Published: March 1st 2011, Sourcebooks
Pages: 262 pages, paperback
Series?: Yes, this is the third installment. The final book in the series is 'Phoenix'
Acquired: Kindly sent for review
Summary (from Goodreads): Six months have passed since the last Ellerton teenager died, but Darina is still traumatized by the stabbing of her own beloved Phoenix. But there's work to be done as Darina must now turn her attention to the shooting of Summer Madison - the beautiful and gifted, singer-song-writer with a heart of gold. It's been nearly a year since the random shooting in a shopping mall caused Summer's meaningless death.
Summer left behind recordings of her wonderful songs and a deep sadness amongst high school friends. Now Darina must act as Summerās agent to track down the psychotic killer in a clear search for justice. With the sound of Summer's music constantly playing inside Darina's head, recalling the wonderful months when she was alive and performing her first gigs, Darina, Phoenix and the Beautiful Dead are determined to catch the crazed killer.
My review: This is the third book in the Beautiful Dead series and, while my feelings about the series as a whole have always been mixed, something keeps me coming back whenever I can get my hands on the next book.
By book three we already know how the stories work, we know the characters and we know that there will be another mystery to solve. While this system worked well in books one and two, I think the similarities of each story have begun to get a little stale this time around. I was hoping for some fresh ideas or exciting new characters in 'Summer' but it didn't quite deliver. From page one I knew what the ending would be so I didn't feel a sense of tension - for me book three just felt like a bit of a filler to pass the time until the final book in the series.
Darina still frustrates me somewhat but I am growing a little bit more fond of her with each book. As Summer was a friend of hers I think we saw a more sensitive side of her in this installment. I know that she's obviously been through an incredibly difficult time and just wants to be back with her boyfriend, Phoenix, but her constant 'woe is me' attitude does get a little grating.
I think I mentioned this in my reviews of the first two books but I always find the beginning of each book a little slow - they all seem to take a few chapters to really get going so I think cutting the first couple of chapters out of 'Summer' may have helped. Once the action started, though, that's when I really started to enjoy the book and remember why I still pay attention to this series.
I will be reading the final book in the series ('Phoenix') and will definitely be reviewing it - I've often said I much prefer reading standalone books to series so I think the fact I've almost managed to make it to the end of the Beautiful Dead books must say something good about them.
First line: 'Who decides what's normal and what's not?'
Total: 15/20 (B)