I have a gift. I see people as ghosts before they die.
Of course, it helps that I’m the one killing them.
The night after her father’s funeral, Claire meets Lucas in a bar. Lucas doesn’t know it, but it’s not a chance meeting. One thoughtless mistyped email has put him in the crosshairs of an extremely put-out serial killer. But before they make eye contact, before Claire lets him buy her a drink, even before she takes him home and carves him up into little pieces, something about that night is very wrong. Because someone is watching Claire. Someone who is about to discover her murderous little hobby.
The thing is, it’s not sensible to tangle with a part-time serial killer, even one who is distracted by attending a weekly bereavement support group and trying to get her art career off the ground. Let the games begin…
Dexter meets Killing Eve in this superb thriller, perfect for fans of How To Kill Your Family and My Sister the Serial Killer.
Hi and welcome to my review of You’d Look Better as a Ghost!
That cover does pop, doesn’t it! And the description, well. I knew I was a goner! I can never resist a serial killer thriller, and when the killer in question is female, that’s just the cherry on top.
You’d Look Better as a Ghost is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a dark but humorous thriller featuring a protagonist who might be described as a bit of a female Dexter. Dexter and his dark passenger only kill people whose crimes he feels deserve such a final and lethal punishment, and in You’d Look Better as a Ghost, Claire does the same. And she does so with panache. And most often, a hammer. (Although she might need to reassess her standards cos it really should take more than being an annoying parent who has a problem with camels, just saying 😬)
The blurb immediately reminded me of C.J. Skuse’s Sweetpea series. If you’re a fan of Sweetpea, picking up You’d Look Better as a Ghost is a no-brainer. I was afraid it might read like a bit of a carbon copy, but it really doesn’t. Claire is her own person and Joanna Wallace has her own writing style, which, by the way, I really enjoyed, so despite its similarities, this is a completely different book.
I loved many aspects of You’d Look Better as a Ghost, most notably Claire. I do love an acerbic, sarcastic main character. I had oodles of fun with her and her dry comments and her antics. And the story itself was rather twisty with various reveals that I did not anticipate and that kept up the pace and the tension. Surprisingly, there were also quite a few thought-provoking bits, it does pack a bit of an unexpected punch.
However, I did have a few minor niggles. The chapters that take the reader back in time to Claire’s childhood, her origin story if you will, are, to my mind, a bit of an exploration of nature vs. nurture, but in a manner that was a little too superficial for my tastes, and perhaps also too much of an obvious choice. Although I have to admit that they were fun to read, Claire as a kid was a hoot and a half and her mum a character I loved to hate, and I was terribly relieved that the most obvious option of all was not taken. I also wondered about some of the forensic evidence, but that’s probably just me having read too many police procedurals. And obviously, this isn’t one, and we don’t learn anything about any police investigation. But that didn’t stop me from considering gunshot residue, or lack thereof, and DNA, and fingerprints.
All in all, I think You’d Look Better as a Ghost is a story that you just need to enjoy while giving your inner armchair detective a bit of a rest. I found it very entertaining, it’s suspenseful and funny and if you’re looking for a serial killer thriller that will make you laugh as well as thrill you, you should definitely give You’d Look Better as a Ghost a go.
You’d Look Better as a Ghost is out on 21 September in digital formats, hardcover and audio, with the paperback to follow next year.
Many thanks to Viper Books and NetGalley for the digital ARC.