Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Buried: A Goth Girl Mystery (review)

3/5 stars

Buried: A Goth Girl Mystery is a spinoff series to Linda Joy Singleton's popular self-published The Seer series.  I enjoyed (didn't love, didn't dislike) the first book of The Seer but was never very motivated to continue.  So when I saw the e-galley for Buried I thought it was the perfect opportunity to give the author another try.  Singleton has published many books since Don't Die Dragonfly and I always like to see how the author has improved.

Unfortunately this book started strong then slowly unravelled.

Thorn aka Beth Anne is actually one of the more likable goths in YA literature.  Often I find them too stereotypical and just too overdone.  Thorn is a little more self-aware and a little less self-righteous.  She's a minister's daughter who loves her family, wants to please her parents but still wants to be different.  As far as fictional goths, she's atypical because for the most part she's a good kid.  But she isn't your typical minister's daughter.  She's a Finder, pretty much a low level psychic who has an uncanny ability to find things.

The problem with this book isn't the character.  It's the plot.  Though the book is supposed to be a mystery, very little time is spent on actual detective work.  Thorn finds a strange, rather ugly, locket that makes her Finder Senses start tingling.  It quickly leads her a dead baby buried in a shallow grave. It's a solid idea for a mystery, believable and creepy.

But too much of this book is spent on subplots.  There's a talent contest, with a guest judge famous popstar, that Thorn joins in order to investigate the participants.  Aside from asking someone for pictures and emailing her friend (Manny from The Seer) to do some research, Thorn does very little detective work.  Most of the book is spent on the Grinning Reaper, a high school prankster who seeks vengeance on bullies.  It's a fun little plot, but the book seemed to lose track of it's priorities.  Eventually the mystery is solved, though shoddily and more through mishap than any real detective work.

I can't say this book was terrible.  It was a fairly pleasant, light reading experience.  But I also can't say that it's very good.  It felt like the author had quite a few interesting story ideas and had trouble choosing which plotline to follow.

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