As Good as Dead
Title: Good as Dead
Author: Holly Jackson
Published: 5th August 2021
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Number of pages: 576 (Paperback)
Start Date: 31st January 2022
Finish Date: 31st January 2022
Pip is about to head to college, but she is still haunted by the way her last investigation ended. She’s used to online death threats in the wake of her viral true-crime podcast, but she can’t help noticing an anonymous person who keeps asking her: Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? Soon the threats escalate and Pip realises that someone is following her in real life.
When she starts to find connections between her stalker and a local serial killer caught six years ago, she wonders if maybe the wrong man is behind bars. Police refuse to act, so Pip has only one choice: find the suspect herself or be the next victim.
As the deadly game plays out, Pip discovers that everything in her small town is coming full circle and if she doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears.
To be fair, this book wasn't bad. But up till now, this has been my favourite YA mystery series for very specific reasons. And unfortunately, I feel like this last book in the trilogy completely jumped the shark. One of the reasons I adore this series is because of Pip. She's smart, fearless, and snarky, the perfect rendition of a modern-day Nancy Drew. But not in this book.
In this book, she is angry and traumatised, and has turned into my least-favourite trope of all time: a pill-popping, freaking out, paranoid, therapy-is-not-for-me female narrator.
Of course she's traumatised by what happened to her in the last two books. Who wouldn't be, if this was real life? But I don't always want darker and grittier and more realistic things in everything I read. One of the main reasons I escape into books is to take comfort in strong characters who can kick ass again and again, rising from the ashes no matter what happens to them. So the fact that this book shat all over its strong female character is a huge disappointment. My other problem is the mystery, or lack thereof.
In books 1 and 2, we follow Pip as she investigates, talks to suspects, gathers clues, and makes deductions. In other words, your standard Nancy Drew brought to life. But in this book, the mystery is just a small subset of the whole story, and it is over quickly, with barely any detecting. So what is this story taken up with?
Well, the first 100 pages are devoted to Pip raging and popping pills. Then we mercifully get into the core mystery of this book, but that's wrapped up pretty quickly by the end of Part I. At that point, the book takes a turn in a direction I don't even recognize for this series and its characters. It is so out of left field that I was just stunned (and not in a good way).
And to make matters worse, the entirety of Part II is obvious. It's clear what is going to happen, and the book just takes 200 pages to spell it out in long form. I don't have to have surprise after surprise in my books, but I'm not a fan of reading hundreds of pages when things can only go one way.
This book is intended for Young Adults but I do not think that is appropriate.The fact that Pip skulks around and procures drugs from the neighbourhood drug dealer, then inhales said drugs in order to take the edge off her trauma, not to mention what happens in the second half of the book, makes this one of the darkest books I have ever read, not just in YA.
If you are thinking about reading this series, I still wholeheartedly recommend it. Luckily each book is self-contained with a mystery that's all wrapped up by the end. I wouldn’t recommend skipping any books as they reference what happens in the earlier ones, so read them in order to enjoy spoiler-free reads.
If the other two books in this series didn't exist, I'm sure I would have enjoyed this and found very little cause for complaint. But they do, and I can't just erase them from my mind. I fell in love with Pip and the mysteries of those books, so in comparison, this book was a shock and a disappointment.