In a follow-up to Deadly Cool (2011), Hartley Featherstone returns to romp through another murder mystery.
Hartley has joined the Herbert Hoover High online-newspaper staff, working for her intriguing, black-clad friend, Chase, the editor. She’s set to interview Sydney, caught cheating on strict Mr. Tipkins’ math test. Hartley arrives for the interview only to find Sydney face down in her pool, electrocuted by her laptop, an apparent victim of “Twittercide.” Hartley again meets the annoying Detective Raley, who can’t really do his job because Hartley won’t tell him what she knows. Raley thinks Sydney committed suicide, but Hartley convinces herself that it had to be murder and sets out to catch the culprit. Again, she puts herself in danger, sneaking off at night to dark parks and breaking into her school, trying to investigate how the test answers might have been stolen. She winds up at the homecoming dance with Chase, a welcome development, but her investigation may have worried the murderer, who now targets Hartley. Will she survive? And what’s Detective Raley doing with Hartley’s mom? Halliday again balances the comedy and suspense notes well, keeping her characters intriguing and her narrative bright. Hartley has enough smarts combined with obvious foibles to make her a likable heroine. Meanwhile, the mystery bubbles along.
Suspenseful fun. (Mystery. 12 & up)