Die deutsche Rezension gibt's hier
After her last adventure, Hartley started working for the school’s newspaper. It gets you some extra points and who couldn’t use them? Whether it’s a good thing she now also sees Chase on daily basis, she doesn’t know, yet. But never mind the (meaningless) kiss, she really need to try hard to get the good stories.
She probably didn’t think that this would lead to her solving a murder again. Actually, she was supposed to write about Sydney Sanders’ attempted cheating. Sydney agrees to give her an interview – to tell her whom she got the results for the test from? But instead of answers Hartley finds Sydney’s corpse in the pool; the police thinks it was suicide. Hartley disagrees – would Sydney really kill herself just before she was going to give an interview?
The young High School detective starts her investigations: who sells the answers and where do they get them from? Who murdered Sydney and why? And quite important, too: Was the kiss with Chase not that meaningless after all?
You’re officially allowed to jeer at me. I liked the first book, but hoped for some character development in “Social Suicide”. Not a chance! As it turned out, the second book is also the last book for now. Plus, there isn’t really anything new.
That does neither mean that there won’t be any more books with Hartley Featherstone nor that I disliked this one. Maybe Gemma Halliday decides to come back to those characters one day and if you ask me, I’d say there’s still something to tell. Besides, “Social Suicide” is a funny read; you just have to know what to expect.
The whole structure reminded me very much of “Deadly Cool”: the plot starts rather slowly, Hartley wants to get more information about something, then finds the corpse, isn’t exactly honest to the police and so on.
As already mentioned, there’s no character development, and even though I thought she learned from some of her mistakes I soon had to discover that I was wrong. Dear Hartleys out there in the world: I can see that a dark, abandoned place is perfect to meet someone you don’t want to be seen with and yes, sometimes you have to take the risk of going alone. But don’t go without anybody knowing about it! Someone needs to know where you are in order to call the police if you don’t report back in time or to tell them where they might have to look for you … you name it! That’s really not difficult to understand and if you do it right, you still can go alone.
There wasn’t even more going on with Chase, which was something I really hoped for. So it’s extra sad there aren’t going to be any more books for now. Never mind the plastic characters, I just love those two and could read a hundred pages about their banter. Things could have got really hilarious now but well; I’ve got my own imagination. Still, I’d have preferred a book.
To finally mention something entirely positive: I couldn’t guess the murderer. In Hartley’s first case, the riddle wasn’t hard to solve. If you thought about it there was only one option. This time that was different and we had several suspects with reason enough to kill Sydney Sands.
Add to that the easy writing style, the fact that Hartley fights for herself instead of only letting herself being rescued, and the protagonist’s humour, then you get a lot of fun that keeps you entertained for a while. There are books you have to say less about.
“Social Suicide” offers flat but nice entertainment you can enjoy best if you know what to expect. You won’t find character development, but great chemistry between Hartley and Chase, a not-so-foreseeable case and a lot of fun. If you want more, you better look for another book.