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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Review - This Book Kills by Ravena Guron

Review - This Book Kills by Ravena Guron

"I'll make it clear from the start: I did not kill Hugh Henry Van Boren.

 I didn't even help. Well, not intentionally."

When Hugh Henry Van Boren, one of the most popular and richest kids in Jess Choudhary's school, is found dead, the student body is left reeling and wondering who the murderer could be... Jess, a student under strict instructions to keep her record clean or risk losing her scholarship, finds herself at the centre of the investigation when it's revealed that Hugh died in the exact same way as a character in a short story she wrote.

And then Jess receives an anonymous text thanking her for the inspiration.

With time running out, Jess knows if she doesn't solve this mystery she'll finally have something in common with Hugh Henry.  

She'll be dead too.

A really gripping boarding school murder mystery full of entitlement, gossip, secret societies and threats. 

There's a really cool tone to This Book Kills. With it's sometimes larger than life, dramatic characters there's an almost light hearted feel to it. It's certainly not comic, this is after all a book about suspicion and murder, but just this sense that it doesn't take itself entirely seriously. It was a little reminiscent of the St Trinian's remakes or Riverdale at times, though definitely not as over the top as that got. I really enjoyed it, and it made a refreshing change to books like the Bayview books by Karen McManus (which I also love, but you want variety, right?)

I mean, there's a character called Clementine-Tangerine, because her parents own a fruit company. This isn't a dour, serious book at all!

It does have some serious things to say though. Wrapped up in a gripping murder mystery is a novel about wealth and the sense of entitlement that comes with it,. And something I haven't seen so much of previously is the sense of gratitude from those without entitlement. That "Aren't I lucky to just be here among them, and I'd better be extra good and careful" feeling that comes from Jess, the scholarship student at the incredibly privileged boarding school and our main character. As Jess is both from a working class background and from an Indian family, we get to see various prejudices in action. The "Where are you from?" "London." bit that established her ethnicity was very telling.

The mystery itself is great! There were so many different elements all tied up together that it was hard to work out what was connected to what and what was just a red herring. Usborne did a marketing thing where the book stopped and they encouraged you to email in your guess as to suspect, motive, etc. I did so, and I got the motive right, but the suspect wrong. Frustratingly I had it right earlier in the book and then changed my mind. But everything made sense after the reveal, and I was easily able to see how all the pieces fitted together and what I had missed. A very satisfying conclusion, which is what you need from a murder mystery. But there are also secret societies, pranks and forfeits, corruption and secrets, friendships and romance and it all makes for a thrilling mystery.


This Book Kills by Ravena Guron is published on 5th January 2023 by Usborne.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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