Sunday, March 9, 2014

SOCIAL DEATH is deadly

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

SOCIAL DEATH by Tatiana Boncompagni is a well-written and layered murder mystery with lots of interesting details about the news reporting business, which I assume is accurate since I'm not in the biz. It was also nice to read a story where the police were not painted as total buffoons although what was considered a leak, lead, off-the record comment, or non-denial denial from the cops often seemed arbitrary. It is a fast-paced story with the expected twists and red herrings, a too-long denouement, and a few ambiguous last lines that will send conspiracy theorists rereading the book for "the truth" about the death of one character.

I never really warmed up to the protagonist, Cornelia "Clyde" Shaw, despite the explanations for her actions based on her past issues. She had far too many forgiving guardian angels especially for a career in an industry often painted, even in the story, as brutal and vicious. But life is two-faced. Had she been a man, her escapades would probably have been considered colorful rather than capricious and slutty. I believe this had to have been written this way on purpose. If so, well done.

Like many mystery readers, I play the game of detective alongside the protagonist. I love it when I'm totally fooled at the end. I was not fooled here. 43% of the way through my Kindle read, I knew who had committed the murder and more importantly, why. Yet, it did not deter me from enjoying the rest of the read. SOCIAL DEATH is a solid 4-star mystery. In the hands of an experienced screenwriter to tighten the story even more, it would make a good movie.