Wednesday 27 June 2018

Book Review: Dead... If Only by Heather Haven

Last Updated: 19 July 2021

Dead If Only by Heather Haven book cover

AD* | A man who should be dead isn’t and Lee Alvarez’s very pregnant sister-in-law, Vicki, is about to be charged with a murder he recently committed in the Big Easy. Aided by the rest of the Alvarez Family, Palo Alto’s favourite P.I. kicks the Voodoo in the Who Do throughout New Orleans. With only three days to clear Vicki’s name, a child is kidnapped, two more people wind up dead, a hurricane hits, and the clock never stops ticking...

Dead... If Only is a fast-paced murder mystery set against the backdrop of class, wealth and status. It's unusual for a detective to be part of a whole crime-solving family, yet even more unique is the fact that said crime-solving family are extremely upper-class. 

This is the fourth book in the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery series and I do think the story could have done with a little more explanation for those (like me) who had not previously read the rest of the series to date. The feeling of being confused and left in the dark is the exact reason why I purposely make a conscious effort not to accept books from series for a review without having first read and enjoyed the rest of the series!

That issue aside, the story was quick and relentless, marching onward at a constant pace and barely giving you time to catch your breath before being thrown into another situation! From luxury fashion and opulent properties to hurricanes, voodoo and buried family secrets, Dead... If Only is certainly far from a boring read.

However, on a personal level, my biggest issue with the book was the main character. I found Lee to be pretentious, whiny and arrogant - not exactly the type of heroine you find yourself rooting for. Of course, the trope of the flawed anti-hero is not a new concept, but when your heroine has very few redeeming qualities (save love for her partner, her family and her pets) it can be hard to get fully invested in the story. Plus, that's not even mentioning her obsession with clothing - I don't know about you, but I signed up to read a murder mystery, not attend a fashion show!

On paper, the concept for the plot is pretty good, but when it comes to fleshing it out and making everything more three-dimensional, the reality is that there is just too much going on, not enough explanations and too many questions left unanswered.

In most cases, I usually do enjoy a good detective mystery story and I tried my hardest to like this one, but unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that it just wasn't for me in the end.

Rating: 2 stars

Dead... If Only is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Have you read the book? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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