A teenage girl–turned-detective unravels the truth behind her doppelgänger cousin’s tragic demise in this moody crime novel.
Native Londoner Jess Tennant arrives in the seaside village of Port Sentinel to spend the summer getting to know her estranged extended family, only to be met with near-constant stares on the street. A year ago, Jess’ cousin Freya died in a tragic accident most believed to be suicide—and Jess looks exactly like her. Immediately the talk of the small town, Jess becomes embroiled in Freya’s old relationships, and many of her new acquaintances, including Will, Freya’s handsome but irksome former best friend, seem to harbor dark secrets. Jess isn’t anything like the daydreamer cousin she never met, however, and determines to investigate the truth of Freya’s death, no matter the cost. Casey creates a stark, immersive setting and believably despicable teenage characters. However, Jess reads as equally unfeeling and abrasive, only showing much emotion when it comes to facing the far more layered and complicated Will. The solution to the mystery lacks the punch it promises, but the clever banter and the truly devious side characters will keep readers invested.
If readers can get past this less-than-charming stand-in for Veronica Mars, they should enjoy this page-turner. (Mystery. 14-18)