A distinctive thriller that is most successful in its nuanced exploration of a young man’s obsession and a young woman’s...

THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR

An aspiring filmmaker exhibits disturbing controlling tendencies toward more than just his art in this interesting but complicated murder mystery.

The novel opens in the weeks following the unsolved murder of a teacher at their high school. Cinema geek Dez (short for Desmond) is certain he is in love with his childhood friend and neighbor, 17-year-old Riley—so sure that he has taken to engineering some nasty, behind-the-scenes schemes in an effort to drive her away from others and toward him. Though Riley is open about being attracted to girls, she is still working out her sexuality, and for a time, it seems that Dez’s plot may be successful. As she becomes more and more involved in uncovering details of the murder, the situation slowly unfolds and comes to a head. While certainly an original premise that makes effective use of the sinister tone set by Dez’s stalker tendencies, these two storylines don’t always completely mesh. The employ of a dual narrative (Riley alternates with Dez), though useful in conveying the inner emotions and thoughts of both main characters, may further divide readers’ focus.

A distinctive thriller that is most successful in its nuanced exploration of a young man’s obsession and a young woman’s journey to self-knowledge and less so in delivering a convincing whodunit. (Thriller. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7387-3804-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Flux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.

LOCK THE DOORS

A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell...

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SIX OF CROWS

Adolescent criminals seek the haul of a lifetime in a fantasyland at the beginning of its industrial age.

The dangerous city of Ketterdam is governed by the Merchant Council, but in reality, large sectors of the city are given over to gangs who run the gambling dens and brothels. The underworld's rising star is 17-year-old Kaz Brekker, known as Dirtyhands for his brutal amorality. Kaz walks with chronic pain from an old injury, but that doesn't stop him from utterly destroying any rivals. When a councilman offers him an unimaginable reward to rescue a kidnapped foreign chemist—30 million kruge!—Kaz knows just the team he needs to assemble. There's Inej, an itinerant acrobat captured by slavers and sold to a brothel, now a spy for Kaz; the Grisha Nina, with the magical ability to calm and heal; Matthias the zealot, hunter of Grishas and caught in a hopeless spiral of love and vengeance with Nina; Wylan, the privileged boy with an engineer's skills; and Jesper, a sharpshooter who keeps flirting with Wylan. Bardugo broadens the universe she created in the Grisha Trilogy, sending her protagonists around countries that resemble post-Renaissance northern Europe, where technology develops in concert with the magic that's both coveted and despised. It’s a highly successful venture, leaving enough open questions to cause readers to eagerly await Volume 2.

Cracking page-turner with a multiethnic band of misfits with differing sexual orientations who satisfyingly, believably jell into a family . (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-212-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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