A mystery involving bicycling culture set in greater Boston and Ecuador. Seventeen-year-old Tessa Taylor has been the perky host of the Boston-based cable TV show KidVision for four years. But when she gets caught “bandit riding” (riding without raising the necessary money) for a charity event, she loses her job. Worse, she thinks she’s caused the death of star EcuaBar team cyclist Juan Carlos, who went down in the crash Tessa caused when she pulled out of the charity race abruptly. Thus begins a layered plot of murder and racketeering full of twists and turns. Author Renn knows her way around competitive cycling—the nuanced descriptions of the operation of bicycle-racing teams are spot-on. Where the story lurches, however, is in the barely credible decision-making of its narrator, Tessa. Tessa’s rationale for not contacting the police when she is threatened (“[n]ot so simple”) is not convincing, and too many of Tessa’s decisions force readers to wonder whether she’s just used to having her own way and not listening to others or if she is, in fact, clueless. To be sure, Tessa’s bad decisions lead to a great deal of exciting action and tension that keep readers turning the pages, but the excitement doesn’t outweigh the overall believability problems.
Exciting, for readers who can get past the annoyingly persistent credibility issues.(Thriller. 13-17)