You'd Look Better as a Ghost: A Novel

You'd Look Better as a Ghost: A Novel

by Joanna Wallace

Narrated by Fiona Hardingham

Unabridged — 9 hours, 37 minutes

You'd Look Better as a Ghost: A Novel

You'd Look Better as a Ghost: A Novel

by Joanna Wallace

Narrated by Fiona Hardingham

Unabridged — 9 hours, 37 minutes

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

Perfect for fans of darkly hilarious thrillers featuring slightly demented protagonists. You won't be able to stop yourself from rooting for the murderer.

“Refreshingly original and laugh-out-loud funny.”*-Clare Mackintosh, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Party

A comic thriller following the trials and tribulations of Claire, a part-time serial killer, who is keen to keep her favorite hobby a secret-despite the efforts of a determined blackmailer


The night after her father's funeral, Claire meets Lucas in a bar. Lucas doesn't know it, but it's not a chance meeting. One thoughtless mistyped email has put him in the crosshairs of an extremely put-out serial killer. But before they make eye contact, before Claire lets him buy her a drink-even before she takes him home and carves him up into little pieces-something about that night is very wrong. Because someone is watching Claire. Someone who is about to discover her murderous little hobby.

The thing is, it's not sensible to tangle with a part-time serial killer, even one who is distracted by attending a weekly bereavement support group and trying to get her art career off the ground. Will Claire finish off her blackmailer before her pursuer reveals all? Let the games begin . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

02/19/2024

An irritable 30-something serial killer narrates Wallace’s deliciously eerie and darkly funny debut. While attending her father’s funeral, struggling visual artist Claire receives an email from Lucas Kane, administrator of a prestigious art prize, informing her that her painting has been shortlisted. Claire is elated, but the following morning, Lucas sends a contrite follow-up clarifying that the first message was sent in error. Considering his apology insincere, Claire stalks, seduces, murders, and buries Lucas in her back garden. Then her doctor, believing there’s a link between Claire’s blinding headaches and her grief over her father’s death, suggests she join a bereavement counseling group that meets weekly in a suburban London church hall. She reluctantly agrees, and it’s there that her problems truly begin: one of the group’s fellow members knows about Claire’s killings, and attempts to pressure her into joining a “grubby startup blackmailing business” that Lucas was involved with. As that cat-and-mouse game unfolds, Wallace weaves in poignant flashbacks from Claire’s childhood that shed light on her relationship with her father. Wallace nails Claire’s prickly voice (regarding her hippie-ish grief counselor: “I’m not disputing any of her credentials, but to me, Star looks like someone out-of-her-bloody-mind-fulness”), making readers more than happy to root for the unrepentant murderer as she navigates a series of surprising obstacles. It’s an uncommonly assured debut from a promising new voice in crime fiction. Agent: Cathryn Summerhayes, Curtis Brown U.K. (Apr.)

From the Publisher

Praise for You'd Look Better as a Ghost:

“Dark, creepy, and wholly fascinating, Wallace's imagining of the mind of a successful serial killer will be appreciated by readers who don’t mind sleeping with one eye open.”
Booklist

“Deliciously eerie and darkly funny. . . an uncommonly assured debut from a promising new voice in crime fiction.”
—Publishers Weekly

“The female serial killer as antihero is a growing subgenre (see Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer, 2018), and Wallace’s sociopathic protagonist is a mordantly amusing addition. . . Dexter meets Killing Eve.”
Kirkus

“A welcome addition to the burgeoning subgenre of darkly humorous female serial killer novels. . . You’d Look Better as a Ghost and its ilk are, I suspect, 'Marmite' books. If you’re a fan, this one will be a treat: a pacey page-turner, written in an enjoyably deadpan style.”
The Guardian (UK)

“This darkly comedic thriller turns serial killer convention on its head, mainly because you can't help but root for protagonist Claire. . . Utterly unique and an absolute roller-coaster of a read.”
Daily Mail (UK)

“Horrifying and hilarious in equal measure.”
Woman and Home (UK)

“This is a splendidly funny and buoyant, even jolly, novel. . . There are some deliciously ingenious twists. . . it's first-class escapist entertainment—the most fun you're ever likely to have with a hammer-wielding maniac.”
Daily Express (UK)

“Refreshingly original and laugh-out-loud funny. This is a superb debut.”
—Clare Mackintosh, #1 international bestselling author of A Game of Lies

“If you loved 'Killing Eve,' Wallace’s giddy dark ride will be your private Eden, filled with serpent-like twists beguiling you to bite! Her enticing wit had me enthralled and outwitted!”
—Rupert Holmes, New York Times bestselling author of Murder Your Employer

“Delightfully shocking and irreverently funny, this is a pitch-black comedy horror with a heart. . .  of stone. Roll-up for your one-way ticket to the warped world of a glamorous psychopath and her relentless succession of hapless victims.”
—Janice Hallett, international bestselling author of The Appeal

“Wallace had me at the title and kept me reading late into the night. Wicked, funny and charming, a delicious combination.”
—Sascha Rothchild, author of Blood Sugar

Kirkus Reviews

2024-02-03
Dexter meets Killing Eve in Wallace’s dark comic thriller debut.

While accepting condolences following her father’s funeral, 30-something narrator Claire receives an email saying that one of her paintings is a finalist for a prize. But her joy is short-circuited the next morning when she learns in a second apologetic note that the initial email had been sent to the wrong Claire. The sender, Lucas Kane, is “terribly, terribly sorry” for his mistake. Claire, torn between her anger and suicidal thoughts, has doubts about his sincerity and stalks him to a London pub, where his fate is sealed: “I stare at Lucas Kane in real life, and within moments I know. He doesn’t look sorry.” She dispatches and buries Lucas in her back garden, but this crime does not go unnoticed. Proud of her meticulous standards as a serial killer, Claire wonders if her grief for her father is making her reckless as she seeks to identify the blackmailer among the members of her weekly bereavement support group. The female serial killer as antihero is a growing subgenre (see Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer, 2018), and Wallace’s sociopathic protagonist is a mordantly amusing addition; the tool she uses to interact with ordinary people while hiding her homicidal nature is especially sardonic: “Whenever I’m unsure of how I’m expected to respond, I use a cliché. Even if I’m not sure what it means, even if I use it incorrectly, no one ever seems to mind.” The well-written storyline tackles some tough subjects—dementia, elder abuse, and parental cruelty—but the convoluted plot starts to drag at the halfway point. Given the lack of empathy in Claire’s narration, most of the characters come across as not very likable, and the reader tires of her sneering contempt.

Squeamish readers will find this isn’t their cup of tea.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940159402103
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 03/26/2024
Edition description: Unabridged
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