#murdertrending #2

#murderfunding by Gretchen McNeil

Publication Date: August 6, 2019

Summary from NetGalley:

WELCOME TO WHO WANTS TO BE A PAINIAC?, the latest reality TV show on the hunt for the next big-hit serial killer. But don’t worry-no one is actually going to murder anyone, as real as the fake gore and pretend murder may appear . . . uh, right? 
Seventeen-year-old Becca Martinello is about to find out. When her perfectly normal soccer mom dies in a car crash, a strange girl named Stef appears and lets Becca know that her deceased mom was none other than one of Alcatraz 2.0’s most popular serial killers-Molly Mauler. Soon, Becca ends up on Who Wants to Be a Painiac? to learn the truth about her mom’s connection to Molly, but things turn sinister when people are murdered IRL. Will Becca uncover dark secrets and make it out of the deadly reality show alive? Or will she get cut?

ARC provided by Disney Book Group via NetGalley for an honest review.

I enjoyed this sequel as much as the first one. It was quite the thrill ride with lots of ups and downs and some twists that I was not expecting. The social commentary on reality shows and murder is still there, but it wrapped up some questions that I had from the first book very nicely.

This book is mostly told through Becca’s point of view, with a few scattered throughout the story from Dee. I liked Becca, she was also a survivor and had a good head on her shoulders when things got tough. She was also a bit crazy for following a stranger to audition for a show about murder, but I got where she was coming from. It was interesting to see her perspective of the show and whether or not her mom was one of the executioners. I would have perhaps liked a bit more of an explanation of why this supposedly normal mom like person would have turned into a serial killer, but the duel nature of her personality was interesting. Becca’s other mom was also an interesting character, and I would have liked to have seen more of her.

Stef was also a great character, it would have been interesting to see some of the story from her point of view. She was pretty closed off and didn’t give a whole lot away, but I felt for her and her need to find out who the real Molly Mauler was to help her have some closure. She was pretty fearless and bad ass. The light romance between her and Becca was sweet, and I loved that it went back and forth for both of them in that they couldn’t decide on their real feeling for each other.

The plot of this story was more of a mystery/thriller than the first book. There were still some graphically gruesome murders, but not as many as the first book. Some of the questions from the first book were answered in this one, but there were still many left unanswered. But I am ok with that. There are also some plot holes, like really the FBI couldn’t figure out who the Postman was??? and some other things that just didn’t add up. But still as a light read it was very satisfying. Like in the first book, I was often amused by pop culture references in the names of the people commenting on the forums. These comments are sprinkled throughout both books and were sometimes interesting commentary on what was going on.

If you enjoyed the first book, then this one won’t be disappointing. There are rumors that there might be a third book, I’m sort of looking for a prequel, or one that explains the origins of some of the serial killers. But what ever the third book is about I will certainly be picking it up.


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