Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok
A YA murder mystery in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.
Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.
When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.
Paris, a young journalist woman with an interesting “gift”, a morgue, a mystery… all sound good to me!
The very first thing I have to say is that the Paris we are led to is very “period” accurate and I liked that. It was fun to read about references to things yet to come, and things that are already there. All of it made it more immersive.
The second thing is that for a mystery, this one definitely was. It kept me guessing over and over and over and I was never ahead of our heroine’s own discoveries. This is a little unusual, and I have to say it was a good thing. It didn’t leave me frustrated but more like “oh wow, I genuinely have no clue, but I need to know, please, let’s find out more”.
It also made me hungry and I want pain au chocolat in a quaint cafe while I write notes.
Natalie is a heroine with depth, and I don’t know if I would be okay with visiting the morgue to go looking at the corpses to “report” on them. That was interesting, because it gave a view on what could pass as entertainment. (I admit I find cemeteries interesting with the headstones and mausoleums, but I am not so sure about seeing the actual dead bodies).
It starts with one body and an accident that makes Natalie find out she can see what happened before the victim died, but she wonders if she hallucinated it or not. This gift she has, costs something, and it was something I liked. She can’t just plunge headlong and use it willy nilly, but instead has to consider the fact that it costs her something (won’t spoil what) and she can’t control that cost. Makes for a more complex conundrum, help solve this and sacrifice something or stay as I am but let this murderer get away with it? Tricky right?
It was a good book, and I just have to say that the last two pages completely confused me, but other than that, it was superb.