Title: As Good As Dead
Series: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #3
Author: Holly Jackson
Genre: YA, Mystery
Published: September 28th, 2021 (Delacorte Press)
Synopsis: Pip is about to head to college, but she is still haunted by the way her last investigation ended. She’s used to online death threats in the wake of her viral true-crime podcast, but she can’t help noticing an anonymous person who keeps asking her: Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears?
Soon the threats escalate and Pip realizes that someone is following her in real life. When she starts to find connections between her stalker and a local serial killer caught six years ago, she wonders if maybe the wrong man is behind bars.
Police refuse to act, so Pip has only one choice: find the suspect herself – or be the next victim. As the deadly game plays out, Pip discovers that everything in her small town is coming full circle… and if she doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears…
Pip is struggling with PTSD from the events of her last case and the way it ended. With the success of her podcast, Pip is no stranger to online threats, but she notices one repeated message from an anonymous sender that troubles her. She is weeks away from heading off to university when the threats escalate and strange things start to happen around her, Pip realizes that someone is stalking her in real life. So she does what she does best – investigate. But her findings lead her to the case of a local serial killer that was closed years ago with the culprit behind bars. An innocent man could be in prison, and if that’s true, Pip could be the killer’s next victim. The police aren’t inclined to help, so Pip is on her own yet again, and this time, it’s her own life on the line. As the situation grows more and more dangerous, it appears that her small town still has secrets to be revealed and this case is beginning to look like it ties back to her earlier investigations in the most unlikeliest of ways.
As Good As Dead has been one of the most anticipated books on my TBR this year and it did not disappoint. Having absolutely loved the first two books, I expected a thrilling story, another intricate mystery to be solved, and just an all round awesome read – it was all that and more, with plenty of twists and surprising reveals too. This book took some truly unexpected turns, and while I’m still conflicted about the change of direction in the narrative, I can definitely appreciate the masterful storytelling behind it. This was definitely the darkest, most complex book of the series and everything comes full circle as Pip’s investigation leads her back to the disappearance and murder of Andie Bell.
I love how the author has portrayed Pip’s state of mind after everything she has been through, not shying away from depicting her trauma or the extreme steps she has taken to deal with it and you can’t help but empathize with her. She is definitely not ok and it explains a lot of her reactions in this book. Pip has come a long way from the good girl who started looking into a case out of curiosity only to get in way over her head. I was extremely surprised by what she chose to do in this book, as given what we’ve seen of her in the past two books, it didn’t seem like something she was capable of. As Good As Dead turned Pip into a very morally gray character, forced to make some difficult decisions to protect herself. This was an unexpected and unforeseen twist in her character arc and it was beautifully handled with the tension in the second half of the book ratcheted up so high, it made it impossible to put down. And despite my misgivings about said twist, I couldn’t help but root for Pip even as I read through my fingers, wondering if she’d actually get away with it.
I went into this book exceedingly biased towards it and fully expected to finish reading this with an easy 5 star rating. And until about halfway through, that remained true. Spoilers ahead, skip the rest of this paragraph if you don’t want to know! The mystery ends halfway through the book and in a major plot twist, the story goes from ‘Let’s solve a mystery’ to ‘How to get away with murder’ as Pip attempts to pull off something seemingly impossible. That said, given Pip’s situation, I understand the direction this story took even if I don’t agree with it. I think it’s more the fact that this a novel in present day settings and hence very realistic which makes the moral dilemma worse – I daresay this plot wouldn’t bother me nearly as much in a fantasy novel. I can’t remember the last time I was so reluctant to lower the rating of a book, but in the interest of honest reviews, I’m knocking off half a star.
It’s very rare to see a series be consistently good throughout, but I am highly impressed with how admirably this series did so. This finale was an exhilarating read and a satisfying, roller-coaster of a conclusion to this series. I really can’t recommend it enough, and I hope that Holly Jackson writes many more mystery novels in the future. Definitely a must read for any thriller or mystery fan!
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: