Friday, May 6, 2016

Book review - Holding Smoke

Title: Holding Smoke
Author: Elle Cosimano
Genre: mystery
Similar books: Burning by Danielle Rollins
                     The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Really hit the spot

Summary(provided by publisher): John "Smoke" Conlan is serving time for two murders-but he wasn't the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke's new home and the only one he believes he deserves.
But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they're asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn't care that the "threads" that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name.
Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink's help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he's willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.

My Opinion: I liked this book far more than I expected, given that it has significant supernatural elements, not my usual favorites. In this book it really works, perhaps because those elements aren't overwhelming. John and Pink talk to ghosts, sure, and the environment reflects the standard ghost signs: cold air, objects moving and lights flickering when the spirit is angry, that kind of thing. This book is so much more than just ghosts, though. You have the mystery (the murder for which John was imprisoned), the idea of hoping for a future beyond imprisonment, learning to trust people. 
I wasn't thrilled with the resolution. I found the last few chapters kind of muddled and hurried. This is a minor but notable flaw in an otherwise excellent novel with distinct and complex characters, genuine perspectives, and a logical and compelling plot.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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