Read a full summary of As Good As Dead, book #3 in Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series. This page is full of spoilers, so beware. If you are wondering what happened in As Good As Dead, then you are in the right place!
Special thanks to Susan Jensen, a new BSR contributor, who wrote this great recap! Visit her blog to check out what she’s reading and see what’s on her mind. See the end of the recap for links to her Goodreads and Facebook accounts.
***** Everything below is a SPOILER *****
What happened in As Good As Dead?
As Pippa Fitz-Amobi is leaving her house, heading to a mediation meeting in New York City, she notices a dead pigeon on her lawn. She doesn’t think much about it, her mind focused on the upcoming meeting. In the city, she meets with her lawyer, Max Hastings (a serial rapist Pip outed in one of the previous books), his lawyer, and a mediator. Max is planning to sue Pip for libel for posting a “defamatory statement” about him on her podcast. He agrees to drop the lawsuit if she posts a statement admitting she was wrong and apologizing to Max. She also must say that the audio clip she used was doctored. Furious, Pip refuses and storms out.
Because of the trauma Pip has been experiencing, she’s been buying Xanax from a local dealer to help her relax and sleep. She keeps promising herself she’ll quit, but her doctor won’t prescribe more and she’s addicted. She uses secret burner phones that she hides in a desk drawer to contact the dealer so that no one—especially not her boyfriend, Ravi Singh, will know about the pills.
Pip receives an email, another one, from an anonymous sender with the message: Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? She’s gotten threats before, so she doesn’t let it bother her too much. The next day, she discovers odd headless stick figures drawn in chalk on her driveway. She dismisses it as the work of neighbor kids.
Ravi and Pip go to a cafe. Pip’s friend, Cara, works there. She tells them about an altercation that happened at the cafe earlier in the day in which Max Hastings and Jason Bell (the father of Becca and Andie, the former of whom was drugged and raped by Max, an incident which led to the death of the latter) shoved each other and had words.
The next day, Pip returns home from a run to find more chalk figures (the previous ones having been washed away by rain). This time, there are five headless stick figures positioned closer to her house than last time. A couple steps later, she notices another dead pigeon on her lawn, in exactly the same place as the first. This one has no head. When Pip receives another email message, this one referring to killing two birds with one stone, she is creeped out. It’s clear someone is stalking her, trying to scare her. When she goes back over the messages, she realizes they’ve been coming—infrequently—for months.
On another run, Pip finds a chalk message on her regular route that says Dead Girl Walking. Pip takes a photo, which Ravi encourages her to show to the police. Detective Hawkins dismisses her claims, saying she has no real evidence that someone is stalking her. She decides she’ll take the case herself and find out who her stalker is.
Pip is becoming obsessed with watching for her stalker, so Ravi persuades her to go on a walk with him. While out, they run into Ant and Lauren (two of Pip’s former friends). They exchange heated words. Pip asks Ant if he was waiting for her to disappear, but he’s clearly confused by the question, making it unlikely that he’s her stalker. As Pip and Ravi approach Pip’s house, they see another chalk drawing. This time, it’s three headless stick figures, now so close they’re almost touching the house. Alarmed, Pip thinks the figures getting progressively closer to her house means the stalker is coming for her.
Pip does an Internet search for chalk figures and notes with the message she’s been getting and gets a hit. An article about the DT (Duct Tape) Killer, who strangled four women in a nearby Connecticut town six years ago, comes up. The murderer was known for wrapping his victims’ entire heads in duct tape before killing them. According to the article, one victim found chalk drawings and dead birds before being killed. A man named Billy Karras was accused of the crimes and was sentenced to prison, where he’s been ever since. Pip also finds a Facebook page maintained by Billy’s mother who insists he’s innocent despite a confession, which she says was coerced. Pip decides she needs to investigate the case.
Maria Karras is thrilled to hear from Pip. She says she has contacted Pip via her podcast email before but never gotten a response. Maria gives Pip many reasons the “evidence” against Billy doesn’t stack up. She insists that her son, as an employee of Green Scene Ltd. (a lawn maintenance company owned by Jason Bell), was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. After reading through the police interview with Billy, Pip tends to agree.
Pip continues to receive threatening messages, including phone calls where all she can hear is someone breathing. Her printer also goes off in the middle of the night, letting through a printed sheet with the same message—Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears?—from her stalker.
While out on a run, Pip decides to stop at the Bell house and question Jason about Billy Karras. He shuts the door in her face and tells her never to contact him again. On her way home, Pip is just about run down by a white car. No one can tell who the driver is, and he/she speeds off.
Since the harassing phone calls continue, Pip puts an app on her phone that can identify unlisted numbers. Pip meets with Harriet Hunter, the sister of the DT Killer victim who also saw dead birds outside her home. Harriet mentions that Andie Bell [whose murder Pip investigated in A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder] contacted her before Andie’s death. She also gives Pip the email address Andie used; it’s an address Pip has never seen before. When Pip hacks into the account, she discovers an unsent email Andie wrote saying she knows the identity of the DT Killer, that it’s someone who spent time in her home. She does not, however, identify him by name.
As she’s out for another run, Pip receives another anonymous phone call. Her app is identifying the call when Pip hears a phone ring behind her. Before she knows what is happening, she feels herself being hauled off and put in the trunk of someone’s car. When she is let out, she is at Green Scene Ltd.’s remote warehouse. Jason Bell is her captor. As he wraps her face in duct tape and binds her to a shelving unit, he admits to being the DT Killer.
When Jason leaves in his car, Pip manages to free herself. She’s escaping through the woods when she hears him return. Picking up a hammer, she hits him with it until he is dead. Knowing she has just committed willful murder that was not technically in self-defense, Pip decides she can’t go to the police. Instead, she calls Ravi. Together, they hatch a plan to manipulate Jason’s body temperature in order to fool the coroner into thinking he died hours later than he did, establish alibis for themselves, set fire to the Green Scene warehouse to destroy any remaining evidence pointing to Pip’s involvement, and frame Max Hastings for the murder of Jason Bell.
Days later, Detective Hawkins asks Pip to come down to the police station. As he interviews her, he tells her that her white headphones were found at Jason Bell’s home. Shocked, she realizes that they must have fallen out of her backpack when she went there to question him before he abducted her. Pip can’t admit that she was ever at Jason’s home, so she says she has no idea how the headphones got there. Detective Hawkins obviously doesn’t believe her, but he lets her go.
How did As Good As Dead end?
Scared, Pip decides she has to confess to the police that she murdered Jason. Ravi doesn’t want her to. When she goes to his house to say goodbye to him, he isn’t there. She passes him on the street, and he tells her that he just lied and told Detective Hawkins that he lost Pip’s headphones when he went to the Bells’ house to ask Jason about helping with a fundraiser. Convinced (for now) not to confess to the police, Pip is out running when she spots commotion at the Hastings’ house. Max is being arrested for Jason’s murder.
When Max later sees Pip at the police station, he accuses her of setting him up and shoves her into a brick wall. Max is restrained by the police and taken away. Pip meets with Detective Hawkins again. She senses he knows what really happened to Jason Bell, but has chosen not to pursue the truth since there’s enough evidence to convict Max. Pip gives him evidence showing that Jason was the DT Killer.
Billy Karras is later released from prison because evidence proves Jason was the DT Killer, not him. Because Pip does not want Ravi to be in any danger because of her, she breaks up with him. They are both devastated. Pip says they can only be together if Max, not Pip, goes to prison for murder.
Pip goes off to college in New York City and does not contact Ravi. She also distances herself from her family and friends, just in case she is convicted of murder. Over a year later, Max Hastings is convicted of Jason Bell’s murder. As Good As Dead ends with a text from Ravi to Pip saying, “Hey, Sarge, remember me?”
There you go! That’s what happened in As Good As Dead. We hope you enjoyed this As Good As Dead summary with spoilers.
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