A captivating read infused with a sense of history and culture.

READ REVIEW

White Flutters in Munich

From the An E.T. Madigan Mystery series , Vol. 2

The Madigan family relocates to Munich, where another long-buried mystery awaits them in the second of a series aimed at preteen readers.

Fourteen-year-old Ellen Madigan senses there’s a mystery to be solved as soon as she enters the house her family has rented for the year in Munich. Ellen is learning to trust her psychic ability, awakened in her previous adventure, which connects her to people from the past. New readers to the series shouldn’t worry; Mularz (Upheavals at Cuma, 2014) gives enough background information to keep them from feeling lost. Ellen soon learns that two young women died in the basement of the house during a bombing raid in World War II. But when she begins dreaming of one of the women, Liesi Falke, Ellen senses there is more to her story. With the help of Basti Hofstetter, the handsome boy next door, Ellen discovers that Liesi and her friend were medical students helping transport young children to the countryside, out of the reach of the Nazis. The two girls faked their deaths to escape Germany, but there the trail goes cold. As she tracks down clues to their fates, Ellen immerses herself in local culture, learning the language and trying new foods and traditions. Mularz sensitively addresses Germany’s Nazi history, emphasizing the complicated feelings of present-day Germans about their past. “Hitler haunts us,” Basti tells Ellen. Ellen’s dreams depict Nazi Germany and reveal a little-known aspect of the resistance movement. While she unravels the historical mystery, Ellen juggles her growing crush on Basti and her desire to become more independent. A confident girl who loves science, Ellen is a terrific role model, but her natural doubts and insecurities also make her relatable. Occasionally, her psychic abilities too conveniently reveal the next clue, but a hefty amount of old-fashioned detective work provides balance. Digging into family secrets proves surprisingly suspenseful, and the end packs a satisfying emotional punch.

A captivating read infused with a sense of history and culture.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5188-7160-3

Page Count: 262

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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An atmospheric and creepy page-turner.

I KILLED ZOE SPANOS

Seventeen-year-old Anna Cicconi finds herself in the middle of a mystery when she takes a summer nanny job in the swanky Hamptons enclave of Herron Hills.

Frick begins her story at the end. Well, sort of. August in the Hamptons signals the turning of the leaves and sees the grisly discovery of 19-year-old Zoe Spanos’ body. Zoe disappeared on New Year’s Eve, and Anna, who happens to strongly resemble her, has confessed to her murder. However, Martina Green, who runs the podcast Missing Zoe, doesn’t believe Anna did it and attempts to find out what really happened. Flash back to June: Hard-partying recent high school grad Anna sees her new job caring for Tom and Emilia Bellamy’s 8-year-old daughter as a fresh start. As one sun-drenched day melts into the next, Anna is drawn to Windemere, the neighboring Talbots’ looming, Gothic-style home, and to the brooding, mysterious Caden Talbot. But Anna can’t shake a feeling of déjà vu, and she’s having impossible memories that intertwine her life with Zoe’s. Frick easily juggles multiple narratives, and readers will enjoy connecting the dots of her cleverly plotted thriller inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s classic Rebecca. Anna and Zoe are white; the supporting cast includes biracial characters Martina (Latinx/white) and Caden (black/white). Caden discusses grappling with being raised by white adoptive parents, facing racialized suspicion as Zoe’s boyfriend, and feeling marginalized at Yale.

An atmospheric and creepy page-turner. (map) (Thriller. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4970-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Garrett’s failure to produce any sympathetic characters makes her debut tough going.

THE LAST TO DIE

Burglaries turn deadly for a group of spoiled teenagers.

Harper, Alex, Sarah, Paisley, Benji, and Gin come from similarly privileged homes. Their parents make up for a lack of commitment to their high school offspring by providing unfettered access to life’s material benefits: cars, clothes, and costly vacations. When getting drunk on booze filched from their folks’ well-stocked liquor cabinets palls, they invent an exciting new game. Each time one of the teens’ families goes skiing in Vail or snorkeling in the Bahamas, a designated member of the pack breaks into the unattended house and collects an assortment of trophies to be pawned for ready cash. The rules of the looting are strict. Only one member breaks into each house, nothing is to be stolen that can’t be replaced with insurance money, and nothing stolen from other members of the group. Harper adds one more rule: no stealing from her deaf sister, Maggie. After one full round of felonious fun, the wheels start to come off the crime spree. Sarah dies from a drug overdose. The police can’t decide if it’s an accident or suicide, but Harper is sure it’s neither. She thinks Sarah is too smart to overdose on her own and too conceited to kill herself. And since no one outside her little group exists for Harper, one of her fellow thieves must have killed her. Going to the authorities is a no-go because it would reveal the group’s role in the burglaries and spoil their chances of admission to an Ivy League college. So Harper and her chums sit around and wait to see if anything else bad happens. It does. Unfortunately, even Harper’s protectiveness toward her sister carries its own whiff of smugness.

Garrett’s failure to produce any sympathetic characters makes her debut tough going.

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-929345-30-4

Page Count: 206

Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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