Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington

A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.

Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.

Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school — until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?

I lurve ghost stories and mysteries and the like and really loved Clarity so I was really excited for Dead and Buried. Sadly, I was kind of disappointed. I’ll give it decent points for the creepy ghost thing, but the mystery, well, I guessed the murderer 100 pages in.

I don’t want to and won’t hate on the book, but there were lots of little things that put me off in different ways. First of all my biggest beef were the snotty little diary entries of Kayla’s. Referring to people as numbers is one of those human-debasing things that makes me think “watch out, one day she’s gonna chop people up and keep them in a freezer in her basement”. So I kinda hated her really put me off caring about who killed her. Like, don’t catch them, give them a medal!

Then there were the sidekick friends, all of which seemed incredibly “stock”. Awkward nerd friend, cute jock boy who is strangely interested in the fresh meat, preppy second-in-command girl, again, strangely interested in fresh meat and most of all brooding, artsy ex-boyfriend. I think it was the formulaic characters that led me to guessing the culprit so easily. And of course, there were the bad stock parents too. The disinterested dad and the superbitchy step mom. Seriously, at one point when the step mom discounts Jade’s claims that the ghost is hurting her younger brother as an excuse to move I was 110% done. I’ve read these kinds of stock traits before, hated them and hate them now.

All that being said, I did like the ghost stuff. It was nice and creepy, so aces on that front. Sadly, it just wasn’t really enough to redeem the book. It might have just been better to focus on the ghost thing and less on the murder mystery.

Similar recommendations: Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann and Shrapnel by Stephanie Lawton.

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