Title: Deadly Cool
Author: Gemma Halliday
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren’t enough, now he’s depending on Hartley to clear his name. But as much as Hartley wouldn’t mind seeing him squirm, she knows he’s innocent, and she’s the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school’s resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer’s next victim.
Review: I guess July of 2014 has been dubbed my 'murder-mystery' month. Wound up reading The Killing Woods first, and now Deadly Cool. (2 for 2!) What next?!
I'm a sucker for unique names and Hartley officially made it on my list. Being her age, I could easily slip into her shoes and launch into the investigation of the murder(s) myself. But let me tell you, she was one stubborn girl. Even when the police tried to convince her that 1) her ex-boyfriend was the killer and 2) let it go, she didn't. She stuck with her gut throughout the book and, by doing so, grew stronger.
Sam reminded me of my roommate from leadership school (and not because her name was Sam too). Despite how dangerous it was for Hartley to launch her own investigation, Sam stuck by her side and supported her without getting too involved. Sam was the comedic relief. While most of the story was focused on the murder investigation, Sam's typical teenage girl actions made me smile (along with Hartley's thoughts every once in a while). For example, her bird calls to warn Hartley that she was going to get caught were priceless. Hands down, my favorite scene involving the two best friends. (=
When I'm reading, I picture the characters as certain people, be it actors/actresses or my friends/family. Sometimes, I can never come up with a clear picture. Chase was one of those characters whose face just happened to be a blur. One moment I thought he could be like Ansel Elgort and the other I had no idea. Without having a clear image, I found it hard connecting with Chase. But have no fear! His character was the yin to Hartley's yang - in other words, they were the perfect team. Hartley wanted to prove that her cheating ex-boyfriend was not guilty and he wanted a lavish murder story to print in the school newspaper. It was a win-win situation! Maybe...
At this point, you might be wondering what the 2 for 2 thing was about in the beginning. It's simple really. Deadly Cool hit the mother lode! The feeling of not knowing who exactly the killer was (maybe Josh, maybe Chase, maybe someone else) until the end of the book gave me a rush that wouldn't let me put the book down. Although I think that Hartley's story would be the perfect standalone, I'm very interested in picking up a copy of Social Suicide - an act that other readers who enjoy Deadly Cool will wind up doing as well...