Ben Dutton's Reviews > Heartless

Heartless by Sara Shepard
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Mar 08, 12

Read in March, 2012

** spoiler alert ** And the implausibilities keep on coming in Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars. Almost everything that happens to the four girls at the heart of this series really would never happen in real life – and the press reaction, police reaction and public reaction are all even more incredible. Not one word of this series could you ever truly believe. And yet, the series is enormously popular – no small doubt because Sara Shepard’s prose is whip-fast, smart, and her story carries you along with the force of a runaway train.

The series was recommended to me by a friend as an indicator of where modern publishing was headed – the series was sold as four books, meaning Sara Shepard was in no need of tying up all the loose ends by the end of the first book – so in many ways it resembles the old Victorian way of publishing – tell a serial story, of multiple volumes, and if it’s any good the reader will follow you. I’ve read seven of the damn books, so the theory works. I know they’re not good literature, and that I am in no way its intended audience, but sometimes it’s fun to kick back with a piece of trash, and enjoy the ride.

Heartless, the seventh book in the series, is interesting: it seems to resolve all the storylines Shepherd has set – the killer is caught, the girls are free – and yet there is an eighth book to come. Being Shepard has a twist up her sleeve. (I also know that the popularity of the TV series of the same overall title – Pretty Little Liars – has seen Shepard begin work on another four part series of adventures for the girls.) So trashy, yes, but very, very thrilling. One of my real guilty pleasures.
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