For months, Khourtniey told me I needed to watch Pretty Little Liars. I’ve never read the books, and had no clue what the show was about so I felt pretty “meh” about watching. And then I ran out of things to re-watch on Netflix, because, you know, I never watch anything new. I re-watch the same ten shows like Dean from Supernatural replays the same five albums. It’s a sickness.
But I had nothing else to watch so I started Pretty Little Liars. Halfway through the first season, I sent the following text to Khourtniey: “I started Pretty Little Liars, and you suck!”
Her response was typical. She laughed at me. Slightly younger sisters are such brats!
This show is like crack for the twentysomething with a love of criminal justice (aka me and Khourtniey). Seriously. I love a good Whodunit, but Pretty Little Liars skipped right past Whodunit and went straight to “I need a crime board because I will figure this out if it kills me!” I may have even tried to convince my husband to let me turn one wall of our living room into said crime board.
|Crime Board from TNT’s Southland
He doesn’t get the obsession so he refused. Obviously, he doesn’t have an appropriate appreciation of Toby (with or without a shirt). Or of the insanity of the not-so-innocent protagonists, who make the same mistakes over and over but still make me want to root for them. Or of the fifteen different directions the storyline takes episode to episode. Or of the burning desire to solve the mystery so you can say “I knew it” with all the pent up passion of a sleepless, half-crazed detective working for the six straight month on an unsolved murder.
Long story short: I love the show, and the wild and often unexpected directions it takes. Everyone is a suspect, but just when you start to suspect them, BAM! You find out they’re innocent, being manipulated, used, or are just clueless victims of the mysterious and criminally brilliant A (or A-Team… who knows at this point?!).
But my love is not all gravy.
Sofa-sized holes in the writing, and plenty of them, have me gnashing my teeth week to week in frustration. The timeline is messy and can come across as preposterously impossible.
Certain plot points end in a no-mans land of unsatisfactory explanation and exposition, like Alex from the first season. Spencer liked this boy, but never even attempted to talk to him after he walked away. That’s not very Spencer-like.
Or the fact that someone had a miscarriage and pretended she didn’t, but then took her parents (during this time of fake pregnancy) with her to visit a specialist, or took the police dude (who sometimes looks like George Zimmerman, by the way) to her baby appointments. And none of them expected anything until weeks later. What?!?
Or the missing page of the autopsy report. When the murder first occurred, the police had said page, and would have, in theory, made the all-important connection then. For some reason, they didn’t, and the page was stolen. When it showed up a year and a half later they automagically (not to be confused with automatically) made the all-important connection. Again, what?!
And then there is the revolving door of characters that seem to exist only to make life difficult for the liars, like the cute, British doctor. He appears, makes life difficult for an episode or two, and then disappears until the writers can bring him back to conveniently mess things up again. The same happens with Sean. He appears only when it will inconvenience the liars, and then disappears as quickly.
But all of this frustrating madness is a big part of what makes this show so addictive to me. In the real world, complex criminal cases tend to unfold a whole lot like this. Remember the Green River Killer? The police actually knocked on his door when someone followed him home after witnessing him kidnap a prostitute. But the police decided he wasn’t a suspect . . . only to find out years later that he was the prolific serial killer they were hunting.
The police also ran into the Zodiac Killer as he fled the scene of one of his murders in the 1970s, but they’d been given the wrong description of the suspect, so he walked away and the police missed their big chance. He was never caught and his string of murders remains unsolved.
The truth is things don’t always make a whole lot of sense when crime is involved. Timelines are screwed up all over the place. Let’s face it: if someone asked what we were doing on June 19, 2008, the vast majority of us would have absolutely no clue! Heck, if you asked me what I did on any given day last week, I’d be hard pressed to give you an accurate accounting.
When a crime happens, you never quite figure out what this person or that or this lead or that has to do with the case. More often than not, there are more questions than answers, even after a trial. Think Casey Anthony, or the West MemphisThree. We still have more questions than answers in those cases, and so do the police and families of the victims. They also received all sorts of potential leads in both cases, some that still have people scratching their heads trying to figure out if they were or weren’t involved (like the man covered in blood in the bathroom of a truck-stop hours after the murders in the West Memphis Three case).
That’s what makes Pretty Little Liars so much fun. I have a legitimate reason to over think everything because there are a million questions, and more than one possible answer to each. And unlike with Lost, there isn’t a freaking smoke monster, time-travel, or a creepy island dude reminiscent of Satan involved. Instead, you’ve got this mystery that could happen in any town in America, and leave you just as frustrated and intent on solving the crime.
But my love of a good mystery doesn’t end with Pretty Little Liars. Yesterday, my debut young adult novel, Fade (The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book One), hit the stands. And there are all kinds of questions for Arionna Jacobs and Dace Matthews to answer as their story progresses. Like the liars in my new favorite show, those answers aren’t always comforting and they don’t always make sense to Arionna or Dace right away. Not to mention, there’s murder, intrigue, suspects who aren’t quite what they seem, and a possible apocalypse in the book, too!
If that sounds like your kind of thing, Fade
is available now from Curiosity Quills Press
. You can pick up a paperback
copy at Amazon now, at Barnes & Nobles in the coming days, or in select physical bookstores in the coming months. And remember, my publisher and I are donating 10% of royalties received from now until March 2013 to the Ronald McDonald House Charities and 10% to the March of Dimes in honor of three very special preemies in my life – Aloshua, Kaia, and Abby.
You can also enter to win
one of two autographed copies of Fade
on Goodreads now. If you write, be sure to hop on over
to the blog and check out the Perfect Paranormal/Fantasy Pitch Contest, too! Several amazing authors have signed on to offer big prizes, including a chance to have your manuscript read for publication consideration by a submissions editor at Curiosity Quills.
A.K. Morgen (Ayden) lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her real life hero, Courtney, and their three crazy pets. She has a graduate degree in Criminal Justice and grand plans to save the world someday. When she’s not writing, she spend her time teaching her niece and nephews things their mothers wish they didn’t know, dancing in odd places, and fundraising for nonprofits close to her heart. She’s a volunteer coordinator for her local Ronald McDonald House. You can also find her causing mischief with Khourtniey, hiking, reading voraciously, tweeting too much, and talking a lot.