.
For anyone who enjoys reading what I like to call ‘nice’ murders (meaning no blood, gore, excessive violence etc) then Dead Gorgeous will be a perfect read for you. It’s completely absorbing, and will have you tearing at the pages to find out what happens. I always find the endings of crime books to be make or break with regards to the whole story; sometimes you can have the most fantastic plot which is ruined by an odd ending, but with Dead Gorgeous the ending was tense and satisfying. Dead Gorgeous is actually the second murder mystery for D.I Costello (the first being Game, Set and Murder) and I can’t wait to discover more from Elizabeth Flynn. You can also easily read Dead Gorgeous as a standalone novel, which I did.
All in all this was an absorbing, page turner of a novel, with a good solid plot. You can’t help but be drawn into the story and you won’t be willing to put it down until you know “who dunnit”…
I have recently expanded my reading and started to read more crime novels, so when I was asked to take part in the blog tour for Dead Gorgeous I jumped at the chance. Just from the blurb this book sounded so interesting. This is the second in a murder mystery series, however it can be read as a standalone novel. It is the perfect book to get hooked on and feel like you are part of.
Kirsty Manners is an ambitious young woman who longs to be a model, she works for Ivana King, a top fashion house. She isn't a particularly nice woman and doesn't mind using people to get what she wants. When she is found dead in her flat D.I Angela Costello is called to investigate. This book has so many twists and turns and you are always kept guessing, exactly how a murder mystery should be. At first I was a little confused but when the book really gets started and when D.I Costello comes onto the scene it becomes a book that you just can’t put down.
I loved how none of the characters are actually like-able, this gave me a whole new experience when reading as I have never really found that I don’t like any of the characters before. What is great about this book is that none of the characters in the story were having an easy life, everybody had their problems and they all worked within the story. All of the characters worked well together and bounced off each other brilliantly, there was something entertaining about each one of them and this made you like them so much more. Each character is capable of lying and cheating, which is perfect for this type of book, and it keeps you on your toes because you just don't know what they will do next. There are so many characters and there is a lot going on in the book, which worried me slightly at first but as you read on you see that it is not too much at all but the perfect amount to make the book brilliant. What I love most about books that have a lot of characters with different stories is when we find out that they are all connected, which is exactly what this book does.
There were so many times in this book that I thought I knew what was or was going to happen and where the story was going (I didn't), this novel well and truly keeps you guessing. This is brilliant writing from Elizabeth as she manages to make you think something different to what is actually happening, just by releasing little bits of information, then adding a huge twist. Elizabeth constantly changes the pace of the novel at exactly the right times, which I thought was absolutely brilliant. She allows you to try to figure out the case along with D.I Costello, whilst also allowing you to feel the tension throughout. I read this book in no time at all and I think anybody would struggle to put it down.
Elizabeth is a wonderful writer who has the power to write such a detailed, elaborate story but have you able to keep up. I would definitely recommend this book if you want a flowing, easy but fascinating read that will keep you on your toes and up late at night because you can’t stop reading. Fans of crime or chic-lit will love this book as it covers both genres, I'm a massive chic-lit fan and I loved it!
First of all can we just take a moment to appreciate how pretty the cover is?
Okay, now on with the review. I think it's fair to say that when it comes to crime fiction I generally look for two things.
1. Is the case exciting? and 2. Is the ending a surprise?
If the answer to either of these is no then we have a problem. Of course occasionally you'll have a bit of a snooze-fest of a case in the middle of a series and sometimes you can guess the culprit before the big reveal and it doesn't take away from the effect but usually I need EXCITEMENT and INTRIGUE. Dead Gorgeous has plenty of both.
Aspiring model Kirsty Manners had no shortage of enemies when she was alive and when she turns up dead it's Detective Inspector Angela Costello's job to find the killer. There are plenty of possible suspects though and Costello must dig a bit deeper to uncover all of the facts. Was Kirsty mixed up in something far more dangerous that she realised? The premise of this book was intriguing. A murder mystery set in the underworld of the fashion industry? Yes please. It sounded exactly up my street and I wasn't disappointed. There's a little bit of everything going on here; drugs, human trafficking, prostitution. Oh and a little bit of romance for good measure.
The prologue sets the scene for something that we don't fully understand until later in the book. I was absolutely hooked by the end of it and thought it was a fantastically strong start to the story as it really draws you in and you can't help but wonder what on earth is going on. The first couple of chapters give you the background and then the investigation picks up almost straight away and you are thrown into Angela Costello's shoes as she heads up the case. There are no end of suspects and I definitely had every single one of them down as the killer at some point. Usually you can rule a few out by process of elimination but I hadn't got a clue with this one and I was pleased with the way things ended.
There are no long chapters where nothing much happens and you are sitting waiting for the police to do their paperwork. Yes I know they have to do it but I don't really want to read about it thanks. Just like I don't want to read about someone on the toilet. It's necessary but it doesn't make for very exciting reading and, as I've already said, I NEED EXCITEMENT. Luckily there are so many twists in the plot that you have no way of knowing what is coming next and you will find yourself unable to put it down. The two storylines weaving in and out of each other is what really gives this book its edge and I was desperate to find out what was going on with the girl from the church.
I really love the working relationship between Costello and Detective Constable Gary Houseman. They work really well together and their conversations were fun to read. I also liked how following on from the events of the first book Angela definitely seems to be relying more heavily on her junior colleagues rather than the old hands. This book properly introduces Angela's step-daughter Maddie and I can imagine she will pop up again throughout the series as her relationship with Gary develops. All of the characters are really interesting and whilst even some of the 'good-guys' aren't particularly likeable (Jim, I'm looking at you) they all make for excellent reading.
I read book #1 first because I'm a bit funny about starting a series part way through but you could actually read this book as a standalone if you've not read Game, Set and Murder as the Wimbledon case is only mentioned in passing a couple of times and everything else is pretty self-contained. I do urge you to check out the first book though because it is just as good as this one. I have it on good authority that Elizabeth is currently working on a third book in this series and I for one am super excited about it.
Kirsty is an in house model with big aspirations- but when she is found dead D.I. Angela Costello has to investigate. She looks at the ex boyfriend and flatmate and the in house designer who seems to be more upbeat than he has reason to be. She finds an underworld of prostitution, drugs and theft. Will she find the killer?