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I'll Eat When I'm Dead by Barbara…
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I'll Eat When I'm Dead

by Barbara Bourland

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Did you like Sex and the City or/and The Devil Wears Prada, but thought it could have been better with some unexpected deaths? Then I'll Eat When I'm Dead by Barbara Bourland is a book for you. Personally do I not really care that much about fashion, but I liked the idea of the book. At first, I thought it would be some kind of locked room kind of murder, but the plot took a different route. Another thing that I thought of during the books progresses what how suitable the story is for today's nonstop celebrity attention. With mobile phones can you guaranty to always be watched even if your celebrity is because of, for instance, a jail stint.

Catherine "Cat" Ono and her friend and colleague Bess Bonner are shocked when Hillary Whitney is found dead, but this is only the start. Going through a bag Hillary left behind do they find a strange bottle. What is in the bottle? What they don't foresee is how their lives will change dramatically thanks to the small and insignificant bottle...

I'll Eat When I'm Dead is a book that I think will appeal to readers of fashion magazines or just like fashion. Personally did the book work on some level for me, but since I'm more likely to spend money on books than clothes were there moments in the book when my interested dwindled. I liked Cat and Bess enough to find their trials and tribulations interesting and I can understand how daunting it must be for them to be thrust into the limelight. But, when a little over half the book was done did I feel like the story started to slow down and I was thinking is this it? What happened to "the criminal" part of the story? Is the rest just about Cat and Bess suddenly famous? However, the story did pick up towards the end of the book and the turn into did make so much sense that I was astonished that I didn't see it coming earlier. But, I guess I was blindsided by all the fashion things going on.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Dec 10, 2017 |
Is it a murder mystery? No. Is it a fashion satire? No. Is it literary fiction with important truths about feminism in the workplace? No. It tries and fails to be all these things and it's just disappointing. ( )
  sparemethecensor | Jul 17, 2017 |
This novel has a bit of an identity crisis.

It opens with a classic whodunit scene: a woman is found dead in a locked, windowless room. Couldn't get any more classic than that. Add to that a cryptic note the victim wrote and mailed to herself, which may hold the key to her mystery. Throw in a hunky NYPD detective and a magazine staff full of women and you've got the makings of a great mystery.

The building full of women is where the second identity comes into play. The business at hand is a top-flight high-society fashion magazine, a cross between "Vogue" and "Town and Country." The women are all thin, gorgeous, dressed to the nines, fashion-conscious, ambitious, for the most part young, and on their way up the social ladder, or already there. The novel concentrates a lot of its pages delving into the behind-the-scenes business of these women, and their fabulous lives. This side of the book wants to be a "Devil Wears Prada" type of tell-all. In fact, the mystery really takes the way, way backseat to the glaring look at the lives and habits of the chic and famous, and the cutthroat and sometimes brutal world of women's fashion and women's magazines.

To be honest, the author's view of this world is also divided, but mostly loving. The author has a real and deep sense of what goes on in this world, a knack for explaining the day-to-day of getting an issue on the newsstand, and a love for it all. It's glamorous, yes, but also feels important, not only to the characters themselves, but to the narrator. Characters here are not the flighty airheads that supermodels are stereotyped as; here they're depicted as serious-minded for the most part, ambitious, realistic, and hard-working. The women in this world are all basically gold-hearted girls from other places, who have come to the big city to make their fortune, and make a difference in the world of fashion. They may have a slot in their Vuitton bags for a cocaine spoon, but they show up at their job the next day (albeit a little late) in perfect makeup, ready to choose more bracelets for the accessories shoot. Take the boarding house that Sigrid runs. Its inhabitants are all students or alums of a women's college, and two of the main characters, Bess and Cat, are alums who join them regularly for dinner. It's depicted as a sort of open sorority of women who care about each other, love to get high and laugh, commiserate about their day, and go party at night. It's ridiculously cutesy.

The relationships between the women are also seen, for the most part, as loving and nurturing. There's precious little backstabbing or undermining of one's peers or even competitors in this environment. These ladies are just good people. Cat, Bess, Sigrid, Lou, Hillary, Paula, Margot, and Molly, all have good natures and cheerful dispositions. However, their habits are self-destructive, unhealthy and illegal. They're cokeheads, and worse, stay up all hours at bars and clubs, make out with anyone who looks good, etc. This makes it hard for the reader to identify with and like these characters. Also, the author takes way too long to establish Cat as the main character. The first character's point of view that we share is actually Bess's, but the book caroms around to the POV of other women here, too. As I said, a bit of an identity crisis.

Hutton, the hunky NYPD detective, is also less than likable. He's got a sex-partner/friend who is in love with him, yet whom he seems to use and then discard. He's also way too stylish for a New York cop, dressing in Italian clothes. He is renovating his apartment, but hasn't bothered to unpack his boxes. He's not rich, but he lives in a pre-war apartment in hip Brooklyn. The relationship between him and Cat is a little flimsy, plot and feelings-wise.

The pacing of this book is glacial, for a murder mystery. The first 50 pages cover about a 2-day period. And then after a little action towards the middle, the author takes a major detour to describe how Cat and Bess become internet fashion superstars.

For fans of fashion, this book satisfies the sweet tooth.

Thank you to the author and publisher for a review copy. ( )
1 vote ChayaLovesToRead | Jun 21, 2017 |
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"When a note from Hillary Whitney lands on NYPD Detective Mark Hutton's desk two months after her funeral, he's convinced that the fashion director of iconoclastic magazine RAGE Fashion Book didn't merely starve to death. And once he begins investigating the circumstances surrounding her death and meets Catherine "Cat" Ono, a bizarre, brilliant, and beautiful editor, he can't let go of the case--and a world of intrigue awaits behind the perfectly primped and polished pages of this leading ladies' magazine."--… (more)

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