Thinking she is the only one who cares about Hank, Hilda is surprised to find Hank's apartment empty one day except for Hank's handsome downstairs neighbor, a 19 year-old screenwriter named Jake. Jake couldn't be more unlike Hilda - successful, driven, fashion conscious - but she still finds herself wanting to spend more time with him even as he is convinced that Hank is hiding some terrible, sinister secret. A secret Hilda suspects but one she can't decide if she wants to know or not.
John Belushi is Dead is a singularly unique and at times almost disturbing dark novel. Kathy Charles has crafted a truly compelling book with many unpredictable twists - and some you can guess right away, but are still powerless to stop. What really makes this book a stand-out are the starkly real characters. Hilda is confused and intent on shutting off the rest of the world until Hank (and Jake) force her to open her eyes to life happening all around her. And then Benji - one scary dude - whose obsession with death seems so darkly real yet utterly separate from Hilda's resigned fascination with the same subject. Not to mention the cantankerous and paranoid Hank, who has countless stories of old Hollywood to tell. I cannot express to you how thrilled I was to see an old man featured in a YA novel (at least one that wasn't overly sugar-sweet) and he plays his role beautifully. The emotions and dialogue are fresh and even if the constant stories of murder are at times a little much, they definitely added to the story in terms of mood and ambiance. Hilda's quiet yet forceful voice ensnares you from page one and her constant observations of friends, family, and death are irresistibly appealing. John Belushi is Dead is an edgy book with a unique voice and an outstanding cover. It's one you won't want to miss.
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book source: review copy from the publisher