Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Series: Deadly Cool #1
Release Date: October 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins
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.
The Short of It: I had a lot of fun with this one. There is nothing groundbreaking about this novel, but it’s highly entertaining and perfect for Veronica Mars fans.
Plot: Deadly Cool is your typical who-dun-it plot-wise. The storyline is rather predictable, but I can’t remember the last time I read or watched a murder mystery where I wasn’t able to pick out the murderer before the reveal. However, the tone of the book is what sets it apart from other mysteries. It’s not dark or scary or even remotely creepy. In fact, it’s got a lot of humor in it. While it is predictable, it still has a few nice twists thrown in, especially towards the end and is overall quite enjoyable.
Characters: Hartley is what sold this book for me. She’s sassy, independent, and not afraid to follow her instincts. Hands down reminds me of Veronica Mars. Granted, she’s not quite kick-butt as VM yet, but I’ll be interested to see if that changes as the series continues. I love that Hartley wasn’t willing to go back to her ex, even when he tried over and over. Yes, she was tempted, but she stuck her ground and refused to “restart” things with him. She makes a lot of blunders along the way, but I see her detective skills only getting better as time goes by.
Romance: Honestly, there isn’t much romance in this one. She breaks up with Josh when he finds out he’s cheating. Yes, she’ll clear his name and still has some feelings for him, but she won’t be going back to him. I know we don’t see much of Josh, but overall he feels like a douche to me, so I’m glad he’s out of the picture.
There is a little tension with bad boy, Chase, but that’s basically where it stays. There is one hilarious scene in his bedroom and a little flirting, but it doesn’t go beyond that for these two. However, I can see that changing in the next book, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Writing: Deadly Cool is full of great lines. I kept reading certain parts aloud to my friends so they could experience the greatness as well. Don’t believe me? Check out the opening lines:
There are three things you never want to find in your boyfriend’s locker: a sweaty jockstrap, a D minus on last week’s history test, and an empty condom wrapper. Lucky me, I’d hit the trifecta.
And it only gets better from there. There were several times I laughed out loud because of something Hartley said or did. Halliday scores a home run with Hartley’s voice and I can’t wait until the next book comes out.
Librarian-Mode: Okay, admittedly I don’t read many mysteries; one of my weak spots in reader’s advisory. But I don’t know that this truly fits in with typical mysteries. I tend to think this one may play well with the Pretty Little Liars fans, though. It’s also a perfect recommendation for those who love Veronica Mars or Castle.
So, now it’s your turn…have you read Deadly Cool? If so, be sure to let me know what you thought.