Deadly Cool (Goodreads | Amazon) is the type of read you need sometimes. It's a fun, girl-solving-mystery story that's not trying to be anything else. It's good, solid, reading fun without pretense.
I have a love/hate relationship with teen detective novels. I always want to love them, but often the reasons they don't call the cops or try to solve the crimes themselves is so completely illogical that I find myself banging my head against the wall. Where so many books fail, Deadly Cool doesn't. When Hartley discovers, the "virgin" queen of the Color Guard dead in her boyfriends closet her first reaction is to call the police. She doesn't dawdle or debate what to do, but runs out of the house and dials 911.
Hartley doesn't want to be Nancy Drew, but when it becomes clear that the cops have focused on her now-ex-boyfriend as the only possible subject and he turns to her for help, she stumbles into teenage detective work. While Josh may be many things, mostly a cheating asshole, he isn't a murderer and Hartley is determined to help him uncover the real killer.
"Holy effing crap that sucks!"The teen-speak is cute and clever, but sometimes a tad much. Overall I like the voice but could've done without the text-speak. Sometimes there is such a thing as too much realism. This book toes the line but does it with enough humor that I can forgive the occasional text message spelling. For the most part Hartley is a smart heroine but near the end, she does behave stupidly, putting herself in the position of heroine-in-danger. But I've never met a teenager who didn't act rash and daft at times, so it's easy to forgive.
I turn to her, "Effing?"
Sam shrugged. "What?"
"We're censoring now?"
"Kyle says I have a mouth like a trucker."
"You do have a mouth like a trucker. It's one of the things I love best about you."
"Kyle says it's not very feminine."
I rolled my eyes towards the ceiling, "Yeah, I'd be taking femininity tips from a guy who lives in his football jersey."
Deadly Cool is a fun, quick read and sometimes that's exactly what you need. If you're looking for a book with a sense of humor, a girl detective and a bit of adventure, I recommend this book.
On an unrelated story note, I'm somewhat bothered by the fact that the mother is one of those "health food nuts" gluten-free types. As someone who is gluten intolerant (not celiacs, thank goodness), if you're going to have the mother be gluten free could you at least make it so that she's not the stereotypical yoga, soy, health-food fanatic, but someone with actual Celiacs disease? You see, us GF people get mocked a lot on TV and morning shows, so we're a tad bit sensitive of that particular portrayal. *steps off soapbox*