Friday, August 26, 2011

Envy (Empty Coffin #1) by Gregg Olsen (ARC Review)

Genre:Young Adult, Mystery, Crime
Publication.Date  September 6th 2011
Published By:  Splinter
WebsiteGregg Olsen | Empty Coffin

Envy - Goodreads
My review copy:Provided by the publisher (thank you!)
Where to get: Barnes and Noble | Amazon      | Book Depository

Murder is such a dirty word…New York Times bestselling adult true crime author Gregg Olsen makes his YA debut with EMPTY COFFIN, a gripping new fiction series for teens based on ripped-from-the-headlines stories…with a paranormal touch.
Crime lives--and dies--in the deceptively picture-perfect town of Port Gamble (aka “Empty Coffin”), Washington. Evil lurks and strange things happen--and 15-year-olds Hayley and Taylor Ryan secretly use their wits and their telepathic “twin-sense” to uncover the truth about the town's victims and culprits.
Envy, the series debut, involves the mysterious death of the twins' old friend, Katelyn. Was it murder? Suicide? An accident? Hayley and Taylor are determined to find out--and as they investigate, they stumble upon a dark truth that is far more disturbing than they ever could have imagined.
Based on the shocking true crime about cyber-bullying, Envy will take you to the edge--and push you right over.

Please note:  Quotes are from an ARC and will be verified against a published copy.
“Merry Christmas, loser,” she said.
She pulled inside of herself, into that place where there was only a little relief.
The bathtub was nearly full. Steaming. Just waiting.
Katelyn had no idea that, not far away, someone else was doing the exact same thing—just waiting for the right time to make a move.
As fresh tears rolled down her cheeks, Katelyn took off the rest of her clothes, threw them on the floor, and plunged herself into the tub.
The fifteen-year-old was slumped over the edge of the old claw-foot tub, her eyes tiny shards of broken glass, her expression void of anything. Her long, wet hair dripped onto the floor.
“I’d rather know how. I mean, really, an espresso machine in the bathtub? That’s got to be a first ever.”
Taylor nodded, brushing away her tears. She could see the absurdity of it all. “Some snarky blogger is going to say this is proof that coffee isn’t good for you.”
“And write a headline like ‘PORT GAMBLE GIRL MEETS BITTER END,’” Hayley added.
Neither girl knew it right then, but the night Katelyn Berkley died was the beginning of something that would change everything.
Every. Single. Thing.
     Envy is a Young Adult debut novel from the fantastic New York Times bestselling true-crime author, Gregg Olsen. It’s one deliciously dark and eerie read. I devoured it, thoroughly enjoying its creepy atmosphere! Most importantly, the content of this book lives up to its gorgeous cover, which means that if you’re one of the judge-the-book-by-its-cover readers (like me!), you can rest assured - you won’t be disappointed! In fact, you’re in for a quite a treat! 

     Katelyn Berkley, a 15-year-old girl from the small town of Port Gamble, Washington is found dead in her house. Her body, discovered by her alcoholic mother, is slumped over the edge of the old claw-foot tub. There’s also a mini espresso machine floating in the bathtub. An ESPRESSO MACHINE in the BATHTUB – how weird is that? What could possibly have happened? Did Katie commit a suicide? Why would she choose to electrocute herself with a coffee maker of all things? Or maybe it wasn’t a suicide at all? Sure, she was depressed lately due to the falling out between her and her best friend. And no, her family is not by any means a perfect one, but was it enough to make her want to end her life? Or is there something more to the story? Is there SOMEONE else behind her tragic death? 

    Sounds like a typical whodunit story? Well, it’s not! There’s so much more to this book than just the mystery of Katie’s death (which BTW is not what you’d originally assume – in the words of Stephen King, do not assume, assuming makes an ass out of you and me! Get it? Ass+U+Me)! What we have here is a solid, well thought-out and skillfully executed plot, rich palette of really intriguing characters, whole bunch of unexpected twists and turns and a breathtakingly gritty atmosphere. All that sprinkled with a bit of supernatural (not too much,though, just a tiny little bit!) to top off the already delicious read! 

     The lead protagonists of this story are twins, Hayley and Taylor Ryan. These two are not your typical teen girls, although you might not be able to tell that at first. They both attend the local high school and are busy with the regular day-to-day teenage stuff: boys, friends, homework. Their father is a well-known and successful crime book writer and their mother used to be a psychiatric nurse at a state mental hospital in Seattle. The world of crime, murder, mystery and creepiness is nothing new to them. Daily dinner talks about stranglers, serial killers, murder plots and thousand ways to die are basically a routine around the Ryan’s family household. There are very few things that could possibly disturb or shake them, but unfortunately a sudden death of a class mate is one of them. See, there’s something very special about Hayley and Taylor – not only is their sisterly bond extremely strong, but they can also sense certain things. A sixth sense?  An ability to communicate with the dead? Some other mysterious paranormal power? We don’t know that yet, but whatever it is, it makes them very sensitive to their surroundings. They are able to feel things that no one else can detect. Sometimes they’re drawn to certain objects, other times they have visions. Neither twin can explain the sensations, but they both know one thing for sure– they are never wrong. And when they visit Katelyn’s house, they get a feeling that Katelyn did not want to die. Something happened here, someone did that to her, and Hayley and Taylor are now the only ones who can uncover the mystery of Katie’s death. Will they be able to find the person responsible for their friend’s death? To find the answer to this and other questions you are going to have to read the book yourself! And don’t expect to have everything served to you on a silver platter. Gregg Olsen is the master of mystery. He will keep you guessing all the way to the end and even when you hit the back cover you still won’t have all the answers. Quite to the contrary, you will be left with even more burning questions and painful craving for the next book in Empty Coffin series

     Hands down, this was really one awesome read. It’s definitely not your typical YA book. There are no vampires, faeries, zombies, angels or any other mystical creatures. There isn’t much of the paranormal stuff, either. It’s a good old crime mystery with a sneak peak of something truly dark and supernatural lurking in the dark. The supernatural part is very vague and almost non-existent, but that only makes it spookier. Olsen did a really great job balancing it out, focusing mainly on the crime mystery and letting us get to know the lead characters in the process – brilliant move! At the same time, the way the book ends suggest that we’re about to step into an unknown, scary and possibly supernatural territory. That makes me want to read the next book even more! Oh, and did you know that the murder mystery is based on an actual cyberbullying crime that took place back in 2006? Go get yourself a copy! It’s worth every penny.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Vacation Special: 

me reading Envy on top of the mountain in Glacier National Park, Canada.
I carried it all the way up to the top.
And it was WORTH IT.


Midnyte Reader said...

First of all, that is an AMAZING picture of you reading that book on the mountain. Second, this is the 2nd book I've seen with a gal in a bathtub (can't remember the name of the other book), so odd. Third, it sounds really amazing and I love dark mysteries. I'm looking forward to reading something without vamps or fairies. Thanks for great review.

Liz. R said...

I love the sound of this one! I love a good murder mystery, plus the supernatural element sounds awesome! really glad you liked this, I can't wait to read it. Fab review!

Bree said...

Super jealous of your reading spot. It's so beautiful! Kudos on taking the picture.

Unknown said...

Gonna have to put it in my TBR pile ASAP. Esp. if it was great enough for you to haul to the top of a mountain!!



Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Sounds spectacular although I would probably be too scared.

Danielle said...

You made this book sound really great! I'm going to try to read it soon :) I also loved that picture of you reading on the mountain.

I also have a YA book blog. If you feel like checking it out, here's the link:

I look forward to reading your other reviews!

Munnaza said...

I love murder mysteries and intense, suspenseful novels, so I'm really looking forward to reading this. The synopsis grabbed me in, I absolutely love how chilling and dark the cover is, and the fact that you love the characters, that there is so much depth to them, only makes me want to read it more. This book sounds refreshing, and woah, five stars? *adding to to-read list* Thank you for the review!

Tiffany Holme said...

Never heard of this book before now. However after reading your review i would have to say I will be putting it in my wish list!!

FairyWhispers said...

the cover's kinda crrepy


u went all the way up there!

must have been a good reading experince!

Unknown said...

The cover of the book is so creepy! Great picture of you!

WickedWillow said...

Loved your review! This book sounds perfect! I can't wait to get my hands on it! And it was based on a true story!? :O
Off I go google now!

Kat said...

Nice picture on the bottom. :)
And I definitely need to read this! The cover is just so amazingly creepy!

Bailey said...

Great review! I've wanted to read this book just from the book trailer and description alone but your review totally makes me wish I had a copy I could start reading ASAP!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like an absolutely amazing book and I'll have to see if I can get a hand on a copy, although I'll probably read this during a nice, sunny day as opposed to a dark, stormy night.

Jaime Lester said...

Envy is the first book of this type that I have read, and I was a little unsure how I was going to feel about it. Actually, I really enjoyed it. I really liked the message that was sent to readers from every page of this book. I think cyberbullying is so much worse and can do so much more damage than people give it credit for, and I am glad that the word got out in a book that is also a great read. Hopefully, it opens some eyes! Thanks for your review!


Enbrethiliel said...


Wow! I can't think of another YA novel that combines true crime knowledge, criminal psychology and paranormal elements like this. And now I want to read it--if only to be a fly on the wall during the Ryan family's macabre dinner conversations. LOL!

Irina said...

Great review! This mix of genres sounds very interesting; the cover reminds me of a movie..."The Ring" I think.
Nice picture!!!:)

Anonymous said...

This was recently recommended to me by a friend, and I've added it to my to-read list; your review just makes me even more interested! I love creepy books, and Envy sounds incredibly intriguing. Thanks so much for the review!

Unknown said...

The cover of this book is totally amazing. Loved the cover, and I love this kind of genre either.

Thank u for your review. You gave 5 stars for this book, which means this is a must have item :)

gracelo said...

This sounds great! I've heard a whole ton about Betrayal, the second in the series, and want to read this soon! I especially like the fact that it's not paranormal, just a dark mystery with something out of the norm. I've gotta get this soon!

Unknown said...

The cover is really creepy. Love it!

Bianca said...

The cover is so creepy but I really want to read this book. Glad you liked it. Thanks for the review :D

Unknown said...

I just discovered your blog today and I must say I love your taste in books. Since November I've been hunting the online world of great book in the genre of paranormal, horror, mystery, thriller and suspense, and I see you have reviewed quite a lot! This one here looks like an excellent read!

Thanks and have a fun holiday! And more books to come!

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