book review

I’ll Eat When I’m Dead by Barbara Bourland

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Release Date: May 18, 2017

When stylish Hillary Whitney dies alone in a locked, windowless conference room at the offices of high-concept magazine RAGE Fashion Book, her death is initially ruled an unfortunate side effect of the unrelenting pressure to be thin.

But two months later, a cryptic note in her handwriting ends up in the office of the NYPD and the case is reopened, leading Det. Mark Hutton straight into the glamorous life of hardworking RAGE editor Catherine Ono, who insists on joining the investigation. Surrounded by a supporting cast of party girls, Type A narcissists and half-dead socialites, Cat and her colleague Bess Bonner are determined to solve the case and achieve sartorial perfection. But their amateur detective work has disastrous results, and the two ingenues are caught in a web of drugs, sex, lies, and moisturizer that changes their lives forever.

3

*eARC provided by Quercus Books, the publisher, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.  

I was so excited to devour I’ll Eat When I’m Dead the moment I received it from NetGalley. The blurb looks good and the cover is enticing. A somewhat mysterious death in a fashion magazine office, a cryptic note and police investigation that includes beauty products. If this doesn’t catch your attention, I don’t know what will.  

Hillary Whitney, the 37-year-old woman fashion editor, died in her office at RAGE Fashion Book. It was ruled out as fatal coronary, the end-stage of starvation. After 2 months of her death, the good-looking detective Mark Hutton received a letter that was sent on the day that she died. It was sent to her brother which he then decided to send to the police since it looks like a clue. It is possible that there is more to Hillary’s death. Mark head on to investigate Hillary’s death and ended up in Catherine “Cat” Ono’s office in RAGE. Cat doesn’t believe that her friend died because she’s starving herself. They’ve known each other for a long time (since academy) and she knows Hillary is eating all right. She found an unnamed bottle of some organic stuff in Hillary’s handbag. She then decided to make her own investigation after the detective’s visit. It turns out that it is some sort of custom-made eye drop for Hillary to help her get the love of her life. But could that have something to do with her death? Cat and Bess, another friend of hers and Hillary from school and work tried to help to solve the case but things get out of hand and they ended up in jail.

I’ll Eat When I’m Dead is a satiric jab on the fashion industry. From thin models, glamorous party girls, the unbelievable amount the girls shed for their appearance, clothes, bags, shoes and the likes, up to the ethical fashion the magazine is trying to promote. It is a fun read though can be exhausting at times since it was more focused on the fashion world since I was expecting for more mystery. It started out good, however after all that’s in the blurb happened, I grew quite bored and struggled to finish it. But everything picks up again on the last part where another mysterious death happened and everything finally come to light. The plot and setting are sure interesting. The author is knowledgeable in the fashion industry, as she is a fashion columnist, and it evidently shows all over the story. From dropping brand names to how the magazine people aim for a job considered by some as glamorous, how the competition is stiff and how it can take a toll on a girl to stay on top. What I like is the author didn’t only glamorize her characters, although they’re all part of the rich crowd, even the detective. It also shows the other side: crazy parties, drug use, casual sex, anxiety and the pressure to be liked by others. Cat is an interesting main character, but my favorite character is Bess. She is just so chill about everything and yet so smart, too. Mark, another main, not so much. How can you like one girl and the next moment you are texting another girl for some casual sex? And how is he so clueless about a girl’s feelings about him? That’s why I don’t really dig the romance aspect on this one.   

Overall though, I still enjoyed this with its The Devil Wears Prada vibe but it was mainly because of the added mystery. Not your usual mystery story but still a nice change. A solid debut novel from Barbara Bourland. I’m pretty sure I’ll Eat When I’m Dead will appeal to fashion fans as there’s a lot of fashion stuff included.

RATING: 3.5/5

3andhalfhearts

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(*Photos and synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

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Purchase it on Amazon.co.uk: I’ll Eat When I’m Dead

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