Cover Image: The Perfect Place to Die

The Perfect Place to Die

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Unfortunately, this novel was not for me. I think the main issue (that happens to be a personal pet peeve) was the author's attempt to be relatable. And by that, I mean that I immediately looked him up because I could tell the main character was a woman written by a man- something I definitely shouldn't be able to tell. At all. But honestly, that wasn't even my biggest issue with the book. I already knew of H. H. Holmes before The Perfect Place to Die, so I figured out the identity of the killer as soon as his character entered the picture. I liked the confessions at the beginning of each chapter, though, as I felt they added a much-needed air of mystery. I also didn't feel attached to the main character because of how unrealistic she was, and therefore, I couldn't bring myself to care about her search for her sister. Overall, I think this book had a lot of potential, but I found myself not able to finish it (I got about halfway through before I DNF-ed it).
Was this review helpful?
i was drawn to this novel by its premise and setting: i've always been interested in YA historical fiction, and i have *never* encountered such a story set in chicago at the infamous murder castle. even better was my excitement that i'd be reading a story of sisters, about the complex yearning - love & grief - when one disappears.

while i found moore's prose quite readable, i had a difficult time connecting to any of the characters. our protagonist, zuretta, didn't feel particularly relatable or nuanced; as other reviewers have noted, she seemed a good deal more mature than her years. the mystery and setting were atmospheric, but the overall plot felt unremarkable to me - probably because i struggled to emotionally connect with the characters and their stakes.

overall, not a bad story whatsoever! just not my cup of tea.


many thanks to netgalley and sourcebooks fire for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The Perfect Place to Die is one of those books that has a really slow start, but it's one that you feel so relieved that you kept reading as when it really picks up it's a fantastic and very atmospheric, enjoyable read.
Was this review helpful?
The linking or real life crimes and criminals, Jack The Ripper and H.H. Holmes, was very interesting to me but I don't think was explored enough, I wanted more. The characters weren't relatable and I ended up not really caring for any of them.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed The Perfect Place to Die!

It is a historical mystery/thriller, set in 1890s Chicago. Our main character, Zurreta, sets off to look for her missing sister and ends up taking a job at a mysterious hotel called The Castle. There she discovers there are more women going missing at an alarming rate.

I had fun reading this take on the H. H. Holmes murders. I also really liked the setting and atmosphere that was created during this time period. I will say, however, it did get a little slow at times and it’s not much of a mystery if you’re familiar with the real case. 
All in all, it was an enthralling read  and I’m excited for what the author does next.
Was this review helpful?
This was incredibly slow paced and hard to get into. I don't even have 100 or so words to say about it. It sounded promising, it just didn't deliver.
Was this review helpful?
I could not get into this story. The naivete of the main character felt extreme to me, and the initial conflict of being robbed on her first night in Chicago was resolved too quickly to be believable to me.
In all fairness, I do not think I am the intended audience for this novel. 

Thank you for the advanced copy.
Was this review helpful?
I don’t know why I had assumed this book was written by a woman but once I realized a man had written it, it kind of made sense. I don’t think men can write realistic women at all, unfortunately. Zuretta seemed not real but also came off as an old woman. Possibly also because this takes place in the past so that’s why she was written this way? I don’t know but in any case I couldn’t connect to her. It’s an easy read even if it’s a little slow sometimes. It wasn't bad overall but not my favorite! I think it's interesting it is based off real event as well.
Was this review helpful?
The Perfect Place To Die sells the premise of a YA mystery that merges a real-life serial killer with historical fiction, to mixed results. It involves a young girl, Zuretta, looking for her missing sister where she has to deal with unsavoury characters and go undercover as a maid. I thought the setting, taking place during the World's Fair in Chicago was interesting and I enjoyed the information about how people lived back then which feels immersive. The Castle Hotel is described in detail and adds to the claustrophobic and creepy vibes.

I knew going in that it would be about H.H. Holmes so unfortunately there isn't a lot of tension in the story. I did like the inclusion of his confession at the start of each chapter, but it would've been more exciting if we don't know his identity from the start. While I liked Zuretta's courage and determination, I thought she made decisions that made no sense. So the ending feels implausible in some ways. I also wish we had seen more of her relationship with her sister, Ruby, so that there's more emotional weight to her search. I still enjoyed the book overall due to the compelling writing. This would be suitable for fans of YA historical fiction and I suggest you don't look into H.H. Holmes before reading the book.
Was this review helpful?
This book was so atmospheric and I couldn't put it down. The author paced it perfectly and the mystery was so well woven!
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
"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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?