A murder-mystery superfan’s life turns into something ripped from the pages of her favorite genre.
Shy, wealthy, red-haired Addison “Addie” Gaines runs a well-trafficked blog devoted to her favorite series, the Gap Lake mysteries. Shortly after she gets an email purporting to be from the reclusive, mysterious author, R.J. Rosen, inviting her to join the publicity campaign for his next book by posting teaser passages online, she stumbles upon a dead classmate in a scene that is all too familiar. Addie struggles to get anyone, including her best friend, a Latina girl named Maya Garcia, to take her book-related theories seriously, since they rely so heavily on coincidences. But as the connections to Gap Lake keep piling up, Addie and others around her find themselves in real danger. Possible suspects include Rosen—if it even is him sending the messages—as well as the dead girl’s handsome olive-skinned ex-boyfriend (also the subject of Addie’s crush) and even Addie herself (under scrutiny for her interest in the macabre and some darkness in her family’s past). Sensory details and the emotions they evoke are highlighted to conceal some patchiness in the plotting. Addie and Maya feel authentic; their charming interpersonal dynamic and the escalating pace of the plot result in a quick read. The ending, especially the denouement, is abrupt and underwhelming.
Combining fandom and murder, a pleasant diversion designed for digital natives. (Thriller. 12-16)