Thursday 30 June 2016

REVIEW: Mercedes M. Yardley - Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Publication Date: 4th March 2016
Pages: 280


A copy of Pretty Little Dead Things was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the publishers, Crystal Lake Publishing, in return for an honest review. This is said review.

In writing book reviews, I have made a solemn vow to never give any spoilers. No plot reveals or important, hidden character traits that drive the story. I rarely check out book reviews myself for the simple reason that I want to read the story myself and be surprised. I will, however, tell you my thoughts on the book and how it made me feel. I will discuss the writing style and do my best to persuade you to read it if I feel it’s worthy of such praise. If not, I won’t harp on the negative aspects to try and belittle the author as is done in social media too often these days...

The particular book I am discussing here, this singular experience of comforting horror unfolded with each word in an agonizing beauty of anticipation. From the first sentence of Pretty Little Dead Girls, Mercedes M Yardley announced the story would be painful. In a handful of perfectly chosen words, she announced plainly how scorchingly sad the pages ahead were going to be. In order to prepare myself, I read and re-read the first line over and again for two days before continuing on into the rest of the book. What I wasn’t, what I couldn’t be prepared for, was how densely gorgeous her writing was.

Yardley tells you what to expect. She paints with a vibrant brush coating the words with lush colorful language. Her consistency throughout the entire book is breath-taking. It is remarkable to create such a unique stylistic tactic in and of itself, but that Yardley never once veers away from her technique brought me to tears on many occasions. I sat on the couch, my cheeks red and puffy, wiping the wetness on my forearms sleeved or not.

“Dad,” my son said. “Why are you crying?”

“It’s this book.” I held up the tablet and showed him the screen.

“Don’t read it anymore.” He snatched it from my hand. “I don’t want you to be sad.”

“It’s okay.” I laughed. “I’m not sad. The story is so beautiful.”

Too young to understand, he begrudgingly handed me back the Kindle Fire. This time he sat next to me while I read to make sure I was okay. What can I say? He’s a good egg, this kid.

From the first sentence of Pretty Little Dead Girls, you know something bad is going to happen. This is not a spoiler. It’s in the book itself. You know it will. It is mentioned quite often in fact. And yes, bad things do indeed happen. Some intensely terrible events that you’ll need to brace yourself for.

Make no mistake, this is a dark and deadly world between the covers. Inside, the darkness blossoms a romance that I wager is more beautiful than any Harlequin Trade Paperback you’ll find. With incredible skill, Yardley keeps the nuance in her turns of phrase without becoming heavy handed. A lesser writer could easily fall into such traps losing the dreamlike hypnotism.

Each time I stepped away from the book and returned to normal life, I’d find myself eagerly wishing to drop what I was doing and escape back into the story and its magnificent wordplay. If you can’t tell, I love to read. I always have several books going at once. But there are times, however rare, when my eyes refuse to focus on any book save one. Pretty Little Dead Girls was most definitely one of those times.

I had heard the name Mercedes M Yardley before. I regret not having picked up one of her books before. I am thrilled by the possibilities of what wonders are in store for me in her previous work. And I am more than envious of you with the opportunity to read Pretty Little Dead Things for the first time. Be warned, bad things will happen. Beautiful bad things.

Alex's rating:


Reviewed by Alex Kimmell.

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Pretty Little Dead Girls or any other books from Mercedes. This not only supports us but also lets us know how many people actually like to buy books after reading our reviews.


Book Synopsis:

BRYONY ADAMS IS DESTINED TO BE MURDERED, but fortunately Fate has terrible marksmanship. In order to survive, she must run as far and as fast as she can. After arriving in Seattle, Bryony befriends a tortured musician, a market fish-thrower, and a starry-eyed hero who is secretly a serial killer bent on fulfilling Bryony’s dark destiny.

Mercedes M. Yardley’s Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy is a dark, lovely fairy tale with lyrical language and a high body count. It features a cover by Hugo Award Winner GALEN DARA.

Hi. I’m Mercedes. I have two broken laptops, three kids, a husband and no time to write, although I try my very best. I like to write stories. I like to write poems. I like to write essays and sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they aren’t.

I know how to throw a tomahawk and I wear red corduroys because they make me happy. That’s also why I write: I like being happy.

And for about Mercedes, visit her site or find her on social media:

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