Sunday, July 13, 2014

Review: The Secrets of Lily Graves

The Secrets of Lily GravesTitle: The Secrets of Lily Graves
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Genre: Mystery, Romance
Release Date: May 13, 2014

A Quick Introduction: Growing up with a family of female morticians, Lily Graves is used to the dead.  But when Erin Donahue, senior class president is found dead hours after attacking Lily in a jealous rage, Lily is pulled into a murder investigation- as one of the prime suspects, along with Erin's ex-boyfriend, Matt.

Out of Ten: 5/10

Review at a Glance: A fairly absorbing mystery, although aspects felt incomplete.

Review: This book felt more like an first draft that hadn't been fleshed out yet than a complete story. That said, once I started reading it, I didn't put it down until I finished it (in the early hours of the morning). It was a quick read, and took me about four hours to finish.

The characters and relationships were one aspect that made the story feel incomplete. The characters felt more like sketches than finished characters. Lily was raised living in a funeral home, and her family are morticians, so she's obviously quite comfortable around dead bodies and I would have liked to hear more about her home life, and participation in the family business. There were aspects of her character that I appreciated, though I would have liked more buildup. It would have been nice to see more about Matt's character, and his personality oustide of the whole romance. The romance could have done with more time to develop, or rather, more display that it had developed, since Lily and Matt knew each other before Erin's death. Though they weren't exactly seeing each other behind Erin's back, they weren't exactly not either, which I found dishonest, especially on Matt's part. Despite being told that they were interested in each other before, Lily and Matt didn't really seem to click from what was shown in the book. It was one of the aspects that could have been more built up.

Another aspect that would have benefited from more fleshing out was the plot itself. More time could have been taken between big reveals of new information, and it could have been interwoven with smaller pieces of information. As it was, the investigation seemed a bit too easy, and some pieces didn't weave together as well as they might have done if they had been plotted more carefully.

The writing was fairly simple. The story was told in first person, from Lily's perspective. This limited perspective worked well, since all information was revealed to the reader at the same time as it was revealed to Lily. As a matter of personal preference, I like when the information in a mystery is given to the reader at the same time as the character, rather than additional information being presented from time to time. I find it allows for a more interactive reading experience to solve the case along with the characters, so this worked for me. Despite the fact that the mystery wasn't terribly complicated or well planned out.

Overall, while this book could have done with more buildup in the areas of character, relationships and plot, it was still an alright mystery, and I didn't put it down until I finished.

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