The Dead List by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received this free eARC novel from the author in exchange for my honest review.
Even though this book was available on Wattpad for the longest time, I never got around to reading it. There's just something about reading a book on a computer that bothers me, so I was very happy to hear that she was going to publish this book to add to my collection! :)
Ella went through a terrifying experience four years ago and still hasn't really recovered from it. She's learned to live with the acknowledgement that she won't say his name out loud. Now she is just waiting to graduate high school so she can leave her small town and start over again.
Things get a bit a twist, though, when Ella is leaving a party one night and someone in a clown mask tries to kidnap her. Ella was able to escape, but only because Jensen - her once really close friend - is going to his car and stops the kidnapper from successfully taking Ella. When the cops come, they clue her in that this might be in association with another disappearance of a student that Ella goes to high school with, and they may have a huge serial killer case on their hands when the missing girl gets found by Ella dead in a barn attic.
Now Ella is not really thinking about graduating high school. She's just hoping that she will surviving until graduation, because the clowned killer is stalking Ella, trying to get her again. Ella decides that she needs to learn how to defend herself and takes self-defense classes. What she wasn't aware of until she got to her class is that it is taught by Jensen - the guy she's had a crush on for 4 years but the guy she keeps her distance from because she's been hurt by him 2 too many times in her life.
But the more her and Jensen are together, the more right it seems and that they are meant to be together. The only problem is that they need to figure out why this clowned killer is after Ella and how to stop him. Otherwise, her and Jensen being together won't mean a thing if he actually does kill Ella.
Jennifer L Armentrout does a great job with mystery novels. She has just enough suspense in them to keep the reader guessing, and enough yummy hot main guy to keep the reader gushing. I was able to figure out the clowned killer about 70% of the way through the novel. I've read enough mysteries that I can usually come up with the reasoning and the person because the reason, but this one did keep me guessing and going back and forth between different killers. There is a twist, though, that perhaps many readers might not figure out before the end of the novel, so I think a lot of readers will enjoy that.
The best thing about this book is that Ella is not going down without a fight. She is trying to learn how to defend herself and take action, rather than just let the men in her life take care of her. She may not be the most amazing fighter by the end of the book, but she was able to use the information and the moves that she learned throughout the novel by the end of it when her life was in danger.
And another great thing about this novel is Ella and Jensen's relationship. They were best friends when they were younger but everyone grew up and things happened to make them virtual strangers. But the more they are together, the more that the secrets that were keeping them apart were revealed and the strained past that they have has been fixed. Watching them learn to trust one another again was great, and the chemistry between them is amazing!
Also, the part where Ella and Jensen are watching "Supernatural" and Jensen's name, and Ella's favorite Winchester brother? That made me laugh so hard for so long, and it's only because I know how much JLA loves "Supernatural"!
I'm so excited to have had an eARC of this book and I have already pre-ordered my copy of the physical book to add to my library! Fans of JLA will love this new novel of hers! :D
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