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Little Pretty Things

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  2,695 ratings  ·  348 reviews

Juliet Townsend is used to losing. Back in high school, she lost every track team race to her best friend, Madeleine Bell. Ten years later, she’s still running behind, stuck in a dead-end job cleaning rooms at the Mid-Night Inn, a one-star motel that attracts only the cheap or the desperate. But what life won’t provide, Juliet ta
Paperback, 303 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Seventh Street Books/Prometheus Books
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Lori Rader-Day The opposite, in a way. I wondered what I might have done for a living if I hadn't gone to college. I was good at things like yearbook when I was in h…moreThe opposite, in a way. I wondered what I might have done for a living if I hadn't gone to college. I was good at things like yearbook when I was in high school, but I'm really not sure what I would have done for work if I hadn't gone to college and learned some marketable skills. That's where Juliet came from. She's a version of me, with a few less chances. (less)

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Average rating 3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,695 ratings  ·  348 reviews

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Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Juliet Townsend's life hasn't gone according to plan. Well to be honest, it hasn't really gone anywhere. After her father's death, her mother was unable to cope so Juliet dropped out of college to come home and 10 years later she hasn't left.

Juliet works at the Mid-Night, a seedy motel where she cleans as well as checks in guests. With it's one star rating the Mid-Night seems to attract a certain type of clientele. But it's a job and she needs it to try and make ends meet. Juliet feels stuck in
“Running quiets the voice in your head,”
― Lori Rader-Day, Little Pretty Things


I liked it at first however the gloomy hotel got to me or maybe it is just I have read to many books like this. I started getting a bit gloomy myself and though I do not like to DNF, I will do it if I cannot get into a book by fifty or sixty pages. I read more then that here (and cheated and checked out the ending.) I did that because I did not want to read anymore.

I think the gloomy tone may fit those interested
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I have a special fondness for stories about far from perfect, less than amazing characters. Throw in an insular small town setting and I’m generally hooked--which certainly proved true with mystery thriller Little Pretty Things; I could barely put the book down to get on with my own life.

Juliet Townsend was a promising track star in high school, but she always took second place because her best friend Maddy ran just a little bit faster. Never coming in first meant no scholarships to prestigious
Dale Harcombe
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Juliet Townsend’s life had not worked out the way she thought it would. Even though she spent years coming second in every athletics race to her friend Madeleine Bell, Juliet still thought she would one day leave town and be successful. It never happened. Ten years later she and Madeleine have lost contact after Madeleine moved away, while Juliet is still in the same town of her childhood. Added to that she is stuck in a dead end cleaning job at the Mid-Night Inn, a seedy one star motel. Both sh ...more
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
It took me forever to finish this book because I just couldn't get into it :( I guessed who the killer was very early on, and the rest of the story really dragged. I appreciated that the characters were all flawed, but I found myself wanting to shake Juliet at times. A lot of the details around the investigation seemed unrealistic too - I can't imagine a cop really handling a murder the way Courtney did. Despite the plot dragging, the ending felt a bit rushed too. ...more
Lori Rader-Day
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Look, I read this thing at LEAST three, four times this year, so I'm counting it on my 2014 books. ...more
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
"The dark didn't seem as frightening, once you grew up, once you realized how many ways there were to lose someone."

I'm left on the fence about this one. If Goodreads did half stars, it would probably get an extra half star from me. I expected an incredible thriller and an unsolvable mystery, but I got neither.

The characters keep this a two star. Did I like them? Not exactly, they were all really annoying and unlikeable at one point or another. But the thing is, they were written so well. Th
Jul 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
Found it boring and really not for me.. Did not like the writing style or the characters. Skipped to the end after reading first 30% of book.
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
4.5 Stars rounded to 4. Very good, fast paced read. I recommend to people who have been out of high school for a few years and are open to high school reflection.
The plot itself is straight forward. A high school friend returns to town and is killed. A who dunn-it.
The central part of the story is about two girls who were track stars/competitors/ always first and second place finishers. The first place star (Maddy) is the one killed and her friend second placer(Jules) wants to find out who did it
Missy Michaels
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
I did not enjoy this book. Even though we get a dead body within the first few chapters of the book I don't think it read like a thriller or suspense. The main character, Juliet, was amazingly boring to me. All of the references to high school track championships was mentioned too much. Maddy Bell was a track star. Okay. We know.It didn't need to be written on every other page.Juliet's "problem" with the itchy palms was just weird. At the end of the book the reveal of Teeny's secret wasn't reall ...more
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I was into this. I could identify with the aimless Juliet, 29-years-old and pretty sure she'd peaked in high school. Her 20s and time had been unkind. And I'm often a sucker for murder mystery.

It didn't live up to hopes.

The police investigation was woeful. I really hope there aren't investigations conducted as shoddily as this. Things happened (or didn't) to suit the story the author wanted to tell. She wanted to set up the main character as the unfortunate victim of police interrogation. But
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Can success or failure in high school continue to define a person ten years down the road? In Lori Rader-Day’s latest novel, Little Pretty Things, Juliet Townsend seems forever stuck in the fallout from coming in second, never the winner or the one who receives the accolades and the rewards of being first. Juliet has settled for less because she has never had more. Working in a one-star motel on the edge of her small town Midway, Juliet herself admits that “(She) hadn’t moved on.” It was typical ...more
Another well-written mystery from Lori Rader-Day! I admit that my initial suspicions were correct, however, she did a great job of making me suspect virtually everyone. I can appreciate the fact that Juliet overlooks what was happening "right under her nose" (so to speak) because she was a naive teen at the time. Perhaps one of the most appreciative aspects of Rader-Day's writing is her characterization. I feel as if I truly know each character so very well, and that is my main goal in reading a ...more
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2016
I wanted to like this more than I did. I appreciated that the characters were imperfect and flawed, but they were also too one-dimensional and predictable. The plot just wasn't compelling enough; frankly, I didn't know a book with a murder could be so dull. ...more
Stefani Sloma
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Last year I read and LOVED Lori Rader-Day’s debut novel The Black Hour (which I reviewed over on WatchPlayRead), so when Lori said she would send me an ARC of Little Pretty Things, I was SO excited! Lori’s second novel was just as thrilling, suspenseful, and well-written as her first.

I was immediately drawn into Juliet’s world – her job as a cleaning lady in a dive hotel in a small town, her compulsive desire to take the “little pretty things” left behind by her customers, her friendship with Lu
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't escaped small towns with the success of Maddy Bell, the high school golden girl who seemed to move on to even bigger and better things in Lori Rader-Day's second novel, Little Pretty Things, but I have escaped. Maybe that's what roped me in to the book from the beginning--the sense of place, places you don't want to be but can't look away from either. I've always had a fascination for roadside motels, too, particularly the midcentury type that hold out the sunny, forward-thinking promi ...more
Amanda McGill
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
For full review - The Limit of Books Does Not Exist

I’m torn on my rating for Pretty Little Things. I was hoping for something more, a more intense mystery, more dirty secrets and I didn’t get that. However it was still an enjoyable read.

When I read mysteries, I attempt to be a detective and I’m all over the place. Is this person? Wait no, this person? Hold on, who was that person? I get the odd cozy mystery killer right, but normally I’m wrong.

So within the first 1/3 of Pretty Little Things, I w
Sam Reaves
Jun 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Small-town Indiana, not much happening; Juliet Townsend is stuck in a dead-end job cleaning rooms in a one-star motel, taking care of an ailing mother and wondering where her life went off the rails. Then one night who walks into the motel but Madeleine Bell, Juliet's one-time best friend and arch-rival on the high school track team, who escaped to Chicago and apparently prospered, nicely turned-out with a big diamond on her finger. The reunion is awkward; we sense that there's more to their est ...more
Kelly Coyle-Crivelli
I couldn't wait to read the second book by Lori Rader-Day, being such a HUGE fan of her first book, The Black Hour.

Little Pretty Things has everything a reader could want... murder, crime, love, forgiveness and that feeling, that everyone has, of just wanting a little bit more out of life than they've been offered. I want more of these characters, I hope they all come back again in another book. :)
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a solid who-done-it. Engaging and believable characters with a strong and plausible plot. Well-developed story line with information revealed at just the right time to keep the reader interested. Would be a very good book for a book club. Definitely recommend.

ARC from publisher.
Julia Buckley
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another suspenseful tale from Lori Rader-Day. The Black Hour was set in the world of academia, but Little Pretty Things takes us back to high school through the memories of the narrator, Juliet, as she tries to process the murder of her former best friend.

John W.
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LITTLE PRETTY THINGS is a gripping story of life in a small town. The pace of the plot builds intensity and intrigue as readers turn each page. Readers experience murder, betrayal, illegal activities, and manipulations of young women. Lori Rader-Day introduces LITTLE PRETTY THINGS ‘main character, Juliet Townsend along with the demons she has been dealing with since graduating from high school ten years earlier. The author places readers inside Townsend’s head so they know what she thinking and ...more
Bibi Rose
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Rader-Day's first novel, THE BLACK HOUR, was wonderful. So is this book, but in quite a different way. LITTLE PRETTY THINGS starts out feeling a lot like one of Laura Lippman's standalone crime novels, such as WHAT THE DEAD KNOW-- two women in a marginal, unstable situation, with hints of a disturbing past. One of the things I love about LITTLE PRETTY THINGS is that the present is very dynamic. Rather than giving you the feeling you are just waiting around to find out who did what in the past, y ...more
James Ziskin
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure Lori Rader-Day could match the achievement of her remarkable debut, THE BLACK HOUR, but I'm happy to say that LITTLE PRETTY THINGS is an extraordinary success. It's hard to compare two different books, but I confess that I enjoyed LITTLE PRETTY THINGS even more than I did THE BLACK HOUR. And that's saying a lot, because I loved THE BLACK HOUR.

Old scars, broken friendships, and past and present failures. And possible redemption. Juliet struggles with all of these and more. This book
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
I chose this book because I saw it listed several places as one of the best mystery/crime novels written by women. After reading it, I have to say I'm surprised it was given this distinction. The depiction of police procedure to solve a major crime was poorly researched and very difficult to overlook. The characters were one-dimensional and poorly developed, and there were so many plot holes, most of which the author tried to hastily fill in at the end, like an afterthought. There are MUCH bette ...more
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As much as I love Lori's first book, The Black Hour, I love this one even more. No sophomore slump here! The story pulled me right in, and after that the pages seemed to turn themselves. The best books - not just mysteries - keep you hooked all the way to the last sentence. Little Pretty Things is one of those books! The characters, the setting, and the plot twists all added up to one of the best reading experiences I've had in a long time. I can't wait to read what she writes next! ...more
Kim Kardash
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Too predictable...boring. Good premise, but story not well developed. Giving it two stars instead of one because i actually finished it.
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
mystery is the genre I get most into, but it is simultaneously the most disappointing. I often reach the end of a mystery feeling dissatisfied. This was ... OK, I guess. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Tiwary Amit
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Not spectacular but a good one time read. It won't disappoint. ...more
Meghan (TheBookGoblin)
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
If I was basing this review on the first 3/4 of the book, it likely would only have gotten 3 stars, but I felt the ending came together nicely. The writing was good but not amazing, and while I did enjoy the story a lot, there were some sections that dragged on unnecessarily.

THE GOOD: My favourite show in the universe is Law and Order SVU and this reads just like an episode. Since I’m a crime buff I guessed what happened within the first few chapters, and I was hoping to be proven wrong with so
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LORI RADER-DAY is the Edgar Award-nominated and Anthony Award and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author of Death at Greenway (coming October 2021), The Lucky One, Under a Dark Sky, The Day I Died, Little Pretty Things, and The Black Hour. Lori’s short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Time Out Chicago, Good Housekeeping, and others. She lives in Chicago, where she is the co- ...more

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“Did he not know that there was a lower point, yet, when you had accepted your own fate but found yourself too weak to go through with it? The point at which you understood you had made not a single ripple in the pond, and neither would your loss.” 1 likes
“Running quiets the voice in your head,” 0 likes
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