Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne
Published by Sourcebooks Fire; July 2, 2013
Paperback, 262 pages
Received from publisher through NetGalley -- thanks!

They Said It Was An Accident...

Sawyer Dodd is a star athlete, a straight-A student, and the envy of every other girl who wants to date Kevin Anderson. When Kevin dies in a tragic car crash, Sawyer is stunned. Then she opens her locker to find a note:

You're welcome.

Someone saw what he did to her. Someone knows that Sawyer and Kevin weren't the perfect couple they seemed to be. And that someone—a killer—is now shadowing Sawyer's every move...

-Description from

I'm always looking for great thrillers to scare myself with at night and after reading the synopsis for Truly, Madly, Deadly, my hands were already shaking. Unfortunately, Truly, Madly, Deadly did not live up to its first impression. The book had a lot of potential but in the end, it fell flat.

Sawyer was a likeable character and you felt bad for the poor girl. She's adjusting to a new mom, a new house, a possible new sibling all while coping with the death of her boyfriend, Kevin. But at the same time, I felt like Sawyer lacked depth which made it hard for me to feel any emotion for her while reading. Of course, that most likely is a result of the third-person narrative which I don't think worked in the author's favour. 

As a reader, I'm never really ecstatic about reading a third-person narrative. I think this must be the third time I've said this this week but I"ll say it again: in order for a book to be good for me, I have to love the characters and be able to relate to them. Third-person creates a distance between me and the MC and obviously, it's harder for me to build a connection (though when it's used well, I'm a fan of third-person too!). For this book, I think the author chose to use third-person so that the reader is more like a spectator, watching the mystery unfold from the sidelines. Almost as if you were watching another episode of 48 Hours. It worked for me at the beginning - I thought that the emotionless writing added an eerie ambience to the book. As the story progressed, I needed more than just the mystery to propel the book. I needed emotion. If I'm not attached to Sawyer, why do I care if someone is ruining her life? And because this is a fictional character, I do not feel guilty or ashamed I said that. 

But I think it all comes down to one major aspect of the book: the mystery. I would have been fine with the detached narration and the ish characters if the mystery had been better done. The idea that someone is watching Sawyer and committing crimes that seemingly help her is incredibly intriguing. It has a lot of promise but unfortunately, execution wasn't strong. It didn't take me very long to figure out who could be committing these crimes - especially not after the You're Welcome note and a certain character's shifty behaviour in every single scene. 

Furthermore, the ending wasn't very strong either and left a lot of questions. In my opinion, the ending is one of the most important parts of a mystery. You really have to explain and wrap all the loose ends created during the middle. And that was another thing Truly, Madly, Deadly was lacking. I wanted to know how the crimes were committed in more detail than simply explaining what was used to kill the person. How did the killer manage to slip unseen and put these crimes into action? With the last crime, we weren't provided any information at all and that was the crime that was probably the hardest for the killer to execute. I would have at least liked to have known how the heck the killer was able to sneak in there unseen. Does he/she possess an Invisibility Cloak? Secondly, how did the killer manage to stalk Sawyer's every move without her knowing? Especially in the vast and empty neighbourhood Sawyer lives in. And really, I just don't understand why the killer did this. The end was just so out of character and it seemed like it came out of nowhere.

But despite all this, the book was pretty good. Even though the mystery wasn't too strong, I had a blast reading about all the crazy antics the killer was up to. The idea behind the story was interesting and I liked the character dynamics with each other. I wouldn't suggest this to a mystery fan but if you're interested for something to pass the time, this one is a great choice!


  1. Your analysis of third person in general and how it is used in this novel is great! I am with you on feeling more connected to first person in general, and I especially dislike third person omniscient because it never seems realistic that one person can see into everyone's mind. It can work, and I like how you described the way in initially affects the mood in this case, but I can see why you needed a bit more connection to care.

  2. I'm not crazy about the omniscient narrator either but in some cases, it can work! Like in the Harry Potter series, it worked really well especially in the later books where the stories of the characters became more entwined with each other. Thanks for stopping by, Emily!