Return to the frighteningly familiar world of violent entertainment—this time the murder is crowdfunded.
When she loses one of her moms in a car crash shortly after Dee Guerrera and her friends killed The Postman and brought down the reality show–based death row Alcatraz 2.0, white 17-year-old Becca Martinello doesn’t really care much about the resulting political and online fallout. That is, until a strange, attractive girl shows up claiming that Becca’s mom lived a second life as Molly Mauler, one of the Alcatraz 2.0 eccentric executioners. The only way Becca can prove her mom’s innocence (or guilt) is to audition for a new, supposedly nonlethal serial killer reality show “Who Wants to Be a Paniac?” and uncover its connection to The Postman—provided, of course, that she can survive long enough. With an established world to work with, McNeil (#Murdertrending, 2018, etc.) has eased up on the throttle with this sequel, letting elements such as political intrigue simmer effectively in the background and steadily integrating them to underpin the main action. Still heavily driven by fight and flight, the plot gains an extra layer of complexity as it alternates between Becca’s investigation and Dee’s continued crusade until the two collide. Inclusive efforts at representation continue here but are marred somewhat by “bury your gays” fallbacks.
Another gruesomely engrossing installment with the promise of more to come. (Thriller. 14-18)