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Værker af Catherine Mack

Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies (2024) 119 eksemplarer, 22 anmeldelser

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The cover and the blurb set my expectations as: Beach-Read, Cosy-Mystery, Book-About-Books, with snarky humour from a strong female character in a glamorous location. It delivered all of that and in style but I was delighted to find that it went further by doing clever things with form and narrative that hooked me into the story and made me smile.

'Every Time I Go On Vacation, Someone Dies' has a decent murder mystery plot, a rising body count and a rich suspect pool, all set in Italian tourist hotspots. Eleanor Dash, the main character, had a satisfyingly complex backstory and a relationship with her younger sister that felt real to me. The novel is also rich in humour, much of it at the expense of the publishing industry and the behaviour of writers, readers and the kind of devoted fans who have t-shirts made with their favourite author's book covers on them.

All of that made it good fun but what made it stand out for me was the innovative storytelling approach. The whole novel is written as a direct address to the reader from Eleanor Dash.

What's innovative about that?

Well, what starts off as a fairly conventional first-person interior monologue develops into a conversation with four layers to it. The main layer is the interior monologue which provides a real-time account, written up by Eleanor Dash after the event but in which she DOESN'T know what happens next. This is supplemented by footnotes written by Eleanor Dash and used to add details, commentary and cultural references, all of which show that she DOES know what happens next. The third layer is a set of publishing-related materials that Eleanor intersperses throughout the narrative. These vary from a New York Times interview entitled "Ten Years, Ten Books - What's Next For Eleanor Dash?" through lists of the titles of Eleanor Dash's novels to an ever-changing Outline of her next novel, which has the working title of "Amalfi Made Me Do It". This layer made me laugh as well as providing context for the mystery and building Eleanor's character, Finally, there are the points when Eleanor Dash breaks the fourth wall to step out of her role as a character in the novel to take up her role as the author of the novel so she can display the structure of the novel and have an author-to-reader conversation about how the novel is going. These four layers worked very well for me. I especially liked the way the layers of storytelling interacted with each other to amplify the story and deepen my engagement

I loved that Eleanor Dash had three faces: Eleanor as herself, Eleanor as a curated version of herself with more agency and Eleanor as the author of this novel who is putting her character through hell.

I also liked that I didn't get the Guide Book version of Italy, which typically sells Amalfi, Capri and Ravello as glamorous locations. I know those places and I was pleased to see that Capri was presented as choked with tourists, Amalfi looked a little shabby and Ravello was presented as a pretty place to be as long as you were prepared to take your life in your hands driving the coastal cliff road to get there.

There were three things about the book that didn't work for me. Firstly, the audiobook didn't handle the footnotes or the publishing-related materials well so I switched to a Kindle version before the end of Chapter 2. Secondly, thought that Tucci, the Italian Policeman in charge of investigating the murders was too incompetent to be believable. Finally, I didn't enjoy the epilogue. It felt soggy and unnecessary. obook

Even so, 'Every Time I Go On Vacation, Someone DIes' was a four-star read for me, It was entertaining and stimulating and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the Vacation Mystery series.
… (mere)
MikeFinnFiction | 21 andre anmeldelser | Jul 3, 2024 |
Eleanor is on a book tour in Italy. The main character in her book series is Connor, a character she is planning on killing off to end the series. In real life, the real Connor is like an albatross around her neck, a con man not above blackmail. Now, both of these people, along with assorted others, are on the same tour. An attempt is made on Connor’s life, and he beseeches Eleanor to find out who wants him dead, besides her, not that she would resort murder. Oh, and wait. There are more attempts. And on more people. What’s going on? Never fear, the real author of this mystery breaks the fourth wall with her story author enough times to keep readers from getting confused and keeps us up-to-date with a running commentary of all the clues. It’s a fun read and quite entertaining. There are quirky characters, a stalker, book groupies, an ex-lover, con artists, and more! What’s missing? Not a thing. The audio version is expertly performed by Elizabeth Evans who makes a fun read even better.… (mere)
Maydacat | 21 andre anmeldelser | Jun 15, 2024 |
I really like Catherine McKenzie as a thriller writer, so I was excited to read this book published under a pseudonym. While it was fun, I thought it tried a little too hard. The footnotes were funny, but also a bit distracting.
I was confused at the mystery, and was not able to figure out the answer, so she did a clever job with that, making nearly everyone a suspect. There was a lot of humor, and tongue in cheek parts, and it was very clean, all positives!
I will definitely read book 2, and hopefully, I will adapt to this writing style.… (mere)
rmarcin | 21 andre anmeldelser | Jun 10, 2024 |
Eleanor Dash is traveling Italy in honor of the book series that was launched after a vacation there several years earlier. Her publishing company is sponsoring the trip which includes several fellow authors and a group of lucky fans of Eleanor's series. One of the people on the trip is Connor, the man she fell in love with on that initial trip and who starred as a character in the book that resulted from it. Even though Eleanor no longer loves Connor, her readers do. That and a bit of blackmail on Connor's part keep him in the picture.

Harper Dash is Eleanor's sister, personal assistant, and usually her memory. Harper always has the details and itinerary that Eleanor either forgot or never bothered to learn. When Connor confides that he thinks someone is trying to kill him, Eleanor doesn't believe him. Furthermore, she begins thinking about how she can kill him off in her next book and finally be free of him.

After a series of near-misses for Connor and Eleanor which may or may not have been murder attempts, someone actually dies. The trip includes Connor's ex-wife (who was Connor's wife when he met Eleanor, unbeknownst to her), Eleanor's rebound boyfriend Oliver, now also an ex, and other authors with various motives to dislike or distrust Connor. There is no shortage of suspects. Eleanor's reasoning and investigation point to one suspect after another (perhaps further evidence of why she's an author and not a detective) before we finally discover the culprit.

This is a fun little cozy mystery with a lot of fourth-wall breaking, through innumerable footnotes. Eleanor is a mostly likable character, particularly redeemed by her relationship with her sister Harper. Listening to it on audio, the footnotes were maybe the funniest part of the book and didn't interrupt the flow at all. Reading it either digitally or in print I think would have been exceptionally frustrating.

Elizabeth Evans is the narrator who did a wonderful job with the voices, and particularly the accents which helped cement the location. Her pacing kept the story flowing and she was particularly adept at incorporating the footnotes and elevating the humor.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher.
… (mere)
tottman | 21 andre anmeldelser | Jun 4, 2024 |



½ 3.7

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