With echoes of Gone Girl and a fast-paced, threat-filled storyline, this twisty mystery will hold a lot of appeal for YA fans of suspense thrillers. It has its flaws, but I enjoyed.
This electric cross-country thriller follows the game of cat and mouse between a girl on the run from a murder she witnessed—or committed?—and the boy who’s sent to kill her.
Nicolette Holland is the girl everyone likes. Up for adventure. Loyal to a fault. And she’s pretty sure she can get away with anything…until a young woman is brutally murdered in the woods near Nicolette’s house. Which is why she has to disappear.
Jack Manx has always been the stand-up guy with the killer last name. But straight A’s and athletic trophies can’t make people forget that his father was a hit man and his brother is doing time for armed assault. Just when Jack is about to graduate from his Las Vegas high school and head east for college, his brother pulls him into the family business with inescapable instructions: find this ruthless Nicolette Holland and get rid of her. Or else Jack and everyone he loves will pay the price.
As Nicolette and Jack race to outsmart each other, tensions—and attractions—run high. Told in alternating voices, this tightly plotted mystery and tense love story challenges our assumptions about right and wrong, guilt and innocence, truth and lies.
It took a while for me to hit the groove with this book simply because it took a while for me to really puzzle out what was going on. That wasn’t a bad thing. It was a really intriguing thing. Nicolette saw something she shouldn’t have, and this time her stepdad (even with his crime boss connections) can’t help her. On the run, but longing for the life she left behind, Nicolette struggles to keep herself hidden from the powerful men who want her silenced. Jack has tried to forget the legacy of crime and violence connected to his name, but when the one thing he cares about most is threatened, he is willing to use every advantage he was born with to get the girl he’s been sent to kill. This is a tense game of hide and seek, and the author uses both the dual narrative perspective and the dramatic irony it creates to keep readers holding their breath until the last page. The really impressive thing about this book for me is how Nic and Jack both manage to come across as crafty and street smart while still reading like teens. Sure, they both know that getting involved with the other is a horrible idea, but just like real and impulsive teens, they find the siren song of attraction is hard to resist. I liked the fact that they made mistakes and were thwarted by stupid turns of fate because it added an authenticity to their characters and the plot which kept me in suspended disbelief just long enough to really get swept away by this story, a story that I would have scoffed at as completely unrealistic if I hadn’t been so invested in the outcome. I think it might be hard for some readers to buy into two teens navigating this situation, but I also think most YA readers who pick it up will have a hard time putting it down simply for its tense blend of underworld mystery and dangerous attraction. I will say that I wasn’t able to guess this ending at all, despite my excellent prediction skills, and it has a twist that I wasn’t really sold on, but I think it will delight most readers. I don’t think this is a perfect book, but I did find it compelling and extremely entertaining. I will definitely recommend it to my high school readers, especially those with a penchant for mystery and a yen for a darker kind of romance. This one is going on my classroom library wish list and my high school librarian recommendation list. Language and situations, specifically violence and some sensuality, make this most appropriate for high school readers.
I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.