EVERY BREATH

A smart, contemporary take on a timely classic that is sure to please Sherlock aficionados of all ages.

James Mycroft (whose surname matches that of Sherlock Holmes’ “much-smarter brother”) is a chain-smoking modern teenager obsessed with forensics in this fresh Aussie reboot of the popular detective franchise. 

The first thing debut author Marney does right is withstand the temptation to overexplain the Holmes connection. Narrator Rachel Watts states early on in the story that she and her neighbor Mycroft “are on a strictly last-name basis….He said if Sherlock had Watson, it was only fair that Mycroft should have Watts.” From there, the plot thickens and darkens when Mycroft and Watts discover their homeless friend Dave’s dead body outside the zoo, where Mycroft’s aunt works. As they work to unravel the mystery of Dave’s murder, they struggle to come to terms with their troubled backgrounds while slowly falling for each other. Mycroft was the only survivor of a horrific car accident that killed his parents, while Watts is trying to process the loss of her family’s beloved farm and subsequent move to a busy suburb of Melbourne. All their satisfying, realistic sleuthing builds to a smashing climax that literally places them both in the zoo’s lion den, which finally forces them to admit how much they truly care for each other. Readers will be elated to find out that a sequel is on its way from Down Under. 

A smart, contemporary take on a timely classic that is sure to please Sherlock aficionados of all ages. (Mystery. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-77049-772-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

IF ONLY I HAD TOLD HER

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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