August 29, 2012

Review of Envy (Empty Coffin #1) by Gregg Olsen


New York Times bestselling adult true crime author Gregg Olsen makes his YA debut with Empty Coffin, a gripping new fiction series for teens based on ripped-from-the-headlines stories…with a paranormal touch.

Crime lives–and dies–in the deceptively picture-perfect town of Port Gamble (aka “Empty Coffin”), Washington. Evil lurks and strange things happen–and 15-year-olds Hayley and Taylor Ryan secretly use their wits and their telepathic “twin-sense” to uncover the truth about the town’s victims and culprits.

Envy, the series debut, involves the mysterious death of the twins’ old friend, Katelyn. Was it murder? Suicide? An accident? Hayley and Taylor are determined to find out–and as they investigate, they stumble upon a dark truth that is far more disturbing than they ever could have imagined.

Based on the shocking true crime about cyber-bullying, Envy will take you to the edge–and push you right over.

ENVY by Gregg Olsen
Publication Date:  August 23, 2011
Publisher:  Splinter/Sterling Publishing
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** This title was provided to us by the publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinion **

Wow. Just wow. I mean, that’s honestly the only word that can describe Envy by Gregg Olsen.  From the moment I looked at the cover, I was already fascinated. When they say not to judge a book by its cover, I know that I did just that with Envy.  The cover is creepy and at the same time had me wondering what the story was about, and once I read the description on Goodreads, I knew that I absolutely had to read the novel.

Just reading the first chapter had me hooked.  It takes place the night of Katelyn’s death and leaves readers craving the rest of the chapter.  You’re thrown into mystery and tragedy, and if you have a thing for the two of those genres like me—then you know I was eager to read the next chapter.  Envy is the story of psychic twins Hayley and Taylor Ryan as their small town deals with the recent death of their used-to-be friend Katelyn.  But the two girls know that Katelyn’s death wasn’t a suicide and begin to uncover things best left alone as they also receive messages from Katelyn from beyond the grave.

Awesome-sauce right?  Right.  Everything about Envy has you eager for the next page/chapter/sentence… you get my drift.  Olsen has written the story in a way that has you able to envision every little detail from the story in your mind and I know that more than once I felt like I was actually watching most scenes in my head.  Either it was the description of mean girl Starla or it was a moment when Taylor and Hayley were both using the Scrabble tiles to understand what Katelyn wants them to know, the descriptions in Envy are to die for.

The story did manage to stir a lot of emotions up in me.  If you have seen the movie Cyberbully (like I recently have) then you know how sad and real online bullying is and how it can lead people to extremes.  Envy doesn’t shy away from the topic and focuses mainly on it as it helps expand just how Katelyn’s life managed to end the way it did.  I do know that the cyberbullying in the novel was both realistic and would really help today’s youth understand the effects of using social media as a way to abuse people.

And the fact that some of the things that take place in Envy are based on true events definitely has me sick to my stomach.   I’ve always had a thing of murder-mysteries and I’m not going to lie, Envy has given me a high dosage of it and I love it.  With every experience that you go through with the two sisters, you feel a bit like a detective.  I know that I did.

I really don’t have any complaints with the novel, the changing of POV’s could make me irate at times but it was nothing major.  Though I am a teenager myself (mutant and proud), the way that the characters used “text speak” had me reading through the messages slowly.  I use full sentences, which I think is easier to understand.  However, they used symbols and a lot of shortened words.  I guess I’m just not up to speed on “text speak” like my fellow teens.

I’d recommend Envy just to about anybody searching for a good read. If you’ve been let down by a few books lately, I’d hand you Envy and tell you to sit down.  To not argue and to just sit down and read it.  Word for word because if you miss the littlest sentence you will be confused for the rest of the story.  Envy is one of those stories where you have to read it slowly because of the high amount of detailing.  If you love mysteries and thrillers (and the above can still apply to you) then I would highly recommend Envy. It’s fantastic.  Just saying.

You can check out our review of the next installment, BETRAYAL right HERE!

About the Author:

Throughout his career, Gregg Olsen has demonstrated an ability to create a detailed narrative that offers readers fascinating insights into the lives of people caught in extraordinary circumstances.

A New York Times bestselling author, Olsen has written seven nonfiction books, three novels, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.

The award-winning author has been a guest on dozens of national and local television shows, including educational programs for the History Channel, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel. He has also appeared on Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Today Show, FOX News; CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight, CBS 48 Hours, Oxygen’s Snapped, Court TV’s Crier Live, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, and A&E’s Biography.

In addition to television and radio appearances, the award-winning author has been featured in Redbook, USA Today, People, Salon magazine, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times and the New York Post.

The Deep Dark was named Idaho Book of the Year by the ILA and Starvation Heights was honored by Washington’s Secretary of State for the book’s contribution to Washington state history and culture.

Olsen, a Seattle native, lives in Olalla, Washington with his wife, twin daughters, three chickens, Milo (an obedience school dropout cocker spaniel) and Suri (a mini dachshund so spoiled she wears a sweater).

Connect with Gregg:





Available for Purchase:


Barnes & Noble

The Book Depository




  1. Rose

    I’m reading this book right now and I am loving it so far! I’m a little over halfway done and its getting really good!!! I can’t wait to finish it and find out what happens then jump right into Betrayal for the blog tour that I’m participating in next month…. which I see you’re apart of too! LOL Your post is the day after mine. That’s awesome!

    Great review by the way! ^__^

  2. Chapter by Chapter

    YAY! Betrayal is even BETTER than Envy! So excited for this tour :D

  3. CJ Listro

    WOW. Okay, so I almost didn’t click on this post, and then I was like…wait. That looked awesome. I got about two sentences into the blurb before adding it to Goodreads. I love crime fiction, dark fiction, paranormal fiction…basically, everything this book is all about. I’ll be grabbing a copy for sure!


  4. Chapter by Chapter

    Awesome! You need to grab a copy ASAP! :D

  5. kimbacaffeinate

    oh yes i want to read this and the cover is awesome!

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