A lonely teen is the only suspect in his mother's murder.
Thomas Bellweather's mother was happily remarried for just 10 days before she was found dead in her bed. Now Tom is stuck in a town he barely knows with an awkward stepdad, a cop, and a police force breathing down his neck. At his mother's funeral he is befriended by Charlotte Rooker, a girl with a dad and three brothers that all happen to be cops. Charlotte believes in Tom's innocence, but a series of misadventures puts Tom in deeper and deeper trouble. Kemmerer spends the first two-thirds of the novel perfectly painting a small town with big fears. The author also sprinkles in just the right amount of teen lust and whodunit misdirects. The book’s problems start when the narrative shifts gears into paranormal hokum, a disappointment when the author was building up such a great head of steam. Kemmerer is able to stick the landing, but only barely. A lot of exposition is thrown in at the last minute to make everything click into place, and the author's hands are felt far more than in the first two acts, which are effortless by comparison. The novel leaves a few small things unanswered, and a return to this world would not be unwelcome, particularly now that all the heavy lifting regarding empaths and Tom's shadowy father is out of the way.
An engrossing page-turner that bites off a bit more than it can chew. (Paranormal thriller. 14-18)