Book Review: “You Owe Me A Murder” by Eileen Cook

Cover of "You Owe Me A Murder" by Eileen Cook.

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “You Owe Me A Murder” by Eileen Cook! Here’s the summary so we know what it’s about:

“17-year-old Kim never expected to plot a murder. But that was before her boyfriend dumped her for another girl. Now, Kim’s stuck on a class trip to London with him and his new soulmate and she can’t help wishing he was a little bit dead, even if she’d never really do that.

But when Kim meets Nicki, a stranger on the plane who’s more than willing to listen to Kim’s woes, things start to look up. Nicki’s got a great sense of humor, and when she jokes about swapping murders, Kim plays along—that is, until Kim’s ex-boyfriend mysteriously dies.

Blackmailed by Nicki to fulfill her end of the deal, Kim will have to commit a murder or take the fall for one.”

Plot development: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I felt that the plot was slow in the beginning and stretched out the first half for too long. It took too much time in the first third of the book to establish the setting and situation that our main protagonist, Kim, was stuck in, and also took far too much time for Nicki and Kim to meet and chat about the potential of murdering Connor (though Kim was joking at the time) before the actual murder of Connor happened. However, the pacing was slightly better by the second half of the book overall, as actions drove the overall plot a bit faster than in the first half.

I felt that some of the plot twists of Nicki not really being who she says she is, as revealed late in the book, was a bit too easy to call. Even if we had little-to-no-clue as of who she was right until then, it seemed that she was sketchy enough for me as a reader to figure out that she probably wasn’t who she said she was. However, I do think that the concept of the plot was an interesting one to explore overall, with having one character murder the other character’s ex and then have them threatened to murder someone for them in return or else.

Character development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Romance development: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The romance between Kim and Alex that developed had a nice development overall, but could have used more chemistry. It was overall healthy (or at least as healthy as it can get, given the harrowing situation they were both thrown into, no thanks to Nicki). However, I felt that there were barely any moments that felt like the romantic connection grew between them. The execeptions were one scene where they literally sleep beside each other about halfway through the book, and a couple of parts where Alex affirms his interest in Kim. I didn’t feel like Kim felt the same way about him at all at first, not until he got an allergic reaction and she had to get help for him.

I felt that all the characters individually were underdeveloped, even Kim. Despite the exposition on her family life, and her past relationship with Connor being discussed throughout the novel, I felt that I didn’t really feel a connection to Kim as a person. I didn’t know much about what she liked or what kind of things she did in her spare time, or what made her tick. However, I think that was due to the effort being put into her development of her relationships with parents and Alex, as well as discussing her past relationship with Connor. Also, kudos to Kim for not actually murdering the person Nicki wanted her to murder and warn said person about the situation instead. Had Kim actually murdered the person, I doubt it would end well for anyone, despite Nicki’s promise to not frame Kim for Connor’s murder in return.

Overall, I’m rating this book 3 out of 5 stars for the lack of character development and lack of pacing.

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