BOOK REVIEW: #Murdertrending (Murdertrending #1) by Gretchen McNeil

BOOK REVIEW: #Murdertrending (Murdertrending #1) by Gretchen McNeil#Murdertrending (Murdertrending #1)
by Gretchen McNeil
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


WELCOME TO THE NEAR FUTURE, where good and honest 8/18 citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0.

When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of the app. Knowing hardened criminals are getting a taste of their own medicine in this place is one thing, but Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Can Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, prove she’s innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners kill them off one by one?

“Fifty million people are about to watch me die.”

From the very first line of this book, I was hooked. Two years ago, I read McNeil’s book Ten and was left underwhelmed. The plot was good (I know it was borrowed, but still), but was not impressed by the characters. There was marked improvement in the character development, which made me enjoy this book more.

If you are squeamish, I would not recommend this. While this a YA book, there are fairly graphic descriptions of death, starting with the very opening pages. I thought the opening chapter set the story up splendidly: Dee, our protagonist, has been convicted of her step-sister’s murder and has been dropped off onto Alcatraz, where she has been sentenced to death in a government-sanctioned murder reality show. Think Survivor + The Hunger Games = The Postman app.

But instead of being murdered in the first few minutes of her time on the island, Dee fights back and kills her would-be killer. From then on, she is left to survive on the island with a group of other convicted killers, while all the while trying to prove she is innocent. And on top of that, Dee is still dealing with PTSD from the time she was kidnapped and kept captive by a deranged girl a few years prior to the events of the book.

“‘I Scream’?” Dee said, reading the name of the shop. “You’ve got be kidding me.”
“You’ll find an abundance of dark humor on the island.”

While I liked Dee well enough, I thought the side characters and the world building were even better. Nyles, Griselda, Blair, Ethan and Mara were all great characters and I enjoyed getting to know more about them and their stories. I also thought McNeil did a great job setting up the game and the island. It was intricate, but not overly bogged in unnecessary details. I especially enjoyed the brief pages of the user board messages and the detail around the infamous killers who were hired to take out the inhabitants of the island (for the most views of course!).

So where did this fall a little short? As with McNeil’s other work, I found the romance shoe-horned into the story line a little bit. I don’t mind romance in perilous situations, but I never felt the spark to make me overcome the oddness of romance against the backdrop of the story. And while I enjoyed the characters and world-building, the writing was a little stilted and simplistic in nature. Also, the ending is bit a cliffhanger, although it appears the author has confirmed there will be a sequel.

I’m interested in where this is headed, especially how it was mostly wrapped up at the conclusion of this book. I’m also curious if the author will explore the fallout of these characters being forced to kill before they were killed themselves. It is briefly touched upon in the book, but because of the action leading up to the ending, it is moved to the back burner.

Had Dee, in some way, become a Painiac? The idea mad her breath catch in her chest. No! She wasn’t like them, would never be like them. She was fighting for survival. She was different.

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1 Comment

  1. Raven

    Nice review! I’ve heard of this book but I didn’t give it much thought! It really sounds like an interesting read. I’m glad you enjoyed it despite issues! I might give it a shot! :
    Raven recently posted…Monthly Wrap-Up | November [2018]My Profile

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