Book Review & Giveaway! ‘Wanted: Dead or in Love’ by Kym Brunner

Book cover Wanted: Dead or in Love by Kym BrunnerThe Low Down: High School grad Monroe works at her dad’s gangster-inspired restaurant/dinner theater. She is biding her time, trying to stay out of trouble so she can have a clean slate and head off to NYU in the fall. When her father returns from an auction with more gangster paraphernalia to be displayed in the restaurant, something in particular catches Monroe’s eye. Her personal favorite bad guys are Bonnie and Clyde, and her father has scored not only a couple of the slugs from the scene of their ambush, but a handwritten poem by Bonnie.

Prying open the lucite box that holds the bullets, she cuts her finger. While grasping the contents, it’s as if she becomes part of a scene from Bonnie and Clyde’s past. When she comes to, Monroe, unable to return the bullets to their display case, shoves them in her pocket. But as she thinks and wonders, she hears a voice in her head…and soon figures out that it is none other than Bonnie herself.

At a party that night, Monroe unknowingly allows Clyde to inhabit the body of a fellow party-goer, Jack. As the two spirit stowaways try to figure out how to return from the dead (and to each other), Monroe and Jack learn of a way that they could send Bonnie and Clyde back where they came from – but not without a few thefts, assaults and revelations along the way.

Best Thang ‘Bout It: This book is both well-written and well-researched. The Bonnie and Clyde angle was fresh and new. Having grown up in the Dallas suburbs, I am quite familiar with their tale, and thoroughly enjoyed its use here. While the chapters are told by either Monroe or Clyde (giving a hint of who is important in the story), I find Clyde’s chapters are the most interesting (in his voice and the vernacular of the time when Clyde first operated a Browning Automatic Rifle). While he knows he is now in the modern world, he still thinks in the mindset of someone from the 20s/30s, as someone who had to scrabble to survive; where injustice and inequality and bad cops ran rampant. As a result, his instincts and reactions are from a time where his behavior was (almost) justified by a public that wanted the underdog to win.

I’m Cranky Because: Oh Jack. He is a literary chump, only there to serve as a vehicle for Clyde. He is unlikable (though that’s understandable, since he had no choice in what’s happened to him), and whenever he’s on the page, I knew he was just going to moan, complain and then Clyde would take over.

My main issue, however, is with this: when Clyde first takes over Jack’s body, there’s an assault. I spent the rest of the book wondering how the heck this was going to be resolved, since it was Jack’s body, Jack’s car, etc., that was seen, though “Clyde” had done the deed. Who would believe that Jack didn’t do it, that he was being inhabited by Clyde? Since the answer is NO ONE, this drove me crazy. While I don’t need to have things tied up in a neat little bow (and SPOILER ALERT, this book way isn’t), it made me a little wary of the story. I didn’t want to care about these characters, you know? Maybe the author intended for the reader to think that the book’s ending would take place in a hail of gunfire, just like the Bonnie and Clyde’s demise. Regardless, it made me take a step back.

The Bottom Line: Overall, this was an entertaining book with some interesting characters, especially Bonnie and Clyde. I recommend it to all my gangsta-lovin’ crew.

Wanted: Dead or in Love by Kym Brunner was published June 30, 2014 by Merit Press. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to the Publisher and the Author.

Rating: 3

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Fantasy Historical Action/Adventure
Ages: 14 and up
You Might Want to Know: Sexual references, imbibing, profanity, violence. Whaddya gonna do?

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