When I'm Dead by Hannah Morrissey
10/31/23; 320 pages
St. Martin's Press
Black Harbor #3
When I'm Dead by Hannah Morrissey is a highly recommended murder mystery.
It is October in Black Harbor, Wisconsin, Axel and Rowan Winthorp are watching the school play their daughter Chloe has a main role in when they are both called away and instruct Chloe to get a ride home with their neighbor. Axel is a homicide detective in Black Harbor’s police department while Rowan is medical examiner so this isn't the first time the two have had to suddenly leave and Chloe resents this. The scene they are called in to investigate is the death of teenager Madison Caldwell, a good friend of Chloe. The scene is gruesome. Hours later Rowan and Axel discover that Chloe is missing. Now they have a teen murdered, one missing and it looks like the two events are connected making the investigation more complicated and personal.
The narrative is told through the point-of-view of Rowan, Axel, and Libby, the teenage daughter of their neighbor. The characters are pensive, observant, and complicated in this murder mystery.
The list of suspects grows exponentially with each chapter as the
tension also rises with each new detail exposed. Allowing the plot to
develop through the viewpoints of different characters works very well
in When I'm Dead. Each of the three perspectives focus on different details and events which lead to new questions.
Although this is the third novel set in Black Harbor, it can be read
as a standalone since the town is the connection between the novels.
Expect a mean girls vibe, teen drama, bullying, rumors, suspect
educators, and distressing self reflection, all set in the Gothic
atmosphere of an apparently cursed city. For those sticklers of proper
procedures, some disbelief must be utilized since parents would not
normally be officially involved in an investigation, although it is
explained away as the department being so short-handed.