Feb 5, 2019

ARC Review--Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

A YA murder mystery in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.

Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day's new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered--from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie's search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie's strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer's identity--and she'll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Spectacle is Jodie Lynn Zdrok’s debut and is a chilling mystery set in 1887 where there’s a long string of murders happening over the course of days. Sound familiar? The story has a very Jack the Ripper atmosphere to it and I kept thinking it has to be his story before he moved onto London, though as the pages continued, I found out that there was a much larger story happening.

Nathalie is a reporter who reports on the murderers and deaths that happen around town. It’s almost the obituaries, but not quite since a few of the victims that turn up are unidentified and yet she still reports on how things happened. It’s when she gazes upon the body of the first murdered young woman she sees something very terrifying. She witnesses how the girl was murdered as if she were the murderer herself, watching the scene in reverse. It’s very puzzling and troubling as she has no clue what this strange new ability is.

I am sad to say that this book wasn’t quite for me. 2019 is not my year apparently as 4/5 books haven’t been at all what I had hoped for. One was even a DNF. What didn’t work for me here was some of the pacing. I was anticipating the mystery to be drawn out and that was the problem, the problem was more how long it took to get from Point A to Point B. Nathalie has a lot of sidetrack memories to get through as they relate to whatever is happening. Sometimes I could see the odd connection, other times, I didn’t and the memories dragged on for a good long time. That sadly was the downfall for me in this one. There was too much wordiness almost throughout the storytelling part.

I still thought this was an interesting story though. Murder mysteries usually are for me. And then Nathalie’s gift also takes on a story of its own and that’s where a large portion of the story focuses on as well. But the pacing, the pacing killed me. It wasn’t until the halfway point that she finally “clicks” with the inspector, Christophe, who she exchanged one or two minor conversations with regarding the bodies. There was just too much downtime between Nathalie having her vision and then wanting to step away from the whole murder scene. I can understand that feeling in reality, but for a story, I had hoped that she would eventually overcome her fears faster than she did.

The mystery of the story was by far its strongest part! I was really getting into it and was surprised by the turn of events about 2/3 of the way through. I admit that I did a lot of skim reading because the pacing just wasn’t doing it for me and I wanted to find out what happened and all the whodunits. The outcomes were puzzling and that’s not due to my skimming. But at the same time it was a believable answer and all. We’re left with just a bit of a cliffhanger, but one that was being hinted at throughout the story.

As far as romance goes, this story was lacking. Yes there was the possible connection between Nathalie and Christophe, but just as soon as you think it, a roadblock comes between them, naturally. I suspect further encounters with one another will be happening in future books. But sadly this was a book without all the feels in that area and I am shocked that I missed those feels. 10 years ago I probably wouldn’t have cared. What has happened to me?! Lol.

All in all, this was an okay read. I was really intrigued by its premise and super excited to read it, but sadly, I found myself not immersed within the world. The pacing is what did me in yet again. While strong characters and enticing plot are very important for me with a story, the pacing is just as important and must be executed in a matter that works. Sadly, for me, it didn’t work. This won’t be a series I will be continuing, cliffhanger or not.

Overall rating 2/5 stars—friendly reminder that this just means an OKAY READ! ;)

Spectacle releases February 12, 2019



  1. I've heard pretty meh things about this too. Murder is usually my buzz word so I'm sad to hear that it wasn't that great.

    I'm hoping better reads are in the horizon.

  2. oh bummer. I had high hopes for this one :( romance lacking is not a good thing. Pacing issues too. Those always get me. hmmm now I am wondering if I should read this.

  3. I love mysteries but after reading your review, I don't think I'll bother picking this one up. I have lots of others to choose from. Thanks for the review to help me pick the best books for my reading pile.


Comments are an award all on their own! So my blog is an award free one! Thanks for any consideration though!