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)