Sharing Books and Authors, with an emphasis on Mysteries.
Monday, March 19, 2012
So Pretty It Hurts by Kate White
Think of an Agatha Christie-type mystery with Kate White's So Pretty It Hurts. She took a group of people, stuck them in a country house in the middle of a snow and sleet storm, and then someone died. And, crime reporter Bailey Weggins was there to get the story, just because she had a hissy fit over her boyfriend's absence.
Bailey's boyfriend, Beau Regan, was in Sedona on a job. When he called to say he might get back on Saturday, she didn't want to sit around waiting for him, and agreed to accompany a friend to a house party a couple hours north of the city. What she found was a self-absorbed group of people involved in the modeling and music industries, with many of them dependent on the whims of model Devon Barr. Then, she found herself "Being nearly snowbound with a bunch of totally wacky houseguests who liked to get sloshed or stoned, expose their boobs and hurl drinks across the table." And, even when one of the guests ends up dead, the others are still self-absorbed, crying about lost job opportunities, and complaining about being stranded in the house with a corpse.
For Bailey, it's an opportunity to report back to her boss at Buzz magazine, a gossip tabloid where she covers crime involving celebrities. Although her friend and co-worker, Jessie, feels as if she's in the midst of a horror movie, Bailey turns crime investigator, asking questions of the other guests. She's not so sure the death was an accident, considering conversations she overheard. When a key goes missing, someone scares the guests, and Bailey herself is pushed down the stairs, she thinks she might be on the right track. It's only when she gets back to the city, though, and finds herself in danger and her job on the line, that she realizes she might be a threat to one of the other guests from the weekend.
After thinking about it, I don't remember many likable characters in the Agatha Christie mysteries. I have to admit there were few likable people in So Pretty It Hurts. And, even Bailey Weggins, who could be so mature in her professional life, was immature when it came to her personal life. She admits that she had, "A rotten habit of biting off my nose to spite my face." It's her immature reaction, and her distrust of her boyfriend that places her at that houseparty.
Spoiled models and musicians aren't my favorite characters. But, I always appreciate a good mystery involving an isolated house and cast. And, White handles that beautifully, including an ironic twist that works well. Bailey even shows some emotional maturity at the end of the book. Perhaps this is White's way of forcing her series character to grow. So Pretty It Hurts puts a modern twist on the country-house murder, while moving Bailey Weggins on to a new stage in her life.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
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My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.