Review: Almost Dead by T.R. Ragan *spoilers at the bottom of the post*

Yet another book that I had requested from NetGalley. Let’s just say that when I discovered NetGalley, I went a little crazy with the titles before realizing that all of the books I requested were all coming out within a few weeks, or even a few days of each other.
 
I promise that I will be posting reviews of non-review books, but for the most part, a good portion of the reviews in January and February will be NetGalley e-ARCs.
 
I will warn you that this review is a little more on the ranty side, mostly because there were several elements that I didn’t get. But I did think it was a decent read and I did enjoy it. Sadly, it didn’t quite live up to the expectations I had.



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Almost Dead by T. R. Ragan

 

Almost Dead is the 5th book in the Lizzy Gardner series by T.R. Ragan. The series falls under the genre of Mystery & Thriller, and lies on the slightly more sadistic side of the line. At least, that’s how I saw it.
 
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
 
 
Synopsis:
Lizzy Gardner’s fiancé was shot on their wedding day, and now he’s on life support. As expected, her life starts to spiral, but not before a series of strange deaths force her back to work. Solving these strange deaths and trying to make a decision regarding her fiancé’s life, Lizzy finds herself in the most stressful situation yet.
 
 
Rating: 3.5 stars
 
 
Thoughts:
After having read Never Smile at Strangers earlier this week, I was on a Mystery & Thriller kick. And this happened to be in that genre too, so I was expecting really great things. Even the ratings and reviews on Goodreads had me excited (this book has a 4.41 star rating currently and the whole series has an overall rating of 4 stars). So picture me going into this book all happy and excited for a great mystery adventure.
 
Within the first chapter, I was confused. It took me a minute or so to figure out exactly what I was reading, and then that this was written differently from how I had initially expected. 
 
Okay, confusion passed. Time to get into the book. Yeah, that never really happened. I mean, I liked the book, I really did, but something was lacking. I didn’t feel a connection to the characters and the mystery didn’t really seem all that mysterious or thrilling to me. That might be because I haven’t read the first four books in the Lizzy Gardner series, but I didn’t really understand how the plot was supposed to be mysterious.
 
It was a good plot, don’t get me wrong. In fact, it was a great plot and I really liked it. But for a completely different reason that I had expected. I won’t disclose it here, as I am trying to keep this spoiler free, but I will include a section at the bottom for those of you who want to know what it is, or have already read the book.
 
Nothing really took me by surprise and I felt like there were all these small storylines that keep appearing, but didn’t do much to aid the overall plot. Maybe that’s how these books are written, I’m not exactly sure. I do intend to find out at some point though, and I have acquired the first 4 books to read in the future.
 
There was something I got really confused about though. Is it common for these books to have little plots that are kind of resolved, but not really? Cause there were some things that I wanted to know more about and I wanted to see how they unfolded, but we just never got it. Or we would get a small storyline and then leave it for about 50-80 pages, come back, and I’d have forgotten it even existed in the first place.
 
The ending also didn’t sit well with me. I felt like nothing was really resolved and that it was all a little rushed. There are two storylines in particular that I feel like were left on a more open-ended note, and I didn’t like that.
 
And lastly, I don’t get why this is called “Almost Dead,” because it literally has so little to do with the book. I suppose that the ending sort of explained it, but other than that, it really didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Or was there a whole thing that I just didn’t understand?
 
 
Characters:
I didn’t like Lizzy Gardner. I think I would’ve liked her if I didn’t start with the last book, but since I did, I didn’t care much for her character. Her method of doing things and how she didn’t care about her assistants until halfway through the book really annoyed me. I get that she’s going through a hard time, but starting the series the way I did, she just seemed really heartless to me.
 
Haley….I don’t know how I feel about her. She came across as somewhat trigger-happy and pessimistic of everything. At some points, I kinda liked her, but I can’t really describe what I feel toward this character.
 
Kitally confused the heck out of me in the beginning. I didn’t realize/find out until the end of the book that she’s 19, which changed the way I saw her. I don’t have much to say about her, except that I’d like to see what happens after this book with her storyline.
Other characters in the book didn’t particularly appeal to me. I found many of them to be excessively whiney and annoying. There was one character who had part of her storyline just end without an explanation, which I was mildly irritated by. Interestingly enough, her storyline was my favorite, though I can’t say I really liked her as a character.

 

Overall:
Again, 3.5 stars. I think T. R. Ragan does a good job of creating characters that aren’t necessarily the most likable, though I’m not sure if that was her intention. It would appear to me that she portrays her characters more like actual people, flawed and not always the best of humanity. That, I did like about the book.
 
I thought it was a decent read, and while I wasn’t super intrigued with it, I will, at some point, pick up the first books and see if my opinion changes after reading them.
 
 
Acknowledgements:
Thank you to NetGalley for having this available as an e-ARC for review. Also a thank you to Thomas & Mercer for putting this up on NetGalley in the first place.
 
 
Spoiler section:
*DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE SPOILED OR HAVE ALREADY FINISHED READING THE BOOK*
 
Okay, so I ended up liking Jenny’s storyline the best out of everything. Don’t ask me why, maybe I’m just secretly a sadist or something, but I thought she had the most interesting storyline. I liked that she was smart and all that, but I didn’t like that she was never caught. I also didn’t get the voice in her head. Was she schizophrenic? Did she just not like herself? Was it her conscience that she was arguing with? What exactly was it? It seemed like it played a huge part in everything and then *poof* it was gone. Also, her storyline was never entirely resolved and I really don’t like that.
I really wanted to know how things played out with Lizzy’s brother-in-law, sister, and niece. Was it just me, or was that storyline mildly important and just left without a proper conclusion?

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