Although this book has been on my shelf for a while, I didn’t start reading Gemma Halliday’s Deadly Cool until earlier this week. I picked it up because I was growing frustrated with Reached (which I did eventually get into), and I needed something that wasn’t terribly deep to jump-start my reading progress. Deadly Cool definitely did that. Even though it is a murder mystery, this book also serves as a bit of brain candy. Yes, you’re trying to put together clues along with the main character, but Deadly Cool is also about the woes of a modern high school girl. (Of course, most teen girls don’t have to worry about finding a body in the closet of their cheating scumbag boyfriend.)
Hartley, the book’s main character, has a totally believable voice (even if the situations she finds herself in are kind of out there), and, though her current circumstances are somewhat less than desirable, Hartley seems to keep her wits about her. She retains a bit of humor, and that is as refreshing as it is unexpected.
Hartley Featherstone thought her boyfriend was wonderful and completely devoted to her. Imagine her surprise when she realizes he’s been canoodling with Courtney Cline, the president of the Chastity Club. Hartley is spitting mad, and she decides to confront Josh at his house. Unfortunately, he’s not there…but someone is. Hartley, and her trusty BFF Sam, make a gruesome discovery when they open Josh’s closet. It’s none other than Courtney Cline herself…and she’s been strangled to death with a pair of iPod earbuds.
Of course, Hartley finds herself at the center of the investigation into Courtney’s death. Almost everyone seems to think that Josh is the killer. Everyone except Hartley. Sure, he cheated on her and is a world-class liar and butthead, but that doesn’t make him a killer. Does it? Hartley just needs to find a way to prove Josh’s innocence…and Josh, now on the run, is depending on Hartley to clear his name.
Hartley follows every lead she can in this case. Some the police know about, some they don’t. (It’s pretty easy to believe that the cops wouldn’t know all of the secrets, lies, and rumors that run rampant in a modern-day high school.) Hartley is assisted by her best friend and the enigmatic Chase, editor of the school’s online newspaper and oddly hot guy who lives next door to Josh. (How did she never notice this bad boy before? Yet another mystery.) Clues are coming at them from a variety of sources, and these amateur detectives will be led in some directions that are promising…and deadly.
When Hartley discovers another girl that’s been killed, she becomes even more determined to find out who the real killer is…before she’s the next victim. Who is committing these heinous crimes? Is the murderer right under her nose? Can Hartley get out of this nightmare with her wits–and her life–intact? Solve the mystery when you read Deadly Cool, the first book in a thrilling series by Gemma Halliday!
Deadly Cool is a really fast, fun read that I think a lot of mystery fans will enjoy. It’s a nice bit of fluff, but it still kept me on the edge of my seat. I had no idea who the real killer was until the very end of the book. (I had ideas on who it wasn’t, but I honestly didn’t see the truth of the killer’s identity–and the reasons for killing–until Hartley herself did.)
This book, in my opinion, would be fine for older middle school readers–and high school readers, especially females, will probably love it. There is some talk of sexual situations, but it’s not extremely blatant. Everything remains true to the tone of the book and is fairly true to life as well. Even the violence and descriptions of murders is understated.
I liked Deadly Cool so much that I just ordered the sequel, Social Suicide, from Amazon. (It was a bargain book–only $3.60!–and I think I got the last copy!) Hopefully, I’ll make time to read it as soon as it’s delivered to my house. The third book, Wicked Games, is supposed to be released sometime this year, but I couldn’t find anything official on Goodreads or Amazon. The author’s website wasn’t working today either, so that was a no-go for information on future books.