Happy Saturday, Reading Nook!
Today, I'm also reviewing Dead to Me by Mary McCoy.
I was REALLY excited to read this noir mystery about two sisters who are caught up in a mysterious crime set against the backdrop of a glittering Los Angeles, and it absolutely didn't disappoint.
Debut author Mary McCoy has written a tale that is riveting, shocking and utterly intriguing.
Published March 3rd 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
"Don't believe anything they say."
Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her--and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.
When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn't a kid anymore, and this time she won't let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets--and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie's attacker behind bars--if Alice can find her first. And she isn't the only one looking
Evoking classic film noir, debut novelist Mary McCoy brings the dangerous glamour of Hollywood's Golden Age to life, where the most decadent parties can be the deadliest, and no drive into the sunset can erase the crimes of past.
McCoy introduces us to Alice, the daughter of the head of public relations at a major Hollywood film studio. Alice once spent her life being fêted from one glittering party to the next, alongside older sister Annie. But after Annie disappeared four years ago, Alice has been biding her time, trying to figure out where her sister is, and what exactly has happened to her.
When she does get her sister back, Annie is in a coma, and left behind a string of secrets for Alice to solve. Alice gamely takes them on one-by-one, quickly finding herself involved in a world far different from all of the manufactured Hollywood glamour…
From the start, it's evident that McCoy has crafted a story that's both an excellent mystery and a wonderful study on sibling relationships. Readers see from page one that Alice has a fierce loyalty and love for her sister, so it's especially tragic when she realizes that her sister has ended up in the hospital, with very little answers on who or what has put her there.
Once Alice teams up with Jerry, a private eye friend's of Annie's, we see that it's largely love which initially propels Alice's investigation forward. Alice is intent on bridging that emotional gap that has existed since her sister left four years ago, and getting down to the bottom of her sister's injuries seem like it would start repairing the hurt of her disappearance.
McCoy is careful as Alice delves into the investigation, to show how much of a stretch this is for her someone of her position. Both of her parents expect a certain degree of decorum befitting of their Hollywood status, and aren't hesitant to let Alice know when she's stepped out of line. So it's both brave and a tribute to her sister's behavior, when Alice begins trying to find answers.
As the mystery unfolds, McCoy's writing is precise and detailed, including clues and pointed references to past behavior, as Alice unfolds a mystery that's far beyond her or her sister. Without giving spoilers away, McCoy is particularly adept in showing that the glamour that Alice has grown up with is very much a facade, and as perfect as things may seem on screen, they are often just as human and damaged underneath.
While the denouement of the mystery unfolds in a way that readers will likely hope for, McCoy leaves one or two reveals that ensures that this is one story that ends with both a bang, and a reminder that things really will never be the same for Alice or Annie.
When she's unwittingly put into a position of continuing her sister's work, Alice quickly learns that there is more to life than the carefully crafted Hollywood facade that she's lived with for so long. But she gamely takes on her sister's mantle, proving that in a world dominated by individuals and largely men, who all underestimate her age and gender, that a young girl with intelligence and cunning can help right some of the wrongs of the past.
I highly recommend this book for all readers, but especially for those who enjoy a good mystery and a strong heroine. Alice is a smart, ingenious heroine who isn't willing to let gender and societal conventions constrain her, and her strength will undoubtedly inspire readers of all ages.
About the author:
Mary McCoy is the Senior Librarian in Teen'Scape, the young adult department at the Los Angeles Public Library. She's also worked as a hot dog vendor, a hotel maid, a bass player, a fundraiser for public television, and a contributor to On Bunker Hill and the 1947project, where she wrote stories about Los Angeles's notorious past. Mary grew up in western Pennsylvania and holds degrees from Rhodes College and the University of Wisconsin. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband.