Rating: 2 stars
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Three teens did something last summer that will come back to haunt them, big time. Veronica hit Mason with a rock and she, along with her boyfriend, Brandon, and her best friend, Cody, aren’t sure if she killed him. The boys help Veronica cover up the fact that it happened, but then they get a threatening note—one that tells them someone knows what they did to Mason and that they aren’t going to get away with it. As their stalker escalates their threats and dangerous things begin to befall the three teens and their loved ones, they try to unravel the mystery of what happened to Mason’s body—when they ran off to get help, they returned to discover it missing. Could Mason still be alive?
Amidst all the drama, a new boy moves in next door to Cody and they begin to hit it off. Noah wants to move slowly, especially since he has a secret that can never get out. But Noah really likes Cody and as their relationship blossoms, Noah struggles with keeping exactly what he is from the boy who is quickly stealing his heart. Maybe learning that Noah is a grim reaper won’t scare Cody away, but can Noah take that chance and lose the first boy he’s ever really fallen for?
Author Chris Bedell has released a paranormal mystery that has multiple twists and turns. Deathly Desires is a murder mystery, a first love romance, and a supernatural relationship all rolled into one. There were several elements to Deathly Desires that I felt were either underplayed or intrinsically wrong in this novel. Without giving too much away plot-wise, I want to begin with the language. Given the premise that Noah became a grim reaper in 1770 and did so when his mother died, it seemed rather implausible that his mother would use a phrase like “shit happens” or even encourage Noah to get a “boyfriend” right before she goes to join the afterlife. I am certain that neither that phrase or that term was used in that century. Then there was the modern day language used by the three juniors in high school that sounded way too adult considering their age and the threats they were under. They often spoke as if the danger was outside themselves and they were bored with the entire thing. Also, they rationalized what was happening to them as if they were much older than sixteen and their language reflected that.
Secondly, the lack of reaction on Brandon and Veronica’s part when they were informed that Noah was indeed a grim reaper just stunned me. I am fairly certain that there should have been either shock, incredulity, or even outright mocking of Cody for even asserting it. But instead, they took it in stride—much like they did most of the events that took place that threatened either their lives directly or those they loved. They were either totally blasé about what was happening or “screaming” at one another in response. I quoted screaming because that was used often to describe someone’s verbal reaction to something someone either said or did. It was so over the top as a descriptor because it was used way too often. I just couldn’t get a handle on these kids—were they scared? Self-absorbed? They certainly didn’t act like any teens I have come in contact with and I have taught them for years, as well as raised two of my own.
Thirdly, the thing between Mason and Cody and Noah nearly did my head in. Noah and Cody were boyfriends, then had a conflict and were on a break, then Cody sleeps with Mason. Noah hates it, but just wants Cody back so he forgives him. Cody is mad at Noah for not trusting him, but then lusts after Mason the first chance he gets and ends up kissing him and enjoying it even though it’s supposed to be just a ploy to fool Mason and get his confession…I was lost—I really, truly was. The entire time Cody, plus everyone around him, was telling himself that Mason is an evil worm, yet Cody does things with Mason that contradict even his own opinion of the guy. I tried to justify it with the idea that Cody was under stress and Mason was his first crush. However, when he later kissed the guy after discovering just how manipulative and evil Mason was and actually loved it, that was it for me. I get slipping up once, but not two or three times—it simply didn’t make sense.
Finally, while there’s no indication that this is the beginning of a series or might have a sequel, the ending is definitely a cliffhanger and I was shocked to see that many of the plot pieces were left unfinished. Here’s hoping the author releases another story about this group for to leave it as it is would be tough for fans of this novel. For myself, I became distracted by what I felt were multiple problems in the book and found that the appeal of the story was diminished by all the flaws I discovered.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that between a plot that rarely made sense and was full of holes, the editing errors that were so blatant I am not sure how they weren’t caught, and characters that acted years older than they actually were, I think it’s safe to say I really felt Deathly Desires needed a serious rewrite and some good editing. I think author Chris Bedell has some the ability to create a story; the idea the novel was based on was a solid one, it simply wasn’t executed with enough finesse.