Sometimes real life horror gets in the way of doing things you need or want to do and that has been the case for me lately. Once I finally was able to sit down and read Bryce Moore’s The Perfect Place to Die, I couldn’t put it down. I read it in less than 24 hours and although it has some flaws, I loved every page of it. It’s a fun and twisted spin on one of the most notorious murderers in history, Dr. H. H. Holmes.
Synopsis for The Perfect Place to Die
When Zuretta’s sister, Ruby, travels to Chicago, and disappears, Zuretta leaves home to find her. She has a little bit of money from her Utah church, an abiding fandom of the legendary Pinkertons, and a deep hope and faith of finding Ruby soon.
After a series of mishaps, she claws her way forward, taking a job in the very place her sister Ruby last worked—a hotel owned by notorious serial killer Dr. H. H. Holmes. But Zuretta’s efforts to find out what happened to her sister don’t go unnoticed, and before long, she finds herself up against one of the most infamous mass murderers in American history—and his custom-built death trap.
I think the fact that I know very little about H. H. Holmes, besides the fact the he was a notorious murderer, actually came into favor when reading The Perfect Place to Die. Although this story is fictionalized quite a bit, I really loved it; the layers, mystery, and build up. It was also intriguing to learn more about him, the castle aka his murder house of horror, and some of his victims. Bryce Moore does a fantastic job at delivering suspense, mystery, and both lovable and horrific characters.
The character development throughout the story is a little all over the place especially with the main character, Zuretta. Don’t get me wrong. She was an amazing and brave young woman, taking on far too much for a 17 year old and had several admirable characteristics. However, she was a bit of doozy to understand. She wouldn’t stand up to her father, but she was brave enough to take on a mysterious killer? A little iffy, but can be excused by the mere fact that she would have done anything to find her sister. But she constantly acts far too mature for her age, despite knowing nothing of the real world, and that type of naivety is embarrassing to say the least. It seems to she never really learns from her mistakes. She may have became more cautious, but still struggled with asking the hard questions and seeing the obvious conclusions when they were right under her nose. So, not the greatest detective in my opinion, but definitely a work in progress.
I was also a little puzzled to why the author would name a character Henry Holmes and take away some of the mystery around the story. I would love to his pick his brain about it or perhaps I’ll stumble on an article in which he explains it in-depth. I did notice that this was something other reviewers and readers wondered about as well. I also wouldn’t consider this a YA thriller. The main character may be 17 but it plays very little significance and you would never know that if not told. I’m a huge lover of all genres especially YA, but I think The Perfect Place to Die is more suitable for ages 17 and up.
Despite its few flaws, The Perfect Place to Die is an enthralling thriller that you won’t want to put down until you know all the answers. It’s the perfect mystery horror for your Spooky Fall reading list, so make sure to check it out!