A CrimeReads Most Anticipated Book Of An Egomaniacal Movie Director, An Isolated Island, And A Decades Old Murder The Addictive New Novel From The Bestselling Author Of Dear Daughter Marissa Dahl, A Shy But Successful Film Editor, Travels To A Small Island Off The Coast Of Delaware To Work With The Legendary And Legendarily Demanding Director Tony Rees On A Feature Film With A Familiar LoglineSome Girl Dies It S Not Much To Go On, But The Specifics Don T Concern Marissa Whatever The Script Is, Her Job Is The Same She Ll Spend Her Days In The Editing Room, Doing What She Does Best Turning Pictures Into StoriesBut She Soon Discovers That On This Set, Nothing Is As It S Supposed To Be Or As It Seems There Are Rumors Of Accidents And Indiscretions, Of Burgeoning Scandals And Perilous Schemes Half The Crew Has Been Fired The Other Half Wants To Quit Even The Actors Have Figured Out Something Is Wrong And No One Seems To Know What Happened To The Editor She Was Hired To ReplaceThen She Meets The Intrepid And Incorrigible Teenage Girls Who Are Determined To Solve The Real Life Murder That Is The Movie S Central Subject, And Before Long, Marissa Is Drawn Into The Investigation HerselfThe Only Problem Is, The Killer May Still Be On The Loose And He Might Not Be FinishedA Wickedly Funny Exploration Of Our Cultural Addiction To Tales Of Murder And Mayhem And A Thrilling, Behind The Scenes Whodunit, Pretty As A Picture Is A Captivating Page Turner From One Of The Most Distinctive Voices In Crime Fiction 3.5 starsMarissa Dahl is a socially awkward but successful film editor in need of work now that she and her film partner are taking a break from each other When her agent tells her she s needed immediately for an interview, she s quick to respond and stunned to find a whole team of people waiting for her There s a huge project with big names that she can sign on for without seeing a script or knowing where she ll be traveling ahead of time.And so Marissa finds herself the new film editor of a true crime movie for legendary film director Tony Rees Filming is taking place on an isolated island off the coast of Delaware in the hotel where the actual murder of a young woman took place.As soon as she arrives, she hears rumors of multiple accidents and scandals on set Several crew members have been fired including the original editor and the actors are threatening to leave.Marissa is prepared to basically live in the editing room and get the job done but even she thinks the director s rules are a bit strict no one is supposed to talk with the locals about the case or ask questions about the accidents or lay offs on set.When the body of the lead actress is discovered on the beach, two teen girls hanging around the hotel are determined to solve both real life murder mysteries and pull Marissa into their investigation Marissa believes there must be a clue hidden in the movie that could help her identify the killer.Pretty as a Picture is an exciting whodunit alternating between Marissa s narrative and a podcast that helps move the story forward There is so much industry jargon, endless movie references quotes, and juicy behind the scenes scandals that true crime addicts will appreciate.Thanks to Viking and Edelweiss for providing a DRC in exchange for my honest review Pretty as a Picture is scheduled for release on February 25, 2020.For reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com Give me a movie and I ll find the meaning I ll find the truth I ll find the story Sometimes I ll find all three Meet Marissa Dahl, an endearing film editor, who might be perceiving the world slightly differently from you she is clearly on the spectrum and has to work very hard to survive in this world of human interactions, body language, smiles, jokes, irony, meaningful looks and silences Marissa is also brilliant at what she does She lives, feels and breathes movies She thinks in movie scenes They are her anchor in this ever changing mysterious world.When Marissa perceives Amy, her best friend film director she has been working close for a very long time with flatmate needs some time and space for her relationship with Josh, Marissa with her characteristic sensitivity moves out Now she needs to get a job as soon as possible and she can t be choosy Her agent arranges an interview during which Marissa is shown a still and is asked to analyse it Marissa correctly guesses it is from a true crime movie and is hired on the spot Normally she would ask for a script, but the director is so well known that she is willing to put up with a few eccentricities She is whisked away onto an isolated island where the actual crime occured The murder has remained unsolved Everything about this production feels wrong There is an ex SEAL who is providing security, nobody would talk about why the previous film editor was fired, and there are also weird accidents and mishaps Marissa starts investigating It s the same world as yours I just notice it differently I fell in love with Marissa and her quirky sense of humour The events are narrated from her point of view, so we get to know this kind and selfless character really well There are also excerpts from a hilarious true crime podcast which features interviews with secondary characters The podcast was created by Grace and Suzy two courageous and extremely creative teenage girls These aspiring detectives, who happen to be children of cooks working in the hotel production set, managed to do things even an experienced security professional couldn t have imagined were possible I love the way Marissa always behaved as a mature and responsible adult with them There are other fantastic secondary characters you will enjoy reading about, including the above mentioned ex SEAL.The book is full of names and movie references, but I didn t mind it at all For me, in a subtle or maybe not so subtle and ironic way, it mirrored the way Marissa navigates the world that keeps throwing information at her which everybody seems to know about and understand, while she needs to study it carefully before she can determine its relevance and significance.Without giving away too much of the story, it is also a brilliant exploration of authenticity and its role in our culture.Well written, fast paced, extremely entertaining, but also deep and thought provoking, Pretty as a Picture was a delight to read I will be looking forward to reading any future book written by Elizabeth Little and I wish this one all the success it deserves.Thank you to Edelweiss and Viking for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 because I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by Julia Whelan Action, cut, action, cut, action, cut, action, cut These aren t commands, not for me They re like everyday punctuation A capital letter A period An indication that I should pay attention to what s going on in the middle Pretty as a Picture tells a slow burn type of suspenseful story, one that I would definitely recommend to movie aficionados as this novel shines a light on the realities of the film industry from the demanding, if not downright tyrannical, directors and agents to the power dynamics and hierarchies that are at play in a film crew This behind the scenes setting is perhaps the most interesting and dazzling aspect of this book.Although there are certain elements within the narrative that would not be out of place in a thriller, Pretty as a Picture is above all a character driver story Marissa, our protagonist and narrator, makes this novel While she may initially strike readers as yet another introverted not like other people character who is later on reassured by others about her looks and personality Marissa not only experience things differently but others are aware of this and often make the point of commenting on it Her poor social skills, her ticks , her struggle to read or understand other people s tone of voice or body language, her dislike of physical contact.these all contribute to making small everyday things such any type of social interaction much harder for her Films help her navigate the world When she doesn t know what to do or say she turns to the films she s watched Sometimes she simply draws strength from the characters of her favourite movies, while on other occasions someone, something, or someplace might remind her of a certain film.When her best friend, and former creative partner, moves out of their apartment and with her douchey boyfriend, Marissa finds herself in need of an editing gig Her agent pushes into accepting an offer for a film based on a true murder case Marissa is told that the previous editor suddenly left so the director, Tony Rees, is desperate for someone to replace him Marissa is taken to a remote island where she unearths than one mystery from the dismissal of various members of staff to the growing tension between the people working on the filmsomething is afoot Marissa, alongside some new acquaintances, plays detective in order to find just what is going on this set.The murder aspect of the story kicks starts around the half way mark Before then we are introduced to the story s many characters and we get a chance to truly get to know Marissa The slow yet atmospheric start gives way to an increasingly urgent storyline There are some twists that are somewhat predictable but I still enjoyed seeing the way in which things unfolded.Marissa is a distinctive narrator Her interactions with others could be either funny, awkward, or tense, and I appreciated the way in which Elizabeth Little depicted her We read about her vulnerabilities, her strengths, and her quirks.The chemistry between Marissa and Isaiah adds a nice touch to the story Interspersed throughout Marissa s narrative are snippets from her a true crime podcast, Dead Ringer , run by two teenage girls who, like Marissa, are sleuths of sorts These sections give us glimpses of what is to come, without ever revealing too much Filled with cinematic references Pretty as a Picture offers a sharp commentary about the film industry, the dead girl trope, the way in which true crime glamorises death, as well as insight into someone who is labelled as different by their society.Overall, Pretty as a Picture was a thoroughly entertaining novel and I would definitely recommend this to those who enjoyed The Lost Night, books by Riley Sager, or Still Lives. I loved the author s first book, Dear Daughter, so I was super excited to see that she had a new one coming out It was definitely worth the wait The author manages to keep the things I loved about Dear Daughter the voice, the observations, the elements of celebrity while creating a completely different character in Marissa Dahl You get the sense that the author knows this world and is giving us an inside glimpse of a movie set and a really interesting mystery with some great twists. I was obsessed with Elizabeth Little s debut, DEAR DAUGHTER, and so I have been eagerly awaiting her next book I m pleased to report that it was everything I wanted it to be suspenseful, cinematic, and starring a snarky, sarcastic narrator I was hooked from the beginning, and couldn t put it down until I d finished reading the last twist. I couldn t put this book down Seriously I was in Hawaii and I basically missed the first day and a half because I was so wrapped up in Marissa Little s writing is that zippy, that good she grabs you from the first paragraph and Marissa is such a delight to spend time with even as she s investigating first a deeply f cked up movie set and later, murder There s an insider knowledge feel to everything to do with the movie business but you don t have to be In The Industry to get a kick out of Little s depictions of it and yet, she never skews into flat caricature God Buy this book Read this book It s so much fun. Marissa is a quirky, awkward film editor who is chosen to work on a movie with the famous director, Tony Rees It s based on a true crime that was never solved and part way through filming, the lead actress is also found dead Because the set is on a remote island, things get dicey as Tony has assigned security detail for Marissa and the others Scattered throughout are segments of a podcast that airs after the fact It s an interesting story with a lot of film jargon thrown in but you don t really need to understand it as the plot is clear.Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC Thank you to Viking Publishers for my ARC of this book I loved Dear Daughter so I was very excited to read Pretty As A Picture.I loved the unique structure of this book with the integration of the podcast It is perfect for anyone who loves true crime podcasts The protagonist was quirky and unique She seemed to be on the spectrum but that was never really explored, which was an interesting choice by the author.This book had a lot of the components that I really enjoy but unfortunately it did not hold my attention The Hollywood jargon weighed the book down Some of the descriptions of camera angles and Video Village and producer responsibilities etc felt superfluous and weighed the book down The characters quirks and nuances were not fleshed out as much as I would have wanted.I think this would make an enjoyable beach read for someone that has some background understanding of film making. Full disclosure Liz is a friend of mine, but I really loved this book and she d have my head if I sang false praises of her work I m just so, so happy to have new words from her Finished this one just now Lot s of people sound like lot s of people, but no one sounds like Liz Little So bitingly funny, on the one hand, but also so painfully true and close to the bone A Greek comedy in the old sense Boy, did I love this book. This beautifully bound, pristinely printed Advance Uncorrected Proof arrived courtesy of Viking, via Goodreads Giveaways with nary a fingerprint on its cover nor a corner dinged However, it smells freakin ghastly The musty, mildewy fetor of this poor volume makes me wonder in what century these were actually printed, and with what malodorous, decaying, organic matter they re sharing storage space Fortunately the contents sound much pleasant to read than they are to sniff, so I will happily dig into Pretty as a Picture after a suitable airing out and decontamination period.
- 352 pages
- Pretty as a Picture
- Elizabeth Little
- 10 June 2017 Elizabeth Little