Michelle's Reviews > Dead Time

Dead Time by Anne Cassidy
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Apr 25, 2012

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bookshelves: arc, crime, contemporary, mystery-thriller, netgalley, young-adult

Anne Cassidy's Dead Time has been an odd sort of beast for me to review. I had a lot of different problems with it -- a few were a matter of taste, some are writing-style, others are problems with plot...suffice it to say they are many and varied. However, I read it ages ago and still occasionally think about the mystery and what is going to come next. Obviously, it wasn't all bad. Since I've been struggled for so long with this review, I'm going to do it in lists:

The Bad:

- I get that the book is written by a British woman, and that we are two nations divided by a common language and all that. I know that different slang words are used, that we phrase things differently, that we have different names for the same things, and that we sometimes use the same words to mean different things. I get that, and read quite a few British books with absolutely no problem (google is your friend). With that in mind...nearly every single conversation in this book had me scratching my head in confusion at least once. I straight-up didn't get what the dialog meant at times, and the conversations almost always felt awkward and forced. I think this is an issue with the writing and not an American/British thing.

- I am so sick of step-sibling forbidden romances being set up to create tension. It isn't biologically incest, and when the characters weren't in a true brother/sister situation (a.k.a. they did not spend most of their lives in the same household with the same parents living every day as brother and sister), it doesn't even emotionally feel like incest. It's a fake taboo meant to manufacture drama and it is getting old. (This trend is your fault, isn't it Forbidden?)

- How old do you have to be to become a cop in the UK? How old is Henry? Because every single interaction between Henry and Rose is just creepy on so many levels. Is he really close to her age, and are they quasi-asking each other out on dates? Or is he older and trying to be a sort of big brother/mentor and just really missing the mark with how? What is this?!?! I am so confused about this character.

- Why is Skeggie helping them anyway? Especially considering he started his sleuthing before Joshua knew Rose was involved. Another character whose behaviour just doesn't make sense to me. (Nor is his genius particularly believable, but that is an entirely different issue.)

- I am all for teenage crime-solvers; they make for fun mysteries. However, these kids go beyond looking for clues the grown-ups have missed into full blown willfully hiding events and clues from police who are actually doing a good job. I know this will make me sound crotchety and all, but I can't even count how many times I said to myself while reading, "For the love of...just call the cops already, will ya, kids?" Then, after the cops get there, they lie. A lot. Very big lies.

- Just how many clues can be magically given to them anyway? I like my amateur detectives to be smart and work for their answers, not have them handed (or emailed) to them.

- None of the characters feel fully formed -- they are all flat as paper.

The Good:

- Cassidy set up a complex system of inter-related characters with different means, motive, and opportunity to have killed Ricky. I genuinely wondered who would pan out as the murderer.

- I like that the murder mystery from the start of the book was neatly wrapped up and solved while the overarching series mystery/conspiracy involving their parents was just set up with lots of open questions. (I like at least a little resolution within my mysteries!)

- The unanswered questions were interesting. I care about the answers.

Why I Will Still Read The Next Book:

- As I said, I read it a month ago and I am still occasionally thinking about it. I want to know what happens next.

This review also appears at Chronicles of a Book Evangelist; a review copy was provided by the publisher.
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