Review: As Good As Dead

I am a huge fan of Holly Jackson’s work and knew I needed As Good As Dead as soon as possible. Luckily for me, the amazing team at Electric Monkey allowed me to read it early and Holly just blew my mind.

This review was originally posted on The Nerd Daily.

Pip Fitz-Amobi is haunted by the way her last investigation ended. Soon she’ll be leaving for Cambridge University but then another case finds her . . . and this time it’s all about Pip.

Pip is used to online death threats, but there’s one that catches her eye, someone who keeps asking: who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? And it’s not just online. Pip has a stalker who knows where she lives. The police refuse to act and then Pip finds connections between her stalker and a local serial killer. The killer has been in prison for six years, but Pip suspects that the wrong man is behind bars. As the deadly game plays out, Pip realises that everything in Little Kilton is finally coming full circle. If Pip doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears . . .

Publication Date: 5th August

TW: mentions of rape, sexual assault, murder, death, drug use, violence, stalking

Goodreads | Waterstones

My Thoughts:

You heard it here first, Holly Jackson is an evil genius. 

As Good As Dead is a phenomenal conclusion to one of the strongest YA mystery series out there. This is a book that leaves you stunned in silence. 

I’ve been a massive fan of the A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder series since I first heard about it years ago. Every installment has been revealed more and more original and gripping plot twists, culminating in an immaculately plotted trilogy. This series is refreshing in that you could read each book as a standalone, as they work as separate stories. However, I’d have to highly recommend that you read them together in order to fully appreciate the sheer ingenuity of Jackon’s plotting. 

Her fiendish mind pulls out yet more amazing twists and turns that genuinely shock and surprise you. I loved how this ties the whole series together. This feels like a solid closing chapter, with so many of the recurring storylines from across the trilogy paying off. Little details from the first case resurface in totally new contexts. This level of attention to detail is so incredibly impressive and incredibly rewarding as a reader. The entire trilogy now feels so cohesive and instantly I wanted to reread every book to pick up every breadcrumb Jackson left behind. However, the ending does leave potential for some future stories in this word, which I would obviously love to devour. 

Yet again, Jackson pulls you in with such a strong opening hook and never lets you off the hook from there in. It is so unsettling and creepy, setting the tone for the darker tale hidden within. You just have to know what happens next. I loved how Jackson is unafraid of delving right into Pip’s trauma and how that’s affected her life. The Pip from A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder has been fundamentally changed by the events of the books and so the Pip in As Good As Dead is very different. Jackson effectively and sensitively explores the trauma these events would have on Pip and it was so good to see an author acknowledge just how horrific her experiences were. There’s a real sense of actions having consequences and accountability that runs through the book. This eventually leads to a very very dark shift in the story, as Jackson goes even deeper into uncharted territory. The ethical and moral ambiguity of the book also increases, leading to some really thought-provoking discussions about justice and revenge. 

The plotting and pace on display are second to none. There’s no other way to describe my reading experience but devouring. I sat down on a sunny afternoon and completely lost myself in this tumultuous tale, only drawing breath after I had closed the final page. This is the type of book that you can only really binge in one sitting, which is precisely what I did. You can’t help but just keep turning the pages, as Jackson drops incredible twist after twist. Beyond the nefarious plot, you just fall in love with our cast of fractured, fierce characters. They’ve all gone through such horrors, but they have heart, warmth and loyalty in spades. In particular, Pip still holds that witty sense of humour and charm that made me fall in love with her in A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder. Her intelligence and determination are still fully on display, but this is a more embattled version of the headstrong teenager. This is a Pip who has faced down monsters and lived to tell the tale, but that does not mean that she has remained unscathed. She has seen firsthand the strengths and failings of the justice system. Therefore, we are left with a more complex and ambiguous Pip, which is just all the more fascinating to read about. 

As Good As Dead is a phenomenal YA mystery that deserves to be one of the books of the year and provides a stellar finale to a knockout series. If you haven’t already met Pip, I highly encourage you to seek her out and find a new favourite book for your shelves. 

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