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Book review: <i>Dead Like Me</i> by Kelly Miller

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the cover of the book

Kate Springer is trying to keep her own past under wraps and focus on the future. But her own face on a young victim brings everything flooding back. Can she solve the case and manage not to lose herself completely in the process?

The story

Detective Kate Springer is back to work after some mandatory gardening leave with her faithful partner Patrick by her side. Her first case: the body of a young girl has turned up strangled in the yard of an empty house. While the circumstance is heartbreaking enough, the resemblance between the dead girl and Kate Springer at age thirteen is striking enough to Kate that she is thrown off-balance and far back into the past.

As Kate's past threatens to overtake her, she isn't performing at work the way she needs to be. But it the connection between Kate's past and Kate's current case not all in her imagination? Is it possible that Kate is the only person who can solve the crime, based on her past?

The style

The actual plot behind Dead Like Me is a cracker. There's a lot going on, it's pacey, and there are the classic feints and double-feints so well-loved in television police dramas. It's basically textbook, which isn't a bad thing at all when it comes to crime fiction. Furthermore, Law and Order SVU must be kicking themselves they thought of this one. It's compelling and twisty.

Much of the plot is based on the past and present of Kate Springer, and her character is integral to the story. She's a straight-talkin', hard-hittin', toughie, and to be honest, I wouldn't have liked her much if it wasn't for the way her back story goes towards explaining why she's like that. I felt empathetic towards her when her past was revealed, and who am I to criticise how somebody who underwent a traumatic experience behaves? The character is overly abrupt, and she and I wouldn't be friends, but the reason why is adequately explained. Also, it's kind of interesting, when you don't really like the protagonist but feel like maybe you should because she's had a rough time. It's kind of like... you know... real life.

I read this book so fast it would make your head spin. It sure is a page turner.

Who is this book for?

Do you love crime fiction. No wait. Do you love TV crime like Law and Order Special Victims Unit? Of course you do. It's a guilty pleasure but a pleasure none the less. Don't thank me, I didn't write it.

If you like this book, you would also like...

Guys, crime fiction is a MASSIVE MASSIVE GENRE. The last one I compared to Law and Order was Keep No Secrets by Julie Compton.

In short

Title: Dead Like Me
Author: Kelly Miller
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
ISBN: 978-1-61296-150-7
Year published: 2012
Pages: 225
Genre(s): Crime fiction
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