Kirsty Manners is young, beautiful and trying to make it as a model. As the in-house model for the Ivano King fashion house and girlfriend of Ian King, the man behind the label, she believes she is well on her way. But Kirsty is found dead in her flat one Sunday afternoon and D.I.Angela Costello is called to the scene. At first enquiries centre on the local gym where Kirsty, her dangerous ex-boyfriend, Darren Carpenter, and her jealous flatmate, Sandra Hodges, worked out. But things are more complicated. Ian King is considered to have lost his edge. Why then is he so buoyant about his latest collection for London Fashion Week? What about his new girlfriend, Eleanor Chandler, who openly admits to having a reason to wish Kirsty dead? Behind the gleaming smiles and flawless make-up of the glamorous fashion world, Angela’s enquiries uncover theft, drug-addiction, prostitution and imprisonment – and suddenly her own life could be in danger . . .
D.I Angela Costello seems to have her work cut out when twenty three year old Kirsty Manners is found murdered. The list of suspects is a long one, as Kirsty was not the most liked of employees at the Ivano King fashion house. Although she was employed there as a mere assistant, Kirsty has much higher expectations for herself and dreamed of being a model. It soon seems she was willing to do anything to get to where she wanted to be.
Just some of those in the frame include Kirsty’s employer and head of the fashion house, Ian King, (who she was also having a relationship was) Ian’s business partner (who Kirsty once also had a fling with) and Kirsty’s long suffering on-off boyfriend, Darren…and that’s just for starters.
However, as more secrets are revealed the plot seems to thicken and takes one or two surprising turns which keep you guessing right up until the very end.
I was really excited about reading Dead Gorgeous. Described as ‘crime meets chick lit’ it sounded ideal for me. The synopsis has me hooked right from the off; fashion, murder, mystery and plenty of nail biting moments…What’s not to like?
From reading the Prologue I wasn’t sure how I was going to find Dead Gorgeous. It took me a while to get my head around that part because it launches right into a story that you know nothing about and you don’t know who any of the characters are.
However, as soon as Kirsty is murdered and the investigation begins that’s when the story really gripped me. I had no clue who was behind the murder and I remained that way throughout the book, which is a must for me. It’s no fun if you work it out too soon, maybe some super-crime fanatics could work it out but I, for one, was stumped.
The story was unpredictable and takes you on plenty of twists and turns as various things are revealed throughout the investigation (and yes, the prologue does then make more sense!) There is another sub-plot running alongside Kirsty’s murder involving a European girl who seems to be being held in a house against her will. At first I wasn’t sure how everything fitted together, but there comes a point where everything clicks and adds up.
None of the characters were very likeable, but then they are all potential murderers so I suppose that’s to be expected! D.I Angela Costello made for an interesting lead character (and one person who I did quite like…) You get to see a more sensitive side to her in her home life as she battles with insecurities such as her step-daughter moving in, but then you get to see her more confident side as she works her magic on the investigation. I thought the work/life balance for Angela in the story was perfect and I loved the working relationship she has with her colleagues and the banter that they shared.
For anyone who enjoys reading what I like to call ‘nice’ murders (meaning no blood, gore, excessive violence etc) then Dead Gorgeous will be a perfect read for you. It’s completely absorbing, and will have you tearing at the pages to find out what happens. I always find the endings of crime books to be make or break with regards to the whole story; sometimes you can have the most fantastic plot which is ruined by an odd ending, but with Dead Gorgeous the ending was tense and satisfying. Dead Gorgeous is actually the second murder mystery for D.I Costello (the first being Game, Set and Murder) and I can’t wait to discover more from Elizabeth Flynn. You can also easily read Dead Gorgeous as a standalone novel, which I did.
All in all this was an absorbing, page turner of a novel, with a good solid plot. You can’t help but be drawn into the story and you won’t be willing to put it down until you know “who dunnit”…
A huge thank you to Rhoda, Lion Fiction and Elizabeth Flynn for including me as part of the Dead Gorgeous Blog Tour and providing me with a copy to read and review.
Check out the other fantastic blogs taking part…
To celebrate the release of Dead Gorgeous, the first book in the D.I Costello series is on offer for just 99p! Click here to grab your copy, quick, quick, QUICK!
Elizabeth Flynn is a Londoner of Anglo-Irish parentage. An ex-actress, she currently works in a hospital. However she has always written and has a particular interest in crime fiction. For several years she has also been a keen tennis fan and is very happy that her first novel is a murder mystery set in the tennis world.
Her second ‘D.I.Costello’ investigation, Dead Gorgeous, due to be published in October 2014, is set in the fashion industry. In the high-profile, glamorous surroundings of this world it isn’t long before Angela Costello discovers a much less beautiful underbelly involving drugs, fraud and sexual slavery. Unravelling the mystery puts even her own life in danger.