By Gretchen McNeil
“Kill. Post. Repeat.”
Warning- Very violent deaths and mentions of kidnapping, abuse, and sexual assault.
I’ve never read any of McNeil's books before, but after finishing #murdertrending, I am gnashing at the bit to get my grubby paws on her other books. Her writing style absolutely blew me away.
#murdertrending is set in a world where criminals who are sentenced to death are sent to an island prison called Alcatraz 2.0. Their life is streamed 24/7 on an app called The Postman, up to and including their inevitable death. The island features a rotating cast of killers, otherwise living ordinary lives, who snatch and kill inmates.
The book follows 17-year-old Dee Guerrera, who was framed for her stepsister Monica’s murder and sent to Alcatraz 2.0 with a laughable trial. We follow Dee as she navigates life on the seemingly picturesque island, along with her new friends, nicknamed ‘The Death Row Breakfast Club’. Dee defies odds at every turn, but her odds become slimmer and slimmer.
In the first pages, we see Dee wake up in a warehouse, dressed up as Cinderella, prepped to be killed by the killer ‘Prince Slycer’. Instead of running and begging for her life, she notices a mirror she can use to fight back and kills Slycer in a twist of fate. This was my first moment of awe in McNeil's writing. The pure determination of Dee shined through in such a way that you could feel it in your bones. There also was a strong sense of breaking the boundaries of femininity, as Dee was delicate yet brutal as she fought for her life.
As with almost all books with a female main character, there was a mandatory male love interest. But, unlike other books, this wasn’t just shoved into the plot like an afterthought. The relationship between Dee and Neil, a Brit who was on diplomatic immunity and was sent to show her around, was written well and wasn’t a whirlwind. Unlike others, the romance was basically in the trunk, and not commandeering the story.
As for gore, #murdertrending delivers all you could want and more. With brutal decapitations, torture, and drowning, anyone's lust for blood would be sated. If blood and gore triggers you, stay as far away from this book as you can.
Going into this book, I was skeptical, but it blew me away, to the point where I recommend it to anyone who likes murder mysteries. The summary on the book doesn’t do it justice, and right now, I’d say #murdertrending is my favorite book. If you like gore, murder mysteries, and/or bada** female characters, then #murdertrending is for you.
-Cheryl, New Reviewer
Hey, I’m Cheryl! I love reading, and I’ve been terrorizing my local librarians for over 10 years with my voracious appetite. My favorite genres of books are murder mysteries, historical fantasy (especially LGBTQIA+), LGBTQIA+, and very specific subsets of nonfiction books. Also, I’ll read any- and everything Leigh Bardugo, Daniel H. Wilson, Sam Kean, and Traci Chee release. I’m currently a sophomore and going through anywhere from 1-6 books a week, so I always welcome new book recommendations. If you ever need anything/wanna rave about a book with me, shoot Katy a message and they’ll send you my way.