Review: Social Death by Tatiana Boncompagni

Reporter Clyde Shaw is called to cover a high-profile murder in Manhattan only to discover that the victim is her best friend Olivia Kravis, daughter of FirstNews founder Charles Kravis. Motivated to find her friend’s killer, Clyde quickly discovers that her investigation is a danger to both her career and her life.

Tatiana Boncompagni’s Social Death was a fun read, definitely picking up in pace after the first 50-100 pages. The beginning had some needless definitions, as the narrative kept mentioning broadcasting and journalism terms and then explaining them. I didn’t think any of the terms explained were particularly technical (so they didn’t need to be defined) or necessary (so those sentences could have been cut out entirely).

While an heiress found in her apartment isn’t the most creative murder, this book stays interesting by raising the stakes. This story benefits from the sense of danger that elevates as Clyde realizes she isn’t just solving the mystery, she’s also part of it. Clyde is an interesting character, with a self-destructive nature not just when it comes to her relationships with men. She has a serious issue with substance abuse that helps to make her seem real. The book does not glamorize her issues with addiction, instead highlighting her reckless behavior and how it taints her personal and professional relationships.

A weakness of this book is Clyde’s motivation to solve her friend’s murder. After hearing about Olivia, Clyde is determined to solve the mystery herself, which I don’t find believable as the immediate reaction of someone in her profession. I can believe a journalist wanting to cover the story of her friend’s murder to make sure the coverage is respectful. Journalists report on, investigate, and even spin a story, but they don’t solve murder cases. If she were a detective or a police officer, I would be more inclined to believe that she would immediately want to be involved with the investigation.

One of the biggest problems I have is that the blurb doesn’t reflect what the majority of the book is about. While money is part of the story, it doesn’t really come into play until the end, which feels like a bit of a spoiler. Plus, I think calling Olivia, the victim, a socialite is misleading. She is head of her family’s charitable organization, and is much more involved with philanthropy than social obligations.

While not original in plot, Social Death is an exciting, fast-paced mystery. Once you get into the meat of the story, the sense of danger will keep you eager for the next twist.

Title: Social Death
Author: Tatiana Boncompagni
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
My rating: ☆☆☆ (3 stars)
Recommended for: Anyone looking for a quick mystery to read by the pool.

I received this book from Goodreads First Reads.

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