This was a rather unusual mystery for a couple of reasons. First, the isolation and dislike the protagonist experiences is much more intense than I anticipated. There is no doubt that people really think Thomas killed his mother, and they are on a hairpin trigger to get him. It was kind of shocking, and it was palpable. Second, this isn’t the straightforward contemporary YA mystery I expected. The blurb leaves out a few surprises. Some readers won’t be bothered by the unexpected twists to the story, but other readers might feel like they had been a little mislead, especially if they expected a more run of the mill mystery. I only gave it three stars because it had some issues, but I still found it a compelling read, and for $2.99, this book could definitely be an easy way to kill a few summer hours.
Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.
Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.
The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.
Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…
I’m not going to ruin the surprise – okay, I’m going to ruin the surprise – there is a left field supernatural element in this book I never anticipated. I wasn’t quite satisfied by the explanation I was given about that element because there were a few things I just couldn’t quite get to track. Despite these misgivings, I would still recommend this book to many of my high school readers because, like I said, it is very compelling. I read it in a few hours because I really did find the story engaging and I kind of liked that the rabbit hole just kept changing. I liked both of the main characters, and I thought they were almost as surprising as the plot. Charlotte was an interesting mix of old fashioned and modern, and she might have been a little too naive for my comfort (seriously, leave the maybe-murderer alone, Charlotte) but she held her own in the end. The plot moves quickly and efficiently towards a resolution, but it does give readers time to get some character depth and some relationship development. I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Stan and Thomas because it felt so real – two guys just living together in that silent “man” way. It was cute and funny and honest. I did pinpoint the perp long before the book was over, but there was enough of a red-herring that I began to second guess myself. Overall, I enjoyed this book even if it wasn’t exactly what I expected and open minded YA mystery readers probably will as well. I think there are clarity issues around the supernatural element, but I could roll with it. Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.