Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Little Pretty Things

Summary: Juliet Townsend is stuck in a dead-end job cleaning at a cheap motel, stealing little pretty things that catch her eye—until her former best friend and rival, Madeleine Bell, checks in. By morning, Juliet is no longer jealous of Maddy. She’s the chief suspect in her murder.

When a former friend and old high school rival, Madeleine Bell, checks into the hotel, Juliet adds envy to her bitterness. Well-dressed, flashing a diamond ring on her finger, and as beautiful as ever, Maddy is the very embodiment of Juliet's every dashed hope. But why would she choose to stay in the seedy Midnight Inn?

Before an answer to that question turns up, the next morning Juliet learns that Maddy has been found dead in her room. And the police have targeted Juliet as the chief suspect.

To protect herself, Juliet is forced to investigate the circumstances of Maddy's life and death. What she uncovers is that her onetime rival certainly never had it all. And Juliet may lose what little she has. -- Seventh Street Books

I decided to pick up LITTLE PRETTY THINGS by Lori Rader-Day, not because of the praise for this specific novel, but rather because of the amazing praise for her first one THE BLACK HOUR. I haven't actually read THE BLACK HOUR yet, but it was nominated for the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the Macavity Award for Best First Novel, and the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original. While I was intrigued by the premise for LITTLE PRETTY THINGS, I was fairly certain that Ms. Rader-Day could write! And after finishing LITTLE PRETTY THINGS, I can say that I was definitely right.

LITTLE PRETTY THINGS tells the story of Juliet Townsend, a young woman who is stuck in her hometown and hasn't done much since graduating from high school ten years ago. She still lives at home with her mother (who has her own set of issues), and she cleans rooms at a pretty questionable hotel.

One day, her high school best friend and track team rival Maddy shows up at the hotel and asks for a room. Maddy looks like a million bucks and is sporting a huge diamond ring. The two women have a drink together in the hotel bar, and Juliet discovers that her feelings of jealousy have been buried under the surface all of these years.

The next morning, Juliet discovers Maddy dead, and (surprise, surprise) she's the chief suspect. Juliet decides that she has to investigate Maddy's death to save herself from being charged with the murder but also to figure out Maddie's past and what secrets she was hiding.

I enjoyed LITTLE PRETTY THINGS quite a bit, and I was very impressed with Ms. Rader-Day's writing. I liked the mystery although I admit I knew where the story was going and wasn't really surprised when the murderer was revealed. However, the real strength of this story was in the development of Juliet's character.

Juliet was so intriguing and I think many women will relate a bit to her character. She had those insecurities that so many of us have -- both as teens and women, and I appreciated how she reflected back on her high school years with a twisted view of what really took place. She also had a little issue with taking what didn't belong to her which was interesting if you're into analyzing individuals behavior.

As she delved into the mystery surrounding Maddy's death, it was also interesting to see Juliet become more aware of her past and Maddy's as well. As I mentioned before, it wasn't shocking for me to learn who was responsible for Maddy's death, but it was very shocking for Juliet. I especially appreciated how her character figured things out while also trying to cope with her past. Needless to say, Juliet's character was much more complex than I was expecting when I started LITTLE PRETTY THINGS.

Overall, I definitely recommend LITTLE PRETTY THINGS. It was a gripping mystery with a great lead character. I suggest reading this novel is you like psychological thrillers that examine complicated relationships.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read. Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


Harvee Lau - Book Dilettante said...

Haven't been aware of The Black Hour and this author, but the awards speak for themselves! Something to put on my list!

bermudaonion said...

Juliet does sound like a fascinating character - I know a few people who are a lot like her.

Kay said...

I put this book on my list for the very same reason you did. And I haven't read The Black Hour either, but I do have it on my Kindle. It was nominated all over the place and that usually bodes really well for my enjoyment. Good to hear about Little Pretty Things. Yay! Another new author to try!

Vicki said...

I think I've like both books. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.