Published by Flux on 8 October 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Dez is the director of the High School's movie club, and Riley is the main actress in the short movie he's making for the film festival. Dez has been in love with Riley for as long as he can remember, but things are kind of complicated. He has never confessed his feelings to Riley.
Riley considers Dez to be her best friend, they're neighbors and grew up together, and they've always had each other's backs. When Riley confessed to him that she was in love with a girl, he took it well, and when her secret girlfriend dumped her in a very public way, he was there to help her pick up the pieces.
Their high school had always been quiet, as their little town had - until Riley's favorite teacher, Ms. Dunn, was brutally killed that fall. Riley tries to come to terms with her break-up the way the cool kids are treating her because she's gay, getting the movie right, and getting on with her life. At the same time, she is also trying to figure out who really killed Ms. Dunn, and the mystery is one she has a lot of trouble getting to the bottom of.
*I received a free eARC of The Cutting Room Floor from Flux via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
The Cutting Room Floor is a fast-paced mystery that’s frankly quite creepy in places. At the same time, the way it’s written, with comparisons to movies, and actual scenes, director’s notes and fade-outs really appeals to me. The characters are well done too, and it’s Dez who is narrating the whole story, even if it seems as if Riley is the actual main character. Tricky that, right? And I actually really love it when there’s a narrator who I just know will be unreliable. It makes the story that more interesting in my opinion.
So, The Cutting Room starts with Dez thinking to himself, and between the gangster / mafia movies that keep popping into his head and the song Bad, Bad Thin by Chris Isaak that goes through his mind as well, it’s clear that he’s not going to be the hero. And he isn’t – but at the same time, he kind of is anyway. I know this must seem as if it doesn’t make any sense, but in all his creepiness, I came to appreciate some things about Dez, and the way he finally got how bad he was acted as an epiphany both for him and some other characters.
What I enjoyed the most was the slow unfolding of the mystery, and of the way Dez was operating – hidden from everyone. And I was quite surprised by who the real culprit of the murder was, too. I also enjoyed how Riley was struggling with her sexuality, not knowing who she was and how she should continue to move forward. Living in a small town that had suddenly started to point out religion and being anti-gay sure made things difficult both for Riley and her former girl-friend, and this was part of why Riley started doubting herself, too. Her whole life seemed to be turned upside down, but she did have her one constant; her best friend Dez. And he only wanted what was best for her.
I can’t really say that many things without spoiling anything, so my review will not say any more about the plot or the story, but the writing is really good, as is the character development. I also felt that I got to ‘know’ the side characters quite well, and I alway appreciate that. As there was more than one story-arc that made things very interesting as well. And I loved the pop-culture inclusions both when it comes to movies and when it comes to music.
Some quotes I enjoyed:
I wish I wasn’t this way. I wish I didn’t crave control But I do… badly.
It sounds a little crazy, I’ll admit, but Reed didn’t really deserve Riley. […] He would never appreciate her like I do. Nobody could.
Almost like what happened to Ms. Dunn was her own fault. I might not be intimate with the Good Book but it seemed weird.
I confessed. Is it just that I suffer too? Even though I was so young when it all began? does my pain count for anything? Do my reasons matter?
If you’re looking for a creepy read for fall, The Cutting Room Floor should find its way to your shelf, it is plenty creepy, and kept me well entertained.