I’ve been meaning to write this review for ages, but I seem to have lost an entire month. If you find it, please let me know!
I really enjoyed #Murdertrending by the inimitable Gretchen McNeil. I’ve enjoyed McNeil’s other books, but something about #Murdertrending felt so inventive and timely that I moved it to the top of my TBR list when it came out last month.
Thanks to a false murder conviction, eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera has landed on Alcatraz 2.0, the prison island where convicted murders are executed by on-staff serial killers while the world watches. Forced to work and live in the island’s twisted suburban community until their untimely deaths, inmates strive to become fan favorites with dedicated airtime to delay their final sentencing. Set in the not-too-distant future, America’s #1 obsession is watching their favorite killers do what they do best. With inventive, punny names like Hannah Ball (a cannibal who cooks her kills a la Hannibal Lecter), each killer has a devoted following via The Postman app. The Postman himself is the elusive benefactor and purveyor of justice on Alcatraz 2.0. As Dee tries to stay alive long enough to prove her innocence, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with other inmates, who also maintain they were falsely convicted.
Like I mentioned, I was so hooked by the concept. How on earth did Alcatraz 2.0 even start? Who approved this? How can we dehumanize one another enough to enjoy watching people be actually murdered? McNeil answers all these questions and more as we slowly learn about Dee’s tragic backstory and the killer-obsessed sister whose murder landed Dee on the island. I adored the colorful cast of wrongfully accused murderers who, along with Dee, formed the Death Row Breakfast Club (#squadgoals). Through the comments in The Postman app, readers could gain additional backstory and insight into the political climate that allowed Alcatraz 2.0 to happen. The plot never lacked for tension as twist after twist was revealed and you could feel Dee hurtling toward the end of the line not knowing how she could possibly survive the cadre of killers. Add in a dash of romance, and I was sold!
What really got to me in the end was that I could see how Alcatraz 2.0 came about. If you marry our culture’s obsession with “reality” tv and the justifications humanity has used to carry out atrocities like genocide, you have the sweet spot where we can get our thrills watching the gruesome deaths of people who “deserve it.” This one is for anyone looking for a fast ride with a side of chilling social commentary.
Check it out on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34521785-murdertrending