Such Pretty Flowers by K.L. Cerra – Review

“Get it out of me.”

It was the last message Holly received from her brother, Dane, before he was found cleaved open in his fiancée’s lavish Savannah townhouse. Police ruled his death a suicide sparked by psychosis, but Holly can’t shake the idea that something else must have happened… Something involving another message he sent that night, the one that mentioned a “game” his fiancée, Maura, wanted to play…

Determined to discover the truth, Holly begins to stalk Maura—a magnetic, black-eyed florist with a penchant for carnivorous plants. But what begins as an investigation quickly veers into a darker fixation, one that lures Holly into the depths of Maura’s world: Savannah high society, eerie black roses, and a whisper of something more sinister. Soon, Holly is feeling a dark attraction to the one woman she shouldn’t trust. As Holly falls deeper for Maura and her secrets, she’s left with only one choice: find out what happened to Dane… before she meets the same fate.

A woman investigating her brother’s apparent suicide finds herself falling for her prime suspect—his darkly mysterious girlfriend—in this edgy Southern gothic thriller.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Random House for the advance copy of this southern gothic tale rife with carnivorous plants and even deadlier humans. If I’m not mistaken, I believe this is K.L. Cerra’s debut novel– and it absolutely stuns. Not only is it written in an easily digested prose (I literally read it in a night), but it is completely original and edge-of-your-seat thriller. Even with the title, I was not expecting the amount of botany knowledge– which after some digging makes complete sense: the author herself is a fan of our leafier species. I was enraptured by the detail of each petal, and that coupled with the immersion in historical Savannah, Georgia brought the book to blooming life.

Inside these pages, we meet Holly. She has just lost her brother Dane to suicide, but something just doesn’t feel right. Holly gets an inkling that she should take a closer look at Dane’s girlfriend of five months, Maura, who had become the focus of his life until his strange illness had taken complete hold of him. It caused him to exhibit mental issues as well as neurological symptoms, and no one could explain its origin. With these mysteries in mind, Holly moves in with Maura and is immediately in way over her head. Maura is intoxicating and despite Holly’s best efforts– she falls for her and lets her guard down just enough for Maura to get under her skin.

This novel takes a look at grief and how desperate it can make you– and how misguided other’s attempts to ‘help’ can be. I really related to Holly and how out of place she felt. Her brother was one of the only things tethering her to the world, and when he left it so unexpectedly and horribly, it left her unmoored and searching for answers. Even as she tries to find them, she is also looking for someone else to ground her. This flaw brings Holly from the frying pan and into the fire– and yet she never loses sight of her goal. This tenacity is the only thing that can save her in the end, and is a message to never stop searching for the truth.

5/5 stars