Book Review: Dead End Girl

I was lucky enough to have gotten a promotional copy of the latest McBain/Vargus title about a month prior to its release and I have been dying to talk about it on this blog. Now I finally have the chance to do – so let’s dig right in.

“Silence of the Lambs meets Fargo.”

This is the marketing pitch that I have seen popping up since the release, and it makes me eternally grateful that I got to read the book before ever seeing that claim.

Between the slow psychological build up of Silence of the Lambs and the dry humor of Fargo, I would have been expecting an intricate, subtle, and slowly paced psychological mystery. I found Dead End Girl to be more or less the opposite of that.

The book’s protagonist, Violet Darger, is a wonderfully expressive character whose emotions run deep and whose actions speak loudly. The book is well suited to her personality; fast-paced, engaging, and written in an enthusiastic tone that shows how deeply the writers felt about this project.

As with any book, Dead End Girl has its flaws. The small town setting leaves the story with an unfortunately squeamish cast and the while the quick pacing helps the story in many places, I felt like some plot points may have been rushed as a result.

Though I did have some small issues with the book, I can confidently say that the good far outweighed the bad.

The imagery was the distinct combination of gruesome and vivid that I have come to expect from anything written by McBain and Vargus. The characters were well-rounded, interesting, and full of surprises with interesting dynamics that kept the story fresh from start to finish. The plot was both compelling and unexpected with surprisingly emotional undertones that shine through brilliantly with each of Darger’s imperfections.

I would highly recommend Dead End Girl for anyone who enjoys action stories with a psychological edge and occasional bits of gore. This was yet another fascinating read from this writing team that I couldn’t put down until the very end.

I immensely enjoyed this, and I hope that you will as well.

You can find your own copy of the book here at Amazon, and check out my shorter, less detailed review of the book here.

-Cat

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