Publication Date: 2nd April, 2009 (UK)
This is the first in a series of four Beautiful Dead books by UK author Eden Maguire. Each book will focus on one of the Beautiful Dead (Jonas, Phoenix, Arizona and Summer), whose mystery will be solved with the help of Darina, Phoenix's girlfriend.
I really like the premise for this series, as well as the character names. The Beautiful Dead are brought back from limbo to solve their murders and gain some closure, and are neither living nor dead. The word zombie is used, although they don't really seem like your typical living dead.
Each of the Beautiful Dead have an angel wings death tattoo, exactly in the spot that killed them (example: Jonas has his on his neck, where it was broken), which I thought was clever, and not something I'd come across before. I also like the character resolution at the end, which kind of wraps up the book and allows them to be read as standalone titles.
There were a couple of things that bothered me about this book, though they were easy to overlook and forget. I didn't find myself particularly liking Darina's 'voice', though it did get better as the story progressed. I think this is largely due to the fact that the book doesn't really focus on her as a character, so we don't get to know her as well as we perhaps should. I also didn't feel the intensity of her relationship with Phoenix, which is probably because we never see much of their real relationship, only what it's like when he comes back to her from the dead.
I love the cover of the book, and it fits well with the story. The wings are a nice touch.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I was never bored, which is a good sign. I look forward to the remaining three volumes, the second of which (Arizona) is being published in October.