July 5, 2013

Cry Blue Murder - Kim Kane and Marion Roberts

Cry Blue Murder - Kim Kane and Marion Roberts
Cry Blue Murder by Kim Kane and Marion Roberts
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Publication Date: April 24, 2013
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks UQP!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Celia and Alice share everything – their secrets, hopes and the increasing horror that a killer is on the loose and abducting schoolgirls just like them. Three bodies have been found, each shrouded in hand-woven fabric. 

From within the depths of a police investigation, clues are starting to emerge. But as Alice and Celia discover the truth, danger is closer than anyone knows. Who can you trust at a time like this? (from Goodreads)

While thrillers are not my normal fare, this cover for Cry Blue Murder reeled me in with its mysterious, creepy vibe. Then, I came across a friend's review and decided that it might be worth a read. The story unsettled me as it laid out a web filled with deception as everyone attempts to unravel the truth behind this kidnapper/killer. Even though I quickly figured out what was what, the disturbing feeling lingered till the end. Cry Blue Murder effectively captures a series of events that could happen in real life. Thrilling, nerve-wracking, confusing, smart - the novel is really all these things and even a little bit more.

The unusual format is probably the first thing readers will notice going into the novel. Instead of going the traditional route, the novel employs the use of emails, news articles, police statements and records of police interviews to tell the story. It was certainly enjoyable to encounter these different tidbits mixed together, and it definitely kept me on my toes! I'm not certain that the mystery would have remained strong if the authors had used traditional writing to tell the story, so they definitely made the right choice.

The only disadvantage of the format, in my opinion, was that the story felt a bit impersonal. There was a decided lack of connection between me and the characters. This even includes Celia and Alice, though we learn little tidbits about them through their emails. 

Though I didn't personally relate to either, the authors were able to distinguish each girl's voice really well. It was great how they were able to make each girl's life quirky and interesting, filled with secondary characters and experiences. They were very different from another, which certainly served the purpose of making it easy to separate them.

In retrospect, the authors might have purposely distanced us from the story and characters in order to make the readers outside observers, instead of intimately involved with everything. I surprisingly really liked this, as it made me feel the way I do when I watch CSI - curious and determined to solve things before the CSI team does. I'm pleased to report that I was able to figure out an initial twist straight away, but I never did figure out anything about the killer!

The thing that will stay with me about this novel is it felt so real. These are things that could happen to you, or to someone you know in real life; in fact, they probably have happened (or some variation of them anyway). While it was a diverting read, I couldn't help thinking about the missing persons cases and kidnappings and serial killers who actually existed in the world. These things happen, and this book is just a realistic portrayal of them.

Cry Blue Murder was an engrossing read, and I finished it all in one day since I just had to know what happen next. The story, with its twists and turns, left me spooked, wary and slightly upset. (Bear in mind that I actually consider that a good thing, as I suppose that's the desired effect of a thriller.) The combination of unusual storytelling format and strong mystery will certainly appeal to most readers.


  1. I love this review. I came across this book a couple of months ago and was instantly drawn to it. I'm really glad to hear you liked it overall! Although I can understand how the emails and letters format could distance the reader a little emotionally, it sounds like an interesting approach and quite fitting for the story. I'll definitely have to give this a try one day. :) Great review, Alexa!

  2. This book sounds so dark and creepy! But it also sounds like I would love it! I'm definitely adding this book to my TBR list, thanks to your review! I'm interested to see how I like the untraditional way that the story is told, and I'm also curious to see if I will be able to figure out some twists and who the killer is before the end of the book! Great review!

  3. I had never heard of Cry Blue Murder prior to your review but I'm definitely interested in checking it out now! I love murder mysteries and thrillers, and I'm intrigued by the idea that it's told in an epistolary fashion through the use of emails, news articles, police reports, and other rather unusual communiqué. While it's unfortunate that you felt distanced from the characters, I'm happy to hear that this didn't hinder your overall enjoyment of the novel. This was a great review, Alexa! :)

  4. Eek this one sounds so creepy and the cover is creepy/neat! But it sounds like that's what they were going for! I love how you mention the format - sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I don't always love thriller-y types of books (they totally freak me out) but I'll keep this one on my radar. Love these thoughts, Alexa!

  5. OOOOO this sounds good, I like thrillers and mysteries although for the very longest time I told myself I was just not that into them. STRAIGHT UP I want to read this as you mentioned the real life aspect and how it made you think about those things -- and yo that makes my skin crawl which is kind of a cool reaction to have, ha ha.

  6. Wow, this sounds SO good! I'm pretty sure I would have picked this one up just based on its cover, no matter what it was about! I love the use of different formats to tell a story - email, IMs, etc - because they tell so much that the narrators cannot! Great review; definitely adding this one to the TBR list!

  7. Ooo I think I will like this one. I am intrigued by the way the story is told, I always like when authors add emails/letters/clippings/etc into the story. I don't know if I will like that a lot of the story is told this way but I guess we shall see. If it feels very real though I think I am going to get seriously freaked out. (I am pretty much already afraid of everything) but when I am in the mood for a good thriller I am definitely going to check this one out! Thanks for sharing, Alexa :D


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