2015 reading challenge, Books

Book challenge #18: A book based entirely on its cover

Dead Star Island, Andrew Shantos

I was sent a review copy of Dead Star Island by the author’s publicist, ahead of its release later this month (25/6/15).

Sixteen superstars the world thinks are dead.

One killer, determined to finish the job.

When I was at school, for reasons since lost to the mists of time, my English teacher lent me a few Christopher Brookmyre novels. Be My Enemy (or: Fuck This For A Game Of Soldiers) stuck with me in particular – a corporate paintballing retreat goes horribly wrong.

Almost immediately, reading Dead Star Island, I was reminded of Brookmyre’s novels. It’s been a long time since I read any of them, but there was definitely something there. And then, later on, I decided it was also quite like the BBC show Death In Paradise, but less… well, annoying. And a with hefty dose of wacky conspiracy theory.

Sixteen celebrities – including Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, and Marilyn Monroe – have faked their own deaths, and moved to a secret island, where their every need is met. It’s paradise. Except that people keep dying. Murdered, in the same way that they pretended to have died years before. So Gunzabo, retired police detective, tennis coach, one-armed alcoholic, is brought in to solve the mystery. He is grumpy and demanding and not having the best time, and he also has a talking pet ferret (which might be an ongoing hallucination, I’m not really sure).

I found some of the speech and prose a little stilted, but that’s just my preference. I did struggle with the fact that the stars are only ever referred to by their first names, which made it difficult for me (some of them, I simply had no idea who they were) but probably someone a little older than me, or with a better working knowledge of dead celebrities, would recognise them more easily.

But overall it’s fun, and clever, and very original, and would be an enjoyable holiday read.

Other categories that Dead Star Island fits into: a book published this year, a funny book, a mystery or thriller, a book set in a different country, a book by an author you’ve never read before


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