Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough

My TL:DR Five Word Review : Jealousy, Lust, Secrets and Murder

Dead To Her is another Sarah Pinborough book that kept me pretty much glued to the page.  This is a winning combination of steamy Southern gothic meets modern retelling of DuMaurier’s Rebecca and the combination of Steel Magnolias, gold diggers and unfaithful husbands makes for a boiling pot of intrigue.

If you’re picking up Dead to Her don’t imagine for one moment that you’re going to like any of the characters.  This is one big mess of nasty that goes to prove that beauty really is sometimes simply skin deep.

Meet Marcie – second wife to successful and wealthy Jason.  Marcie has completely reinvented herself and has finally achieved her heart’s desires.  She has a rich husband, money is no object, she’s younger than the other wives in her wealthy set and moves in elite circles.  Of course, Marcie, will never truly be satisfied because there’s always ‘one more goal’ before she has truly reached the pinnacle of success and having married a man who cheated and divorced his first wife she can never totally relax because she’s walking on pins waiting for the very same thing to happen to her.

Meet Keisha.  Recently married to William Radford IV, Jason’s boss, powerful and rich, Keisha is barely in her twenties.  She waltzes in with her designer gowns, curvaceous body, drop dead gorgeous looks and wild nature and steals Marcie’s crown without batting one perfectly outlined eyelid.  The two are rivals but at the same time, not being truly part of the inner circle their ‘outsider’ status pushes them together.

I’m not going to elaborate too much on the plot as this will fundamentally spoil the reveals as they naturally occur.  And there are plenty of reveals and a tangled web of deceit and red herrings along the way.

Characters – as I said don’t expect to make any friends among these pages.  I have sat here and thought about all of them and to be honest none of them are basking in the glow of innocence.  Whether it be greed, betrayal, bullying behaviour, vanity or revenge there are many shades of grey here and a number of different agendas.

The setting is modern Savannah. Hot and sultry, full of history and elite families with cupboards full of skeletons that will never be publicly displayed.  This is how the other half lives.  Money no object.  Yachts, lavish dining, afternoon cocktails around the pool, shopping sprees simply to break the monotony.  And, keeping up – everyone is jostling for position.

As I mentioned, I’m not going to elaborate on the plot.  Pinborough is becoming the queen of twisted storytelling.  Building things up and then knocking them back down.  In terms of the murder and the police investigation, I will say I’m not sure how everything stacks up but, to be honest, I don’t think it really matters here.  This is more about the dark underbelly and the glorious reveals which make it such an entertaining read.  There is also a play on magical realism in the form of voodoo and bad juju although this is a light touch that feeds more on superstition and fear than anything else.

In terms of criticism.  I think the novel takes a little while to really gather momentum but I didn’t find it a problem.  This felt like a very quick read and the set up is necessary.  And, as I said, I’m not sure how realistic some elements of the story are but, again, I don’t think it really matters as this is more about entertainment value than police procedure.

Overall, this was, as I hoped and expected, a very entertaining read.  I loved the play on a well loved classic story and the writing is easy, persuasive and cheeky all at once.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 stars



12 Responses to “Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough”

  1. Tammy

    Definitely need to get to this soon! Sounds perfect for a fun, quick read😁

    • @lynnsbooks

      I read this one so quickly, the pacing was good and I just couldn’t put it down.
      Lynn 😀

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Pinborough is indeed a skilled master in characterization, and I find it unsurprising that she can make even unlikable characters so compelling… 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yep, totally agree. I never have any problems diving into her books and just thrashing through them at breakneck speed.
      Lynn 😀

  3. waytoofantasy

    Oooh, this one does sound great. I think I’ll need to check and see if my library has it when I get through some of the other holds I have. 🙂 Great review, Lynn, glad you liked this one!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really enjoyed it and it was super fast to read.
      Lynn 😀

  4. sjhigbee

    A cracking review, Lynn:)). I’m glad you like this one – I suspect it is a bit too dark for my tastes, but I do know she is an excellent writer. And she is a lovely charismatic character with a great sense of humour, too…

    • @lynnsbooks

      Actually, this wasn’t dark at all really, there was the vooddoo aspect, but nothing really dark. Yes, she’s a lovely character with a great sense of humour.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I agree, this was something of a slowburn thriller for Sarah Pinborough, but when it gets going, watch out! I also despised all the characters, but really enjoyed grabbing some popcorn and watching the train wreck of their lives play out 😛 And this is the first time seeing the “pool” cover for this book, I should have used it for my “summer vibes cover” Top Ten Tuesday list instead.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I never even thought of this cover for TTT! Doh. Yeah. I did enjoy this one, particularly the play on Rebecca too which I hadn’t realised was going to be the case with this one. In fact that aspect seems to be very downplayed for some reason.
      Lynn 😀

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