An 18-year-old girl decides to investigate an attempted murder on her own.
Nikki has synesthesia, which causes her to see colors mixed in with letters, numbers, and the environment, which is why she answers school queen-bee Peyton’s orange-colored phone call: it’s an emergency. The movie producer’s daughter has been beaten nearly to death, and Nikki’s was the only number on Peyton’s phone—though Nikki hardly knows her. Curious, Nikki becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Peyton. She continually rebuffs Chris, the detective assigned to the case, who pleads with her to be careful and to give him what information she might have. Naturally, Nikki places herself in ever more dangerous positions, but although she’s an expert in martial arts, that might not be enough. Brown builds suspense as well as frustration, as Nikki makes better progress in the case than does Chris but blithely withholds and even destroys crucial evidence even as she puts herself in increasing danger. Nikki’s intransigence appears to be entirely plot-driven, and the mounting stupidity of her decisions may infuriate readers. The story also simply abandons two subplots, the murder of Nikki’s mother and the former boyfriend who wants her back.
An intense, often exasperating, sometimes-thrilling series opener. (Thriller. 12-18)