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Book Review: Dead Time by Anne Cassidy

9781408815502 Book Review: Dead Time by Anne Cassidy

'One day, after school, a group of my school friends and I were waiting for the train at Camberwell station. The girls from my school were huddled together, gigglingly pretending not to notice the boys from the local high school. But it was hard not to notice when one of them nonchalantly pulled out a knife and began jokingly waving it about.'We were fortunate that the boy in question was more interested in big-noting himself than actually getting violent, but I still recall that moment with striking clarity.

Like I was, Rose Smith, protagonist of Anne Cassidys'Dead Time, is a private school girl unused to the jostling ways and posturing toughness of the local co-ed school. Unlike me, however, Rose has been thrust into its midst as a transfer student, and the dissimilarities continue from there. While my parents are merely separated, Roses have disappeared entirely. And where all I saw on the train station that day was a kid fancying himself as a hard man, Rose has witnessed a murder.

Rose, however, is no stranger to death: the likely death of her mother and step-father, who have been missing for years, has long been playing on her mind. Since then, Rose has utterly closed herself off to the idea of loss, seeing such things as a personal weakness: shes affected a tough, almost callously cool image. But there is one weakness in Roses armour, and thats her step-brother Joshua, whos recently come back on the scene and who is determined to finally uncover the truth behind the disappearance of their parents. And so Rose finds herself attempting to deal with Joshuas decision to reopen the wound that Rose has been avoiding all of these years, but worse, she finds herself a suspect in the murders of two of the students at her new high school.

Dead Time is one of the few young adult mysteries Ive come across in some time that doesnt have a paranormal element to it, although for some reason I was expecting oneperhaps the slightly ghostly looking cover led me astray. Its also a strangely circuitous read, and I cant say that I was satisfied by what transpires. Rose is painted as an unlikeable character, something that of course affects a readers enjoyment of a book, but her'prickly, taciturn character also results in the book becoming almost tiresomely circumspect.'Her propensity to ignore people or avoid discussing things with them means that theres an ongoing repetition of the interrogative elementsand to be honest, for the majority of the book it feels that things are inching along at the pace of a particularly slow, unpersonable snail.'Random note: this is also the second book Ive read this week thats used the trope of butterfly tattoos.

The plot, too, is circuitous, but in a way thats more unfocused than intriguing. The murder Rose witnesses, for example, quickly sinks into the background as we become privy to additional layers of mystery and intrigue involving cover-ups, assumed identities, and convenient emails and bits of evident cropping up from the past, and by the end of the book its difficult to say what the intended main focus of the book. I was dissatisfied with the resolution of the murders of Roses school peers, and with the resolution of the book overall: its hard to see this book as much more than a springboard into the rest of the series.

Cassidys characterisation, however, helps salvage what is otherwise a flat, dull read, and Rose, while difficult to like, is well fleshed-out and believable. Even the minor characters are given the space they need to become more than names on a page, and the reader does get a good sense of the class divide thats part of what separates Rose from those around her. Still, unless Rose grows to be a more sympathetic character, I cant see myself enjoying further books in this series.'

Rating: star Book Review: Dead Time by Anne Cassidystar Book Review: Dead Time by Anne Cassidyblankstar Book Review: Dead Time by Anne Cassidyblankstar Book Review: Dead Time by Anne Cassidyblankstar Book Review: Dead Time by Anne Cassidy (okay)

With thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for the review copy

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Other books by Anne Cassidy:

Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy  Book Review: Dead Time by Anne CassidyGetting Away with It by Anne Cassidy Book Review: Dead Time by Anne CassidyInnocent by Anne Cassidy Book Review: Dead Time by Anne CassidyHeart Burn by Anne Cassidy Book Review: Dead Time by Anne Cassidy

The'Dead Time trailer:

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  1. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out /

    I have to agree Stephanie, I really didnt like Rose much at all though I liked the plot a little more than you.

    • Stephanie /

      Its a tough job to write a character whos unsympathetic, and though I did appreciate Roses depth, I just found her so hard to relate to.

      I liked each of the two main plots on their own, but together I thought that they were a bit mind-boggling. Perhaps its also because Id just read Harlan Cobens Shelter, which is amazingly similar. (Strange how I keep managing to pair up my reading in this way!)

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