So, when I flew to Chicago, I forgot to take a book. Fortunately, or unfortunately as the case may be, I found a book left on the chair in the terminal: Most Likely to Die by Lisa Jackson, Beverly Barton, and Wendy Corsi Staub. Oh my gosh, was it bad. It was definitely your classic "train wreck" novel -- I kept reading to see how bad it would get. Here are my Top 10 Worst Things Ever from this book:
[spoilers abound, but really, you should just skip the book anyway]
1. It was set in a convent in: Spain? Italy? England? No, Portland, Oregon. And the convent had a shrubbery maze. Because you know, that's common in modern America.
2. The first main character revisits the murder scene (the shrubbery maze) late at night. WHO DOES THAT?
3. The first meeting of the high school reunion committee includes a Mexican girl (who likes jalapeno pizzas -- that's not a racist stereotype), an African American girl, and an Asian girl. Everyone else in the book is white. Can we say racial tokens?
4. Every person in this book is obsessed with the guy who is murdered in the first chapter, because they all "loved him". No one is that awesome, I'm sorry. Oh and by the way, he turns out to be a prick. What a surprise.
5. The whole first section of this book refers to the antagonist as "the killer" when telling the story from her point of view. As in "The killer hated Kristin. She remembered how snobby she was. The killer laughed to herself at how she was going to get even with her". I just don't have the energy to describe why that's so lame.
6. "The killer" also does things like laugh diabolically on the phone, use "Mickey Mouse" as a pseudonym when buying cell phones, and smile evilly to herself on the subway. Who is she, Cruella De Vil?
7. On one page, the author states how one character has escaped from a car wreck unscathed. The very next page, there's an extensive list of the injuries this guy suffered from the car wreck. I guess my definition of "unscathed" is a wee bit different.
8. One of the main characters is a cop, who emotionally beats herself up when a third lady in their group is murdered by the serial killer. "There's nothing you could have done" her boyfriend says. Um, how about setting up a security detail? Teaching the women self defense tactics like varying their routines? Cancelling the stupid reunion? Calling the FBI? There's a serial killer on the loose, and the only two people on the case are Joe "Cold Case" Gumshoe and Jane "Out of My Jurisdiction" Dingbat? Give me a break.
9. I cannot imagine any stupider love stories. The most ridiculous one is the one where one of the main characters has a one night stand in high school, gets pregnant and runs away, but yet is "in love" with this man for 20 years. And he's "in love" with her! Being "in love" for 20 years with someone you bonked one time at a party and then never saw again smacks of obsession to me. Those two should have been the serial killers.
10. The clincher? After the serial killer is caught, the final chapter wraps it up with all the main characters having married (or remarried) their love interests, and forming families. It was like the prize for catching a serial killer was a foxy rich husband and a kid. I almost threw up a little when the final two characters announced their impending pregnancy.
As an added bonus, there's a letter to the reader from each of the authors at the end of the book. "Dear Reader," one starts out. "How great is it that you picked up a copy of MOST LIKELY TO DIE?" (Not great. Not great at all.) "I hope you enjoyed the girls of 'St Lizzy's,' and their love stories set in a background of tense suspense." You know, I was getting tired of all those relaxing suspense books I've been reading!
I think one of the funniest things about this book is that the front cover labels it "The Scariest Novel of the Year!" Yeah, if all you read is Goodnight Moon. Harry Potter had scarier moments than this book! But hey, if you're looking for a good laugh, I highly recommend Most Likely to Die. Just don't read it in public. Or hide it behind a copy of The Great Gatsby if you do.