First order of business! The winner of the hardcover copy of SERVANTS OF THE STORM is Heather!
So. DANGEROUS GIRLS. This was a book I picked up at DragonCon on whim, along with a few others.
Looking at the cover, I doubt it’s one I would have picked up for myself if not for the recommendation of a friend. A recommendation I apparently hallucinated. I swear on my bookcase this person told me she’d devoured this book, but we know by now my brain isn’t always the most reliable.
It’s been a week since I finished it. I let it sit, exercised my book hangover cures, read something else (that also broke my heart because of course it did) and I think I’ve overcome my deep emotions.
On the surface, DANGEROUS GIRLS is about a group of friends who travel to Aruba on vacation, and one of them ends up murdered. The narrative centers around two best friends: Elise, the one who dies, and Anna, the one they suspect killed her.
This book messed me up, you guys. It’s a total mindfuck.
What I enjoyed most about this book was the structure. It’s a non-linear narrative, shifting from the 911 call after finding the body to the investigation, evidence, and Anna’s time spent in jail to how Anna and Elise met and formed the group involved in this crime. It felt like a realistic portrayal of high school friendship. The two girls have a very intense relationship. Their bond runs deep, which makes it so hard to believe that Anna is even a suspect.
Especially when there’s a jilted lover with no alibi and a spurned native known for break-ins on the list of people Elise pissed off.
The writing is captivating. Haas obviously put a lot of work into establishing the legal world of a non-US trial. I loved the little unknown asides between characters (because there were no names mentioned/no tags, so it could have been anyone speaking), and how I felt that whirlwind friendship between the girls. I felt Anna’s heartache at the loss of her best friend and sister. I wasn’t sure how to handle Elise’s death until the end, but the ride to finding out the truth was a fun one.
It kept me up at night. I couldn’t stop thinking about. I had to get to the end, even though I knew what ending the book would lead to (the hangover.)
From what I’ve seen of other reviews, this is a book people either LOVED or HATED. I get that. For me, I think I read it at a time where I so strongly identified with Anna, the mindfuck of the whole thing slapped me across the face. I had my theories, which were ultimately proven incorrect, but that’s part of the fun of whodunits. I like the guesswork.
The ending destroyed me. I’ve never sobbed and pined over a book as hard as I did this one. The last book that really hurt me was IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS by Cat Winters.
I couldn’t even look at the cover without going all achy.
That being said, now that I’ve had time to wind down, I have a LOT of questions about the truth of this book. I just don’t know how it happened the way it did. The evidence doesn’t add up, and maybe that’s the point, but it still leaves an odd taste in my mouth. I still very much enjoyed this book, but it’s off the mark. I can see the why, just not the how. At the time, it didn’t matter, but now it’s an itch I can’t scratch.
Perhaps the narration hindered the killer’s reveal, but I just… don’t see it. And where the hell was the freaking necklace that whole time?
Give it a shot. I still think it’s a worthy book. Maybe you’ll see more evidence than I did. I’m off to heal from my recent bout of heartbreak, thanks to Susan Dennard and the conclusion of her A DARKNESS STRANGE AND DEADLY series. I’m not sure if I’ll write up a review of them or not, so if it’s something you’d like to see, leave a comment below.
Keep creeping, darlings.