Skeptical about toxicology reports showing that her brother, Tyler, died of a heroin overdose, Megan investigates.
Tyler and Megan Brown, both white, attend a private school whose students’ parents are “a power parade of congress members and judges, lobbyists and think tankers.” Athletic and popular, Tyler seemed to have it made, so Megan can’t accept the autopsy. Looking for evidence of addiction in his room and school locker, she experiences blinding headaches and visions of Tyler’s life while handling some objects. Initially she believes she’s having a breakdown. But she keeps going, interviewing the author of a John Wilkes Booth biography, which Tyler had heavily annotated, who reveals that he shares Megan’s ability. He encourages her to trust the visions. Using the visions and with help from two friends—including Tyler’s black friend Nathan, who becomes Megan’s potential love interest—Megan uncovers the truth of Tyler’s death. It’s a fine setup for a paranormal investigation, even if the end is a bit simplistic. But the transformation in privileged private school student Tyler that Megan is surprised to discover feels forced, and Megan’s ignorance of it seems hard to believe. Furthermore, Nathan’s complicated family feels a bit like a prop, particularly given the narrative space accorded to Megan’s musings on Booth’s assassination of Lincoln.
Overstuffed and requires more patience than the payoff really delivers. (Paranormal mystery. 14-18)