This was the mystery/thriller book I didn’t know I needed. I had a rocky start with Johnson books so I was hesitant going into this but she blew me away and I am thankful for that.
Short recap: Stevie Bell has been accepted to a very prestigious school and is secretly hell-bent on solving the murder/crime that took place there in the ’30s. She has been obsessed with the story for as long as she can remember. As she continues at school and moves forward with her investigation, she quickly finds that the person involved in the original crime may be after her as well….
Spooky, right?! This story was brilliantly written and had me hooked. I must point out that this is a duel time-line story. Part of the story is written in present day while the rest is told from the past. It is not as confusing as you would think. It gives just the right amount of detail from the original crime to keep you guessing, and still feels relevant to what happening present day. The scenes from the ’30s do not ever overtake or over shadow the the rest of the story and that was refreshing. I wish more stories could be written like this because it is a vacant genre right now.
The characters felt really well developed. The main character, Stevie (a female, btw), was very well flushed out and vetted. I liked how head strong, confident, and just a tad bit odd she was. It all made her feel more real and believable. There is a slew of characters that are with Stevie throughout her journey and most of them are just as good. Her good friend, Janelle, seemed like such a solid girl to have on your side. Nate was odd at times but he certainly managed to make me not despise him. But then there is David…. I’m still not sure about him. I never know what he is up to or what his true motives are so for now I’ll say he is on the fence… neither like nor dislike. We’ll see what he does in book 2.
The pacing of the book was spot on for me. I never once thought it was dragging or slow. I thought it was the perfect amount of suspense and story telling, both of which Johnson seems to excel at. And that ending… WHOA. I still have absolutely no idea who is behind everything! It’s killing me! Normally I’m quick to figure out who the bad guy is (the butler in the kitchen with the lead pipe) but I could not do it with this story. This is the start of a trilogy so don’t go into it expecting everything to be explained and solved by the end, that is not going to happen. But do prepare yourself for intrigue and a lot of ‘whodunit?’ questions. I don’t know about you but I need book 2 last week. I have to know what happens.