DEAD TO HER
I believe Sarah Pinborough did an amazing job with Behind Her Eyes. After reading a novel like that, I had really high expectations for Dead to her. At the start of reading this novel, I believe my high expectation was the reason I felt the plot and pacing were slow and unsatisfactory. I later realized the author did fall short compared to her previous novel. Personally, I do not classify this as a crime, suspenseful or psychological thriller. It is more of a drama-filled mystery. It has this soapy feel to it with all the jealousy, love, envy, eminence, wealth, high society living and romance. In addition to the black magic and voodoo subculture to darken the mood and plot of the novel (which I have very strong mixed feelings about).
Unfortunately this review is centered more on my dislikes than likes. Firstly, the sex scenes were a tad too explicit for my liking. There were several graphic sex-capades that were unnecessary and very cringe worthy. Secondly, It had a supernatural vibe to it. There were several minor plot lines and a major subplot that I was not that much of a fan of. For instance, the inclusion of black magic and voodooism. (If they are not your thing, this book is not for you). Although a nod to the Southern voodoo subculture and a major subplot that contributes to the story line of the characters. That, mixed with Keisha’s family and background, the pacing of the novel most definitely could have done without it. It was not only unnecessary, but at some point became too much.
Pacing. Writing. Ending
Believe it or not, it took me almost an entire month or more to suck it up and complete this novel. This was solely because the pacing started to lag at the start of the middle stretch but eventually picked up just enough speed make it to the end. There were times where I felt the plot got flimsy,sloppy, and even got weird.
Previously, I mentioned several minor plot lines I was not that much of a fan of. Another example being Jason flirting with Keisha ( for the sake of not revealing spoilers, i’ll withhold an opinion here). My point being, after finishing the novel and understanding why they were included, it still felt unsatisfactory. Sarah Pinborough is an amazing storyteller, but looking back to her novel, Behind her eyes, regarding the outlandish direction her books take. Her structure of writing leans towards being amateurish with the risks she takes towards the end. An instance is the classic villain unprovokingly explaining and admitting to every detail of how, when and why. How that played out was quite unrealistic and amateurish, the author fell short on that.
Another particular peeve was the anticlimactic ending. Don’t get me wrong, I love how the ending played out. My disappointment might be as a result of the high expectations set and the late breaking twists set by the author.
Dead To Her; Characters.
Dead To Her features the most dreadful and unlikable characters. I love the characters because of how much I HATED them. Rarely do I come across a book where I cared so little about the characters that it was more about seeing who I’d end up hating the most. Yet, was captivated enough by their story lines to want to keep the pages turning. (If you are the type that has to root for at least one character in a plot even if they are meant to be all unlikable, you might not enjoy this). This is a factor I fully credit Pinborough for. The author gave the impression of a strong sense of disdain for the characters and everything they stood for. A factor I would love to engage you guys on in the comments :D. There are so many words to describe the unlikability of the characters. They are vile, deceitful, secretive, conniving, judgemental and not to mention shamelessly entitled.
“I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a case where my problem was having too many suspects who could all easily be guilty. The issue I have is–and don’t take this personally–that you’re all truly atrocious people”. ~Excerpt from Dead To Her, Sarah Pinborough
The story is told from the perspectives of the two main, strong but unreliable female protagonists, Marcie and Keisha. Pinborough made it so easy to dislike and care so little about these two women and the remaining condescending and entitled high-society women. The men are no better, but before I get into that. Marcie and Keisha. These two and their partners are deeply flawed, from their individuality to their marriages.
Marcie is many things; greedy, jealous-crazed, power hungry, and high on the horse of entitlement. Her obsessive worry with Jason being true to her after connivingly ending his first marriage is nothing short of audacious. She obviously married Jason for money and social status despite her implausible deniability disguised as love. The two women had a lot of unlikability in common, both secretive and conniving gold digging social climbers, why I felt little to no sympathy for them or any character in the novel.
She could live without love if she had to, for the sake of wealth and power.
~Sarh Pinborough, Dead To Her.
Keisha was the more tolerable one out of the two. Her character is crazy, naive, desperate, very annoying and utterly underdeveloped, although there was a weak attempt by the author for character development. The men were not exactly prize husbands. Jason is a lying, gaslighting sociopath and William, an entitled, eminent bully. In a way both couples deserved each other.
“The things men do never fail to surprise me. Surprise and disappoint in equal measure.”
In conclusion, despite this novel being a sundry of flaws. With twists and turns working for some and not for others. I consider Dead To Her by Sarah Pinborough an engrossing page-turner. Not enough to blow your mind, but enough to keep you entertained. Let me know what you think!
Dead To Her
Dead To Her by Sarah Pinborough is an entertaining soapy mystery thriller set in the pompous high society of Savannah in the American South featuring unlikable characters, black magic and ...