Beautiful clothes, bad habits, ugly secrets: Sherri L. Smith probes the vulnerable underbellies of a lot of toothy sharks in this page-turning California noir." E. Lockhart, "New York Times" bestselling author of"We Were Liars"
Bad things happen everywhere. Even in the land of sun and roses.
When Jude's best friend is found dead in a swimming pool, her family calls it an accident. Her friends call it suicide. But Jude calls it what it is: murder. And someone has to pay.
Now everyone is a suspect family and friends alike. And Jude is digging up the past like bones from a shallow grave. Anything to get closer to the truth. But that's the thing about secrets. Once they start turning up, nothing is sacred. And Jude's got a few skeletons of her own.
In a homage to the great noir stories of Los Angeles, award-winning author Sherri L. Smith's"Pasadena"is a tale of love, damage and salvation set against the backdrop of California's City of Roses. "From the Hardcover edition."
Published September 13th 2016 by Listening Library
Three and a half stars: A book with a biting, self deprecating main character, who is unafraid to expose the ugliness under all the glitz and glamour.
Jude is shocked to find herself returning back home to California to bury her best friend. How could Maggie Kim, a girl who was beautiful, smart and wealthy, and one who appeared to have it all kill herself? Jude doesn't believe that Maggie committed suicide, and she is determined to get to the bottom of her friend's death, even if it means exposing every ugly truth and detail, especially in the bright and pretty world of Pasadena, California. The deeper Jude digs, the more unsettling the mystery becomes. No secrets are safe and nothing is sacred when it comes to Jude's scrutiny. Bad things can happen anywhere, but Jude wants to know why Maggie killed herself. Can she find the truth?
What I Liked:
- Pasadena is a edgy and biting book with a heroine whom is unfiltered, nasty and unapologetic. This is a book that exposes all the ugliness under the glitz and glamour and the hard truths that lie beneath the facade. This is an unforgettable book that makes no apologies. If you like in your face narrators with bite, this is a book to try.
- It takes some time to get used to Jude's voice, but once you do, the book works. Jude is nasty and her words are harsh. In fact, most of the time she is a straight up bitch. She keeps her friends at arms length and she refuses to let anyone get too close. She is determined and unapologetic when it comes to hunting down the truth behind Maggie's death. However, deep down, there is a scared little girl hiding beneath the mean girl facade. Jude is self destructive and self deprecating, and with good reason as Jude has a few skeletons that fuel her rage. She requires patience, and you may never like her, but she is a character whom you won't forget.
- I enjoyed the mystery. This is a book that is full of secrets. Jude quickly learns she didn't know her best friend as well as she thought, and that everyone has something to hide. I liked that the tale moved back and forth in time, and that I got to know Maggie through Jude's memories. As the story unwinds, there are plenty of secrets and motives for Maggie's murder, but I wasn't prepared for the harsh truth. This is a book that kept me guessing up until the end.
- I loved that this book exposed the truth beneath all the glamour and that the author didn't romanticize the California lifestyle at all. In a world of wealth and privilege, there is plenty of ugly underneath.
- The ending was realistic and satisfying. Even though I wanted a more for Jude. I appreciated that the story stayed true to her character. There are no loose ends or nagging questions with the finale.
- I listened to the audiobook version narrated by Sherri Smith. Ms. Smith is brilliant as Jude. Her voice is edgy and biting, and perfect for Jude's character. I thought the audiobook was fantastic, and if you are interested in this one, I urge you to try the audiobook.
And The Not So Much:
- I think the biggest disappointment for me was that I wanted to see growth and maturity with Jude's character. I think she grew somewhat, but I still wasn't happy where she ended up. I am glad that everything didn't end up rainbows and roses because that would have been completely out of line with her character, but I did want to see her tentatively moving in a new direction.
- This is a book with an entire cast of unlikable characters. I didn't like anyone, except for Joey. It is hard to love a book when you can't stand any of the characters. Still the characters worked for the story because it was all about seeing the secrets beneath the phony facades.
- I was left with a couple of questions about Maggie's death. I understood the how and why, but I still wasn't satisfied with the explanation.
Pasadena was a riveting read. This is not a book for everyone as it is edgy and ugly at times, still I liked the honest, unapologetic tone and the exposure of the secrets and ugliness beneath the glamour and faux veneers. This book features a narrator with a bite, and one who is edgy and mean. I enjoyed the mystery and the story, even if I didn't like the characters. Read this for the writing and the mystery, but don't expect to love the characters.
I borrowed this book from the library. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.