A smart, entertaining time-travel mystery.

THE LAST TAG

After being transported to ancient Roman times, a young man must solve a young girl’s murder.

Life in Arizona isn’t so great for EB—his Dad is overworked, his mom lives in another state and doesn’t want to see him—so he spends his time tagging around the neighborhood. However, trouble starts when he encounters the ghost of a young girl in an abandoned house, and she begs him to solve the mystery of her murder. Unfortunately for EB, Aurelia’s murder took place in A.D. 78 in a Roman city near Pompeii called Herculaneum. Once he realizes he can’t ignore her request, he’s magically transported there. EB knows a little Latin from school, but he also knows that there’s only a limited amount of time before Mount Vesuvius erupts. As he meets various members of Aurelia’s family and their well-off Roman acquaintances, his graffiti skills come in handy: Leaving a message on a street wall helps him track down the culprit. The stakes get higher on a personal level when EB catches the eye of a young Roman girl from a prominent family that’s tied to Aurelia’s death; in turn, he makes an enemy of her brother. As EB begins putting the clues together, he has the genius idea to expose the murder in a very public fashion so that Aurelia’s family might be avenged and her ghost can find closure. The climax of the novel occurs during a remarkably tense scene at the Roman theater. Though readers must suspend disbelief that EB would fit into ancient Roman society so seamlessly, the novel moves along at a solid pace and the motivations for the murder are well-plotted. EB’s voice is charmingly youthful and acerbic, while also recalling the sharp observations of old film detectives.

A smart, entertaining time-travel mystery.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1469908151

Page Count: 338

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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An uneven novel that is as flawed as its protagonist.

THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH

A rich teen hopes that participating in a reality TV show set on an uninhabited Brazilian island can rehabilitate her damaged reputation.

Twenty teens are dropped on deserted Black Rock Island, where they will compete in two teams for a cash prize and the chance to find a long-lost stolen Inca treasure. Riley Ozment knows all about the treasure, as her godfather was the last hunter to get close to discovering it—in fact, she visited the island with him shortly before he was murdered. She sees this trip as a chance to prove herself to the world after a series of mistakes led to her suspension from her private school and the very public humiliating fallout when she tried to defend herself. But Riley’s plans are upended by back-stabbing, double-crossing, mysterious accidents, and her own inner demons. This thriller mixes the ins and outs of filming a reality show with a mystery, a side of romance, developing friendships, and, above all, Riley’s journey of self-discovery. However, the convergence of all these disparate storylines doesn’t form a cohesive whole, and the supporting characters are not as well developed as the protagonist. Interestingly, Riley is unlikable for her naïveté about her privileged background but still sympathetic as a teen girl finding her place in the world. Riley is assumed White; other competitors are described as being “Indian, African American, [and] Asian.”

An uneven novel that is as flawed as its protagonist. (map) (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72822-232-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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