A limp murder mystery, needlessly prolonged.
The second installment in Cassidy's Murder Notebooks series takes 42 pages of awkward exposition to bring readers up to speed on the events of the preceding volume (Dead Time, 2012). As with the first book, Cassidy employs stiff dialogue and clipped sentences to describe Rose and her stepbrother Josh's interminable investigation into the disappearance of their parents five years earlier. Meanwhile, Rachel, Rose's former frenemy from boarding school, reappears in her life with a litany of desperate letters and phone calls, then conveniently provides surprising evidence that the missing parents are still alive just before she herself drowns under mysterious circumstances. Supernatural red herrings abound, as do unsettling references to romantic tension between the stepsiblings. The diversionary plot device feebly resolves itself when the killer, unprompted, confesses. Rose and Josh stumble upon a few important clues this time, but this wooden tale does not deliver significant intrigue.
For enthusiastic fans of amateur detectives only. (Mystery. 12-16)