Cover Image: Pretty as a Picture

Pretty as a Picture

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Member Reviews

I loved the pacing of the story and tore through this book. At first, I was a bit put off by the number of movie references (I am not a movie buff). However, the references that went over my head did not prevent me from following story and enjoying the read. I think someone who is truly interested in movies and the movie business would love this book. And bonus points for a protagonist on the Autism scale who is shown as a high functioning and loved person.
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Marissa is socially awkward and has a disorder you may want to look up.  It wouldn't hurt to understand that not everyone wants to be in large, loud groups or the center of attention.  No, Marissa wants to take pictures and put them all together to tell the story she sees.  She is a film editor.  She doesn't read people well, but each still from a movie speaks to her and tells her exactly how it needs to go together in order to tell the story in the best way.  She can express this all...in her own internal monologue.  She can't out loud.  It's what she does.

So she's hired to edit a movie already in production when the present editor is fired.  She knows it is about a true crime, an unsolved murder, but she doesn't know any more.  She takes the job, sign the 16 page NDA, and heads out.  She doesn't get to do any editing, however,  The movie is doomed.  Strange occurrences that started before she arrives continues.  Soon, she is trying to figure out what is going on.  She teams up with a literal cast of characters along the way.

I've never been one for the Hollywood scene or one infatuated by movie making or actors.  There was a lot of behind the scenes stuff about filming and jokes about members of a film crew that really didn't mean much to me as a reader.  It didn't matter, though.  Marissa's constant inner monologue, sarcastic and unsure, made sure the reader was never left out of the loop completely.  For someone who couldn't speak to strangers, she was extremely verbose to herself.

I devoured this book in one day.  I had to keep going.  I wanted to not only know the answer to the current and past mysteries, one of which had an anticlimactic answer, I wanted to watch Marissa and her unlikely crew interact with each other and the rest of the world.  I thank the author, publisher, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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I'm sure I'm not alone in having difficulty reading right now. It's hard to concentrate during a pandemic, and I've had trouble submersing myself in anything. That being said, Pretty as a Picture did a great job distracting me from the news, and I read it really quickly. Marissa Dahl is a movie editor who, desperate for a job, accepts a role on a film without having read the script. It's being directed by an Oscar winning director, and all that Marissa knows is it's about a dead girl. (This book has a lot of commentary on the types of stories we tell and how we tell them.) When she arrives on set Marissa finds out it's a true crime story being filmed at the location where the woman, Caitlyn, was murdered. I loved Marissa's voice - she has a lot of social anxiety and is really insecure in her personal relationships. She's also smart, sarcastic, and funny, and it was a pleasure to be inside her head. I loved the supporting characters, as well, including two teen wannabe sleuths and an ex Navy SEAL looking out for Marissa. That all being said, I wanted a little more depth to the mystery. I didn't get a really good feel for Caitlyn's story, and some of the characters on the movie set were underdeveloped, or just not featured enough in the majority of the story to justify their importance at the end. Overall, though, this was a good read and a welcome distraction from COVID-19.
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4.5 stars for a story that held my interest to the point of even getting up and tracking more in the middle of the night.

Marissa, film editor, is called in to replace an editor in mid filmimg, but under unusual circumstances. She seems to be on the autism spectrum which adds to her editing talent, but leaves her awkward in social settings.

Lots of sun plots that all play out in a way I really enjoyed, but don't eat to ruin it for othets. Very glad I read it and have another great author to follow.

Thank you NetGalley for an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest opinion.
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I loved the main character of this book. Marissa is a complex and compelling film editor whom you root for throughout the book. The mystery had me guessing, and the resolution was satisfying. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work in the future.
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I'm always ready for a good mystery and this WAS a good mystery.  Marissa Dahl (like Roald and not Barbie) is a film editor and has been called in to replace a fired editor on a potential blockbuster.  The film is about a real-life event, the murder of a young woman years before.  Interestingly, the movie is being shot on location...the same location that the real murder took place years before.  The site is quite remote and things are definitely not as they seem.  What exactly is happening on this film set?  
I found Marissa to be a unique voice and I enjoyed her point of view.  She is a reliable narrator, but she isn't always sure of herself which was strangely endearing to me.
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This was a great thriller that kept me reading way past my bedtime. The main character was not your typical alpha female, nor was she a broken unreliable narrator. She just felt flawed and real, and I really appreciated that about the book. The insider's look at the film industry was well done and fascinating. If you are a fan of cinema, cold case solving, or just great stories, pick up this book.
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I was obsessed with Elizabeth Little's debut, DEAR DAUGHTER, and so I have been eagerly awaiting her next book. I'm pleased to report that it was everything I wanted it to be: suspenseful, cinematic, and starring a snarky, sarcastic narrator. I was hooked from the beginning, and couldn't put it down until I'd finished reading the last twist.
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Typically, when a reviewer says a book is cinematic, it is a reference to the fact that the book could easily be adapted to the screen and would probably be successful if that happened. In the case of Elizabeth Little’s second novel, Pretty as a Picture, the term cinematic is more of an all-encompassing term intended to describe the entire ambience of the book – everything here is centered around the film-making industry: the plot, the characters, the setting, the crime(s), the motives, the history, the tone, the style, the very essence of the novel. And yes, it would also make a good movie, so the traditional meaning still applies.

Pretty as a Picture’s lead character is Marissa Dahl, a film editor who is quietly making a name for herself within the filmmaking community. When she discovers that her latest secret assignment requires working with one of the most demanding directors in the industry, Tony Rees, she weighs those challenges against the career-boon certain to result from such a high-profile production. Needless to say, Marissa packs her bags and sets off to the mysterious shoot location, which turns out to be an exclusive island off the coast of Delaware. 
 
Marissa quickly learns that the movie is based on a true crime that happened many years earlier on this island. Once on set, Marissa begins to feel that there is more going on than just the making of this movie. Why are the actors behaving so strangely? Half of the crew has quit and the other half seems on the verge of walking at any moment. Marissa cannot seem to obtain the necessary information she needs about the previous film-editor, the person she is replacing. Why did he leave? And where can she find the film footage he has already edited?

When Marissa encounters two precocious children, she discovers they both have noticed some odd things as well and have taken to investigating like two budding Nancy Drew-acolytes should. When events on the island take a very serious turn, Marissa joins them in a hunt for a killer, hopefully before she herself becomes the next victim. 

Elizabeth Little is one of those writers who nails the idea of celebrity, the all-consuming gossip and scrutiny that comes with the limelight, and the melancholy that results when isolation becomes a defense mechanism. Certainly not one be derivative, Little packs Pretty as a Picture with enough secrets, scandals, and revelations to fill several Hollywood studios. In a unique juxtaposition, Elizabeth Little’s literary voice feels both fresh and modern even while it evokes this retro vibe of nostalgia and yesteryear. The inclusion of a true-crime podcast element that occasionally interrupts the narrative further solidifies Pretty as a Picture as a work very much rooted in the zeitgeist of contemporary culture. 

As she did in her debut, Dear Daughter, Elizabeth Little skillfully crafts characters readers care about. It’s refreshing that Marissa Dahl avoids the stereotype of being an unreliable narrator. Despite her quirks, readers will immediately bond with Marissa. Film buffs will especially enjoy her tendency to resort to classic cinema allusions when trying to express her emotions. Reading Pretty as a Picture is sure to have many running off to stream the various movies mentioned throughout the novel. There are even some fascinating tidbits about what the work of a film editor entails and how that factors into the overall movie-making process.
 
Pretty as a Picture is the type of crime novel genre fans will praise and fete for years to come. Both the slower structure that builds on the information the reader learns along the way, culminating in an effective, believable, and satisfying concluding panorama and the ability to create inimitable characters of depth who display both wit and wonder, reflect a writer working at the top of her craft. Pretty as a Picture is a timely work with timeless appeal; a true highlight of early 2020.
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This was a really enjoyable read. Marissa gets called in last minute to work on a film after the previous editor was fired suddenly... but the whole premise of the shoot is kept under wraps and she is not given any information about the movie she will be working on until she arrives at the island where the film is being shot. The high-profile director, it seems, is working on a movie about an unsolved murder that happened on that very island, in hopes that the movie will bring new details to light and help to solve the case.

The characters in this book are delightful; from Marissa, who is socially awkward, but genius at breaking down movie scenes and film shots, and stitching them together into a cohesive film; to the two teenage girls who fancy themselves detectives and start a podcast about the case; to the tough-but-sweet bodyguard, Isaiah, who is tasked with protecting Marissa. When a cast member is found murdered on set, will this group be able to solve not one, but two murders?
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Pretty As a Picture by Elizabeth Little adds a new twist to the classic whodunnit plot. The lead character, Marissa, is a young lady on the autistic spectrum. She adores movies and works as a film editor. Marissa, who constantly struggles to interpret emotion through body language and tone, finds herself in the unlikely role of sleuth. 

As the plot unfolds one might ask, does art imitate life or life imitate art? The lead actress of the movie reenacting a decades murder is found dead on the very same beach. Is it a copycat crime or has the original killer come to call? 😱

Quirky and clever, Pretty As a Picture is most certainly a cinephile's delight!
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Absolutely loved this. A completely new kind of hero is at the center of this movie mystery. I loved the true crime podcast elements, the island setting, the two parallel deaths, and all the twists. The supporting characters were outstanding--especially Isaiah!--and Marissa was so unusual and captivating. The details on-set were captivating, the geography of the island and the hotel added danger, and the clash of Hollywood types and islanders was so fun to read.
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I am a big movie fan and have been for my entire life. Therefore I enjoyed the extra little tidbits of information thrown into this novel by the author. The movie details as well as the details of the main character's job make this book more enjoyable for sure. This book is a quick little gulp of a thriller. It's not particularly memorable if I'm being honest, but it came along at the perfect time as I was trying to figure out something to read over winter break from school. I'd recommend it to fans of thrillers and to fans of movies. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wants to think too hard about their books.
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I really enjoyed this book. At first I had a hard time getting into it but then it enveloped me whole. 
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.
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Marissa is a quirky, awkward film editor who is chosen to work on a movie with the famous director, Tony Rees. It's based on a true crime that was never solved and part way through filming, the lead actress is also found dead. Because the set is on a remote island, things get dicey as Tony has assigned security detail for Marissa and the others. Scattered throughout are segments of a podcast that airs after the fact. It's an interesting story with a lot of film jargon thrown in but you don't really need to understand it as the plot is clear.
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https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3044216902?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Thank you to Viking Publishers for my ARC of this book.

Things I liked: The narrator- She is funny, endearing, and lovably awkward. I enjoyed her point of view and was rooting for her. Also, the podcast scripts interspersed between chapters, the two teen girls invested in the case were great! Main Characters 5/5
There were a lot of supporting characters that could have been explored more.

Things to note: This is not a thriller, but reads more like fiction mixed with a true crime podcast. The novel gives the reader behind the scenes look at a hollywood production turned investigation. Some parts went into great technical detail about cinematography, but they were not many.

Overall, it was a little too 'tame' for my taste (Yes, I do realize this is about a murder- the twists just didn't seem 'twisty' enough for me) and I was hoping for slightly more suspense and excitement in the second half of the book. Nonetheless, I would read another book by this author and will be sure to check out "Dear Daughter".
I would recommend for both adult and YA readers.
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I loved the author's first book, Dear Daughter, so I was super excited to see that she had a new one coming out. It was definitely worth the wait. The author manages to keep the things I loved about Dear Daughter -- the voice, the observations, the elements of celebrity -- while creating a completely different character in Marissa Dahl. You get the sense that the author knows this world and is giving us an inside glimpse of a movie set and a really interesting mystery with some great twists.
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"Pretty as a Picture" by Elizabeth Little is sure to be your next beach read! A fast-paced page-turner, this whodunit has an intriguing main character and a plot that moves quickly, yet still has plenty of twists and turns. The story takes place primarily on a movie location--a hotel that has seen better days--and every character, from the film editor to the hotel's proprietors, are caught up in a web of murder and mystery.

This novel is meant to be read quickly; there are side plots and characters that are not fully explored or resolved. The main character is obviously on the spectrum yet that is never directly addressed, which is an interesting move by the author. I'm not sure if this is setting up to be the first in a series; if so, the dangling story threads make sense as they would be the basis for other books. As it stands, the mystery is neatly solved by the end of the book, but the reader is left without a full resolution in terms of character backstory and development. Those issues aside, it kept my attention and is one I'd definitely recommend.
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Marissa Dahl is shy movie editor who needs a job - desperately. She's just moved out and taking a break from her  movie partner/best friend, and needs to be on her own for bit. That's the only reason she agrees to take on a mysterious movie project that only gets more mysterious once she takes the plane-car-boat to get to the isolated island where the movie is being filmed. She soon discovers the true crime movie is being filmed where the actual crime took place and is still unsolved. When accidents start happening and Marissa starts asking questions...things get dangerous and secrets start unravelling. Interspersed with the story are transcripts of a true crime podcast, which adds some fun to the story. Marissa is treated as an outcast as she has difficulty reading people, although she compensates for that in ways that make her a great movie editor. She's not always treated well by those around her, although a more endearing character would be hard to find. This is a fun read that takes a deep dive into movie making and a mystery that kept me guessing until the end. Take it on spring break with you...just not to an isolated island. Here's hoping we see more of Marissa and her adventures in the future!(Advanced copy read courtesy of Viking and NetGalley. Opinions are my own.)
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Thank you to Viking Publishers for my ARC of this book. I loved Dear Daughter so I was very excited to read Pretty As A Picture.

I loved the unique structure of this book with the integration of the podcast. It is perfect for anyone who loves true crime podcasts. The protagonist was quirky and unique. She seemed to be on the spectrum but that was never really explored, which was an interesting choice by the author.

This book had a lot of the components that I really enjoy - but unfortunately it did not hold my attention. The Hollywood ¨jargon"weighed the book down. Some of the descriptions of camera angles and ¨Video Village"and producerś responsibilities etc. felt superfluous and weighed the book down. The characters´ quirks and nuances were not fleshed out as much as I would have wanted.

I think this would make an enjoyable beach read for someone that has some background understanding of film making.
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