Thursday, January 10, 2019

book thoughts: Blessed Are the Dead by Kristi Belcamino

The basics: Blessed are the Dead is the debut mystery for Kristi Belcamino. It introduces San Francisco crime reporter Gabriella Giovanni. It was nominated for the Anthony Award for Best First Novel in 2015.

My thoughts: I majored in journalism in college, and I'm drawn to books written about journalists (despite, or perhaps because I have zero professional interest in every working as a reporter.) Still, lines like these remind me of why I pursued the field in college: "I try not to eavesdrop, but hey, it's what reporters do. We are natural observers of everyone and everything around us." I think the same is true for novelists, and Belcamino's observations were wonderful in this novel.

I also like mysteries, so a contemporary mystery with a fantastically flawed heroine who happens to be a crime reporter, and is also written by a crime reporter? It sounds perfect. I bought this book for my Kindle as soon as I saw the 2015 Anthony Award nominees. I have no idea why it took me so long to read it, but I'm glad I finally did, and I'm glad I had the foresight to buy the next two in the series (there are a total of six now--if you count the two half books.)

Despite my love of both books about journalists and crime novels, I am increasingly critical of amateur detectives. One of the best parts of Blessed Are the Dead is how Gabriella works with the police. As a journalist, some people are more willing to talk to her than the police, which gives her unique insights. She fights other reporters for the best quotes and details no one else has, but she also fights for justice and for the victims.

It's hard to write a great first book in a series because you're introducing characters and their backstories, but the focus is also a crime. Belcamino accomplishes this by intertwining the two: Giovanni's sisters was kidnapped and murdered when she was a child, and writing a story about a very similar case allows her to write both simultaneously and well. This novel made me fall in love with not only Gabriella, but the people around her: friends, family, co-workers, and nemeses. It's also a page-turning mystery. I was tempted to start Blessed are the Meek (the second book in the series) immediately, but I decided to wait--at least a few days.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 304 pages
Publication date: July 29, 2014
Source: owned

Want to read for yourself? Buy Blessed Are the Dead from Amazon (the Kindle edition is only $2.99!) 

Favorite passage: "Sociopaths can be charming but are truly incapable of feelings that other people have, especially love. It is also nearly impossible for them to consistently tell the truth. The feel "entitled" to certain things, believing their self-serving behaviors are permissible in society even at the expense of others' "rights.""

Challenges: Reading Women (any book from a series), Read Harder(by a journalist or about journalism), Around the Year in 52 Books (a book that was nominated for or won an award in a genre you enjoy--Anthony Award), Pop Sugar (featuring an amateur detective), and Litsy A to Z

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!