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TEN by Gretchen McNeil

TEN

By Gretchen McNeil

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-211878-3
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

A scary gorefest of murder and mayhem, not for the faint of heart.

High school best friends Meg and Minnie join a weekend-long, alcohol-infused party on a small island off the coast of Washington. Their parents think they’re elsewhere; in fact no one knows they’re there except the ferry crew and the other eight attendees. A fierce storm is battering the island, and the power fails, plunging them into darkness and complete isolation from the rest of the world. Then teens start to turn up dead in rather gruesome, vividly depicted ways: hanged, impaled by driftwood (really!), electrocuted, etc. At first, it appears that the deaths could be caused by a bizarre combination of suicide and accident, but as the body count soars, the teens have to choose: Is one of them a serial killer, or is the murderer stalking them from beyond the group? Clues are just amorphous enough to sustain the mystery, and since mistakes are lethal, the suspense is high. Meanwhile, it also becomes obvious that some of the stereotypical teens share relationships that weren’t apparent at first, i.e., Meg’s far-overworked yearning to pair off with T.J., the handsome guy that unstable Minnie lusts for.

For murder-mystery fans, there’s more than enough horror and gore to sustain this effort (and several more), making for a breathless read. (Mystery/horror. 14 & up)