Cover Image: The Perfect Place to Die

The Perfect Place to Die

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Member Reviews

This book was so atmospheric and I couldn't put it down. The author paced it perfectly and the mystery was so well woven!
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I enjoyed this book. It was marketed as perfect for fans of Stalking Jack the Ripper and that was a wonderfu; comparison, as it had a lot of things I loved about the other book. Strong female characters, a great mystery, a sense of tension that builds slowly throughout the plot. I loved that there were female friendships in this book and there wasn't a heavy sense of romance. This was a really great historical fiction read!
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy.

Written by Librarian, Bryce Moore, The Perfect Place to Die felt like a perfect blend between fact and fiction. I don’t think I have read Devil In the White City, yet, but will eventually. However, I am familiar with H. H. Holmes and this fictional story with bits of truth scattered within tell about his mysterious (and creepy) murder castle and about some of his victims. I really enjoyed this whole book and could not put it down.

This is definitely going on a book list I’m creating for a monthly true crime discussion I am hosting at work in 2022!
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2.5 stars

Another YA mystery that I thought I would like but I was able to finish this one because it got really interesting near the end of the book.

The synopsis of this novel is we follow our main character, Etta, trying to find the truth to her sister's death. She decided to go to Chicago and asked a well-known detective agency to look for her sister. But when she gets rejected and now she has to do find her sister's killer her own way. But will she have the guts and capacity to find who she's looking for?

That's just a brief summary and this was released in August. This wasn't too bad BUT it wasn't too good either. I did enjoy the fact that this book was inspired by a true-crime story. The progression of the book from beginning to the end was very slow and I almost gave up on reading this. But I persevere? and endured the whole story. This book is up to my mystery taste but I didn't enjoy the historical aspects of the story. I appreciate that it took place in Chicago during the beginnings of industrialization and cars and immigrants but this wasn't my cup of tea.

This is something that I would only read once and once only. I wouldn't read it a second time UNLESS I am in the mood for a historical mystery in the young adult category.

I would say thank you to NetGalley for providing me an E-Arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you NetGalley for an e-ARC of The Perfect Place to Die by Bryce Moore.
The Perfect Place to Die is the perfect combination of historical fiction and mystery. Set in the time of the Chicago World's Fair, readers are introduced to the first American serial killer. Moore gives a lot of historical details, winding them into a thrilling mystery.
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3.5 stars

This really worked for me, mainly because I’ve already ready the books it’s based on, but still. If you're ALSO obsessed with this era of history, then check this out! Another book to add to the canon of fiction and nonfiction centered on Chicago, the World’s Fair, and H.H. Holmes.

Plot: ★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★
Enjoyment: ★★★

1890s Chicago. The World's Fair. All the glitz and glamour in the world focused on the Windy City...and yet something darker lurks the in streets beneath.

Women are disappearing. They're never seen again. And too many signs point to the Castle, a new hotel built near the grounds of the Fair.

Zuretta's sister, Ruby, left their small Utah town to escape to the wilds of Chicago to find a better life. When Ruby's weekly letters stop arriving, Zuretta knows something has happened. She goes to Chicago to investigate.

Once in the city, Zuretta realizes that Ruby is not the only girl lost in Chicago...not by a long shot. And the men of the police force and the famous Pinkerton detective agency have bigger fish to fry than helping one country bumpkin find her naïve sister.

When all signs point to the Castle hotel, Zuretta decides that she needs to infiltrate it from within. She becomes the Castle's new maid, under the watchful eye of the young owner... Henry Holmes.

The Castle's winding, nonsensical architecture entraps Zuretta while the screams in the walls haunt her nights. What's going on at the Castle, and just who, exactly, is behind it all?

Zuretta's going to find out—and hopefully escape with her life.

Ok so right off the bat, this is another one of those books that I think is either going to really, REALLY work for people... or be a huge miss.

It's a huge YES from me, but I think a lot of my enjoyment came from knowing way more about this story's real-life historical roots. If you've already read Erik Larson's Devil in the White City, then you're extremely primed to like this one too as The Perfect Place to Die is a "perfect" (couldn't resist that pun) young adult fictional companion to that story.

However, if you've NOT read any of the supporting works (Devil in the White City, fictional renditions like Kerri Maniscalco's Capturing the Devil, etc.) then you're left with the main plot itself, which does have some quirks/weaknesses as it attempts to follow the historical accuracies. It's not the most dramatic of stories, and it's also not the most complex—but again, it's because it's following the historical blueprint.

An interesting one for sure. I enjoyed the read and will definitely recommend it to the right audience.

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
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3.5 stars

This was an interesting read. The writing was captivating and kept me eagerly turning each page. At the same time, the story itself was fairly predictable, since it was based on the true events of H. H. Holmes and the Chicago Murder Castle. As Zuretta is investigating her sister's disappearance, she contemplates a few suspects as she goes undercover as a maid at the Castle. 

As someone who's familiar with true crime and the actual case, there was no mystery in it for me, and when the "twist" was the reveal of the murderer being Holmes, it wasn't a surprise for me. Because of my knowledge of this case, there were aspects of the plot that I already knew. However, I was interested in Zuretta's arc and what would happen specifically to her, which is what kept me invested in the story. 

I think it would've been more of a surprise if the author hadn't used Holmes as an actual character in the story, or his accomplice. The setting could've stayed the same, but if the names had been changed, maybe there would've been more actual mystery for me.
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"You mistake me, sir. I'm not here for money, and I'm not here to make things difficult. My sister is in trouble at the least and dead at the worst. I'm not going home until I know what happened to her."

Ruby finally decided she'd had enough of her father's abuse and ran off to Chicago. She sent letters to her older sister Etta, talking about the work she got as a hotel maid and later her secret engagement. And then the letters stopped. Now Etta is also in Chicago, the city of the Columbian Exposition, to discover what happened to her sister. Before she's been in the city even one day, she finds herself conned out of all her belongings save her nightgown and a photo of Ruby, and help in her search is denied to her by both the police and the Pinkerton detectives.

But Etta, haunted by nightmares of Ruby trapped, dead, and rotting, won't give up her search, and starts on detective work of her own. And after some investigating, she gets a possible tip - some women have disappeared from the World's Fair Hotel, also known as The Castle. Talking to an employee proves to Etta that her sister worked as a maid at this strange hotel, and to get to the truth of what happened, Etta will do the same - hopefully without meeting the same fate.

This was a bit of a weird read for me. If you are familiar with crime during Chicago's World Fair... you know the twist for this book, and that's not a spoiler, as you meet the character in question within the first third of the book, using the name you know them by. So... while I might say this is in part a mystery, it was not at all a mystery for me. I think someone unaware of the historical event would have a very different reading experience than I did. Etta's motivation was at times unconvincing to me and some of the ending seemed unlikely as well. Regardless, there were still some creepy or tense sections.

Thank you to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for the eARC. The Perfect Place to Die was published earlier this month, August 3rd.
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Quick moving thriller about a tough Mormon girl who leaves Utah and heads to Chicago determined to find out what happened to her sister at the Castle of HH Holmes. It was well researched even though some things are changed for the story’s flow. I liked how Zuretta had a lot of agency. The story is brutal but for those familiar with Holmes, the actual excerpts of his “memoir-confession” are more gruesome to me.

Thank you to NetGalley & Sourcebooks for letting me read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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It's been awhile since I've been so compelled by a story and yet so confused as to why. This had all the makings of a good book: missing sister, mysterious kidnappings, plucky undercover maids, an ominous hotel with architecture that makes no discernable sense. I continuously felt the need to keep reading, but it's not like the plot went anywhere particularly quickly and I wasn't really rooting for any of the characters. The end was predictable, even more so when I read the Author's Note and discovered the whole thing was based on serial killer H.H. Holmes. I know little to nothing about Holmes, so while it could have been a surprise to me, it's odd that his reveal as the murderer was portrayed as some grand twist, especially after including excerpts from his real-life confession at the beginning of each chapter. That's when it all clicked into place. The story of H.H. Holmes is indeed compelling. Just not this story of H.H. Holmes.
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I LOVED this book! I devoured it in two days. The pace was good, the writing was good, and the plot was perfect. I was also very impressed that a man wrote a female lead so well, so A+ for that. 
This was just the book I needed. It was quick and short but entertaining and had me on the edge of my seat. I loved the setting of Chicago, and it was so well depicted I felt as if I was actually there. Zuretta was so well written, her emotions were perfectly on point, I could feel what she was feeling. I love a determined female lead and Zuretta delivered. 
Basing books off of history is hard but this book was executed perfectly. (Get it? Executed?? :p) 
Don't mind me and my puns. For real though, read this book if you want a quick, heart racing thriller.
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This is a really interesting fictional look at H.H Holmes and his murder castle. I liked the way this story unfolded, and I liked our main character. It wasn't anything spectacular, but I still enjoyed it and I'll definitely read more of Moore's books. Also I appreciated that this book is creepy without being grossly gore-y. I feel like a lot of murder mystery books have a problem balancing the line between being basically a contemporary with spooky elements, and just straight up glorifying murder. This book manages to find that line pretty well. 
I'm also a sucker for sisters/family driven plots, and I love when the characters are trying to avenge someone they love. One thing I didn't like was the constant gaslighting of the MC, which is so common in historical fiction with strong women, and honestly I am so tired of it. I get that it's a product of the times, but I really wish it wasn't such a strongly featured part of this book.
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Sisters, Zuretta and Ruby, have always dreamed of leaving their small town and making a name for themselves in the big city. It was always just a dream. Until one night, Ruby decides to leave and put her big dreams into motion. Zuretta remains content for a while, happy to receive Ruby’s letters of her big adventures in Chicago. When Ruby’s letters stop coming, however, Zuretta starts to worry. Convinced that something horrific has befallen her sister, Zuretta makes the journey from Utah to Chicago to find Ruby. However, Zuretta finds something much more sinister than first anticipated. Based on a real-life serial killer case, The Perfect Place to Die by Bryce Moore is a classic whodunit mystery.

The mystery is afoot. While I adore reading murder mysteries to immerse myself in a developing mystery that reveals itself the more the story continues, this isn't really that. While Zuretta befalls some hardships, I couldn't help but think that most of the events of the novel were way too convenient. She barely had to walk several feet out her hotel and already a Pinkerton of the renowned detective agency wanted to help solve her case. She barely does any of the sleuthing at all before the mystery of her missing sister is placed before her on a platter. 

The story was quite predictable and I guessed whodunit long before it was officially revealed. 

Unfortunately, the writing was just not for me. I didn't connect as much to the story as I had hoped. 

The characters were quite flat. With Zuretta, there wasn't any connection between reader and protagonist. Zuretta seemed to just be going through the motions, without providing readers with any semblance of personality. While readers were meant to care about finding Ruby, it was difficult to care since every character was two-dimensional and sounded like the same person. 

The action sequences left much to be desired. To be honest, the flat characters coupled with the lackluster action made for a tediously slow story.

The premise of the novel sounds riveting but the execution left something to be desired. It follows a fictional narrative of a real-life serial killer in Chicago. If you follow real-life serial killers in crime and thriller podcasts, you may enjoy this one. The way in which this was written seems like it was meant for those who already know the nonfictional case that it's based on. Unfortunately, I was not familiar with the case before going into this novel. The author’s note provided some insight into the real-life case. The fictional dramatization of the murders connected the past with fiction. Yet, the mix of fact and fiction did not seem to mesh well, leaving the plot a bit disjointed and flat.

Despite the novel’s shortcomings, the ending was empowering. While I was not routing for any of the characters, the ending turned out to still be a satisfying one. 

With its real-life murder case and satisfying ending, The Perfect Place to Die by Bryce Moore is a  thriller that fans of crime podcasts will definitely enjoy.
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This was an extremely creepy and well-written story set in Chicago during the World's Columbian Exposition (World's Fair) in 1893. I loved how the author took a well-known historical murder situation and personalized it through the fictional story of the sisters, Zuretta and Ruby.

This book was a fast, engaging read! Highly recommended!
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I found this book to be overall super interesting and intriguing. The overall feeling of it gave me vibes of American Horror Story:Hotel. I thought the book was very fast paced and written very well. The story was super captivating and one of the better thrillers I have read recently!
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this eARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Zuretta leaves her small country town for the bright lights of Chicago and the World’s Fair when she realises her sister has gone missing. With the help of a couple of new friends, she discovers her sister’s last place of employment and goes undercover to find out what happened. 

This story is set in the 1890’s and has quite a gothic feel to it, reminding me of the narrative style of Jane Austin or Wilkie Collins. There’s not a huge amount of action in the vast majority of the book, but it does really pick up in the last quarter. Each chapter starts with excerpts from the official “confession” which helped drive the narrative along and was also an interesting glimpse into his mind. 

I thought this book was a really interesting concept, given I’ve read about H. H. Holmes so I knew how this was going to end. This was a fascinating blend of fact and fiction - it felt very true to the backbone of the story, and really only deviated right at the end which I didn’t mind.

Definitely worth looking at if you’re into true crime and looking for something the same but different, or if you’re into gothic horror/thrillers.
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Set during the Chicago World's Fair, Zuretta travels from Utah to look for her sister after her letters stop coming. Once there, she's enveloped in a mystery where several girls have gone missing in a busy city. Zuretta is determined to find out what happened to her sister even though it may mean becoming a victim herself.

A great historical horror for readers who enjoy serial killer mysteries.
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3.5 Stars
Trigger Warning: Parental abuse, violence, murder, serial killer, torture, theft, and betrayal.

Set in the 1890s during the World Fair in Chicago (hilariously the third book set in this time I have read in the span of a month), we follow Zuretta as she searches for her sister Ruby, who has disappeared without a trace. During her search, she discovers that a hotel known as "The Castle" has many disappearances surrounding it and joins the staff to uncover if her sister's disappearance is connected. But she must be careful because when playing a game of cat and mouse, knowing who to trust is how you either stay alive or die.

This book was enjoyable! I liked how determined and adaptable Zuretta was in this story and how she grew from a woman who was abused and knew nothing but a farm life learned and found a way to survive in a new world and to learn from her mistakes instead of letting them drown her. Also, while I enjoyed that Zuretta discovered and defeated the villain and that the side characters helped, it did feel like they were only plot points to help the story, and I would have loved a little more interaction or help.
I will also say it didn't feel like a lot happened, and it is stated (and it is realistic) that waiting is how crimes are solved; I believe it lacked a little more action.

Note that I love True Crime and knew about this serial killer before, so it did affect my enjoyment of the story knowing from the gecko who the villain was, well before it would be obvious—No-fault of the author.
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The Perfect Place to Die shows a familiar case through a new lens and in doing so, creates a blood-soaked tale of family and the pursuit of justice. Moore’s writing is incredibly gripping and Zuretta makes for the type of heroine you root for until the very end. 

This book opens with one hell of a bang. There’s instantly the promise of menace and mass murder. This sets the scene for a bloody tale of death and destruction. The opening notes from the killer’s confession that start the majority of the chapters of the book are genuinely unnerving and creepy. It’s made even worse by the author’s note explaining that these are exact quotations from the real life case. You get sucked into the mindset of this monster, casting a chilling atmosphere over the text. 

As someone fairly familiar with certain infamous serial killer cases in Chicago, the killer was clear from the start. I actually loved the level of historical detail used in Moore’s story, with research being clearly evident in the level of detail and inclusion of precise elements of the case. From the synopsis, I wasn’t expecting this to be presented like any other mystery, but I really liked the way Moore pulled it off. This is a fast-paced plot that you could easily binge in one sitting. The twists and turns are amazing and have such a emotional intensity to them. With the thick atmosphere of suspense and terror, you have the recipe for a tantalizing and compelling story. 

Zuretta is a great protagonist. Her relentless search for the truth shows her integrity and deep-seated loyalty to her sister, which underpins her every action. She is searching in a world that does not believe her and furthermore just does not care about these missing girls. Moore shows how she is constantly belittled and cast aside because of her gender and her background. The detectives she admires so much only let her down, leaving her to take matters into her own hands. I also really enjoyed the inclusion of a supernatural element to her narration, with this grisly premonitions and dreams haunting her. 

The Perfect Place to Die combines chilling real life horror with the personal tragedy of one girl fighting for justice in a world that refuses to acknowledge her.
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Author Bryce Moore takes you into one of history's most ghoulish stories as you travel to the World's Fair Hotel, better known as the Castle, during the Chicago World's Fair. The story moves along well, drawing you through the layers of the Castle as the main character, Zuretta, searches for the story of her sister. Zuretta draws strength from her past as she faces the unknown, traveling from a small town in Utah to Chicago during one of its busiest times in history.

Despite knowing who the villain was in real life, I still felt suspense as I read and I found myself picking up the book whenever I had even a short bit of time to read. Teens who like the darker side of history will enjoy Moore's fictional account.

Thank you to Net Galley for the eArc, all opinions are my own.
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