Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MYSTIFIED by Julia  Ash


by Julia Ash

Pub Date: March 22nd, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-73487-138-8

An American teenager is dead set on solving a murder—her own—in Ash’s paranormal mystery.

No one is more shocked than the ghost of 15-year-old Jules Parker when her drowned corpse is discovered. She died in the pool at her affluent family’s Maryland home, and signs of strangulation point to homicide. Jules’ spirit has a “foggy” memory, so she has no idea who the killer could be. Perhaps it’s her controlling mother, a former Miss America obsessed with entering Jules in beauty pageants. Her police officer father isn’t squeaky clean, either, as he’s desperate to pay back a loan shark. Luckily, Jules finds an ally in Truitt Windsor, the boy next door whom she met just days before her untimely demise. For some reason, he’s the only one who can see and talk to the ghostly teenager, and he vows to help her find her murderer. They find other potential suspects, including a pageant rival and a dangerous man with shady ties to both her parents. The investigation reveals deceit and leads to a dreadful truth. Ash subtly incorporates spirit Jules’ supernatural abilities into this taut mystery. She can materialize almost anywhere and communicate with the living, if necessary, via a computer. For the most part, though, she and Truitt piece together the evidence like any other amateur gumshoes. The author truly excels at character development, which is consistently surprising in its revelations; for example, Jules’ mom’s assistant, Mindi Maxwell, secretly hates Jules, whom she calls “Beauty Brat,” and fantasizes about her father. Although most of the suspects are unsavory, their stories take unexpected turns (including at least one additional death), but the friends’ investigation winds down to a gratifying conclusion.

An engrossing detective story with a diverting spectral spin.