A group of teens stranded in a snowstorm discovers a murderer in their midst.
While traveling on the highway to a state theater competition, Nell and her friends Min, Raven, Adam, and Jermaine are caught in a dangerous blizzard. Their teacher, Mrs. McElroy, who is driving the minivan, decides to stop for the night at the run-down and shady-looking Travel Inn and Out. The motel is labyrinthine and spooky, with dingy corridors and walls adorned with moldering kitsch. Nell and the gang meet another group of kids who are also stranded by the storm, making fast friends. A game of Two Truths and a Lie starts out flirty and fun but devolves into something more sinister when one slip of paper reads “I like to watch people die,” and “I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve killed.” The snow falls and the winds howl, and soon power and cell service are lost, cutting off the motel patrons from the outside world. As the first victim is discovered and the body count begins to grow, the terror becomes palpable. Everyone at the motel seems to have an insidious secret: Will Nell be able to uncover the killer before they strike again? An homage to Agatha Christie, Henry’s locked-room mystery is tautly plotted, with quick-moving nail-biting chapters, relatable characters, and a deftly wrought setting that paradoxically manages to feel both claustrophobic and sprawling. Nell is White; there is diversity among the secondary characters.
An atmospheric and entertaining thriller perfect for snowy night chills.(Mystery. 12-16)