Ms. Shaw Wolf excels at atmospheric tension, and the sense of impending disaster grows stronger with every chapter, making it difficult to put the book down. The premise is fascinating, and every clue the heroine uncovers leads to more mystery. Soon, the reader isn't sure if *any* of the characters are trustworthy, and the urge to scream at the heroine to just flee for her life is nearly impossible to ignore.
Creating an authentically detailed, fully realized setting is another of Ms. Shaw Wolf's strengths. The sensory detail and attention to setting served to create a vivid, realistic backdrop for the story. I especially loved the multi-cultural aspect to both the story and the setting. As someone who grew up in a town that employed migrant workers and had a vibrant Hispanic presence, every detail rang true for me.
The heroine is a character readers can relate to. She's an average teenage girl focused on the boy she has a crush on, the drama going on in her relationships, and the social hierarchy in town. Everything about her felt authentic, especially when she was thrust into extraordinary circumstances and had to continuously decide if chasing clues that might lead to her former best friend's killer was worth the increasing risk to her own life. This isn't a stock kickass-right-out-of-the-box heroine. This is a girl who is loyal but terrified, curious but naive, courageous but blind.
What Left Me Wanting More:
As much as I was able to connect with the heroine Jaycee, the other characters fell short for me. Especially the romance and a few other key relationships. I understood why those relationships were the way they were, and am fine with the reasons, but I wanted Jaycee to be a bit smarter and more observant than she was. However, I can honestly say that at Jaycee's age, I'd have been no more capable of figuring everyone out than she was.
At times the pacing felt a bit off, and that took away from the building tension, though it should be noted that I still couldn't put the book down.
In DEAD GIRLS DON'T LIE, Jennifer Shaw Wolf delivers another atmospheric mystery that will keep readers turning pages long into the night.