She Died Famous by Kyle Rutkin — ARC Review

She Died Famous by Kyle RutkinSummary:

A gripping psychological thriller about iconic superstar, Kelly Trozzo, and her suspected killer, the author she commissioned to pen her shocking Hollywood memoir.

A Star is Born meets Gone Girl, in this dark and twisted love story with an unforgettable conclusion.

The headline read: “Hollywood Superstar Kelly Trozzo Found Dead.”

With no suspect in custody, authorities turn their attention to best-selling author Kaleb Reed, whose obsessive relationship with the star has been followed by social media and tabloids alike.

In his online confession, Reed claims that his relationship with Trozzo began with a tweet, an unexpected endorsement from the pop star herself. Almost overnight, Reed’s novel garners national attention, and the reclusive writer is thrust into the spotlight. But according to Reed, the endorsement came with a price.

In the days that follow, Reed is invited to Trozzo’s Los Angeles mansion, where he is solicited to write her memoir. Lured by her physical appeal and charisma, Reed delves further and further into Trozzo’s fantasy world, ensnared by a twisted story of betrayal and vengeance.

On the night of Trozzo’s death, Reed finally discovers his true role in this story, as well as the pop star’s alternative ending to his famous novel—one that leads to his arrest.

Set in Hollywood, She Died Famous is an innovative thriller that exposes the dark side of fame and obsession in today’s digital landscape. The story’s shocking twists and unreliable narrator will have every reader asking: Who killed Kelly Trozzo?

Review: 5 Stars

I picked up an ARC of She Died Famous a couple months ago, mainly because the title and cover had intrigued me. But I was on a fantasy kick so I didn’t pick this book up for a while and it came back across my radar last week when looking for books for Top 5 Saturday’s topic, unreliable narrators. (Check out last week’s Top 5 Saturday post here!) Something about this book just drew me to it. I don’t know what I really expected, but what I got was a raw, and twisted read that kept me on the edge of my seat. She Died Famous is one of those books that I know will stick with me for a long time. I could relate to each character in the story even if I couldn’t relate to celebrity life I could relate to the humanity in each of the characters.

I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like She Died Famous. It was so dark, gritty and authentic. It was really twisted and full of sick, flawed characters. But there was truth in this story. There was love in this book, even if it was a dark and messy love. The story took you into the mind of a stalker who had mental illness and a drug addiction and made you understand him and even empathize with him. I was able to relate to these incredibly flawed characters while they battled their darkest demons. Kelly, Kaleb and Sara battled abuse, trauma, loss, mental illness and drug addiction. While this novel was quite the thriller and filled with suspense it was also a story about human suffering. She Died Famous really got into my head and I don’t think that I will forget it anytime soon.

Kyle Rutkin did a fantastic job of creating a celebrity character that felt larger than life and he also made a fantastic choice to write in first person from Kaleb’s perspective. Through his obsession I started to feel obsessed with Kelly myself. Through Kyle Rutkin’s writing his characters shined so bright, but they also cast giant shadows that they drowned themselves in. She Died Famous is probably one of the best portrayals of drug addiction and mental illness that I’ve ever read. This book is dark, but it is fantastic.

I really loved the way that the story is told. Through interviews, news articles, blog posts and flashbacks the reader is told the events leading up to Kelly’s death. Reading the story as it was told in this way made me feel like a fan following the story of Kelly’s death. Each character’s perspective couldn’t be trusted. Some of the characters were mentally ill or suffered from drug addiction, viewed the same event drastically different from one another and some of the characters just flat out lied. It made the story so interesting because the whole time I was trying to find the truth underneath it all and I desperately wanted to know what happened. The suspense was built up so well and the climax of the book hit hard.

Honestly, I don’t think I will ever read anything quite like this book again. She Died Famous is truly a work of art that captured pain, love and hope in the most twisted way possible. If you enjoy gritty books, suspenseful thrillers or psychological stories I beg you to give this book a shot. You will not be disappointed.

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