It took me a while to get into The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox, and I think this is mostly due to how little connection I felt with the main character Charlotte. I spent a good portion of the book trying to figure out if it’s because we weren’t given a chance to get to know her prior to the circumstance she found herself in—because the book pretty much commences from the moment she dies—or if it’s just that she wasn’t very likable to begin with. Even as the book progressed, there wasn’t really much character development from her either. And around that, the ‘wit’ tossed in throughout the story just fell a little flat, for me. I mean, it was there—the humour was definitely there in an ironic kind of way—but I just didn’t click with it and it ended up being more irksome than funny, which created an even bigger barrier against that reader-MC connection I always need when reading.
That said, I continued reading, and whilst it might sound above like I hated it, I actually didn’t. Because there are other characters besides Charlotte for the reader to connect with. And there are other factors that hold the readers interest.
For one, I liked how the perfect portrait was painted of David, the solemn and grieving boyfriend left behind by a very dead Charlotte. And I liked the subtle shift of information and glimpses we get of him, and how it slowly unfolds that he’s not as awesome as Charlotte, or the reader, thinks.
I like the other three girls in the ‘Agency’. They all have such differing personalities, and those all shone through really well. And whilst I didn’t love Tess as a ‘person’, her character was still well portrayed.
Not to mention Edison. He’s the spanner in the works. He’s everything Charlotte shouldn’t and doesn’t want in a boy, and yet he’s there whether she likes it or not. I’ll admit, I’m a little tired of the old ‘spark of electricity on first contact’ deal that way too many books now have in them, and that irked me in here a little, but we’re definitely given more on which the grounds for their ‘relationship’ (if it can even be called that) can be built. I also liked how we are left wondering if there’s more to Ed than meets the eye, or if he was up to something, if he could be trusted—and whilst I had my suspicions, I was still disappointed in him, though at the same time felt sorry enough for him to hope he redeems himself in the next book.
Okay, onto the plot and the story as a whole. The plot in itself was actually kind of cool. Girl dies. Girl has to solve her murder before she can ‘move on’. It had the potential to be all shades of awesome. And whilst it wasn’t naff, the concept wasn’t pushed wholly into the spotlight to shine, either.
On top of that, I think a lot of the book was spread out much more than it needed to be, and it slowed the pace down a lot. I thought David’s character development post-Charlotte-death was fairly ridiculous and unbelievable. And I thought the murderer was even more unbelievable and, quite frankly, a bit silly.
That said, I also think this entire book is meant to be taken as a little tongue in cheek, and it’s not meant to be treated as serious murder-solving tale of whodunit.
Not to mention, I read to the end—which I don’t if I’m not enjoying—and so it deserves credit for that. Plus, I have book 2: Dead Girls Walking, and I fully intend to head in soon and find out the deal of Ed’s and Charlotte’s future—so I guess it deserves credit for having done its job.
In other words: I’m interested. So maybe you will be, too.