Book Talk: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
How the Protagonist Loses Herself to Obsession
CONTENT WARNING: discussions/mentions of death, assault, trauma, pet death, and substance abuse. Minor spoilers for the “Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” series, excluding the prequel, “Killjoy”.
Fans of true crime know how alluring the genre is to millions of people across the globe. Whether you find intrigue in how a criminal’s mind works or you just prefer to be cautious in case of such an event, those who get it, get it. In fact, this is my favorite genre of media. I love a good mystery, especially one that tests the limits of my mind. My go-to background noise for cleaning and relaxing is true crime, whether it be an official documentary on a streaming service or one put together by an amazing YouTube creator. If it’s true crime, I’m all in. Because of this, I found Holly Jackson’s series A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder to be utterly fascinating.
True crime “junkies” know just how easy it is to become enraptured by a case. If you’re anything like me, you want every single piece of evidence, every possible suspect, every motive; the whole nine yards. But Jackson’s protagonist, Pippa Fitz-Amobi, takes this obsession to a whole new level and then some.
This series is composed of three books: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Good Girl, Bad Blood, and As Good As Dead. Jackson recently released a prequel to this series titled Killjoy, but I have yet to read it so it will not be included.
The first book follows high school senior Pippa, or Pip to her friends and family, as she re-opens a five-year-old case about a murder/suicide that took place in her hometown in order to complete her senior capstone project. Though everyone around her is wary of her decisions, she decides to continue it anyway. Along the way, she records her findings and interviews, compiling evidence against various suspects, and befriends the convicted killer’s younger brother, Ravi. Mystery and danger ensue, and the end is something that you will likely never see coming.
In the second book, Pip has decided to start a podcast. With Ravi’s help, the podcast is dubbed “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder”. However, after an attack on Pip and the devastating loss of their family’s dog, her loved ones ask her not to continue the podcast anymore. Pip agrees until her friend’s brother goes missing under mysterious circumstances. As she falls into the rabbit hole once again, she becomes increasingly aggressive towards people. She vandalizes the private home of someone who had gotten off of assault charges, she physically pins her “friend” to lockers in a fit of rage, and her temper explodes at the people around her. If the obsession with solving mysteries hadn’t taken over Pip in the first book, it definitely does in the second.
In the third book, Pip becomes the victim of hate crimes and ominous foreshadowing. The climax of the book sees her kidnapped and the rest of the book is about her escape and revenge on the person who kidnapped her. I won’t spoil it for you, of course, but I will say that Pippa truly becomes the thing she desperately seeks to destroy, and that is both an issue and an incredible way to end this series. Her obsession drives her to insanity and actions she never would have committed if she’d picked anything else for that senior capstone project.
I highly recommend this series for those who enjoy true crime, mystery, and thrillers. The twists will have you reeling, the clues will keep you speculating, and the writing will keep you held within the world that Holly Jackson has created.