Two years after Violet destroyed the Intercept in The Dark Intercept (2017), she’s pulled into a mystery that reveals the Intercept might not be gone.
A one-page recap covers the events and technology of the last book. Violet now runs the near-failing Crowley & Associates Detective Agency. She’s offered a case by the mother of a teen whose death has been ruled a suicide—the mother knows her daughter wouldn’t kill herself. Readers must power through Violet’s tensionless doubt despite definitive knowledge from the girl’s point-of-view passage right before her death and multiple pages about the other mysterious alleged suicides that follow (and that convince Violet that it’s more than a coincidence). Many of the investigation’s deductions come from Violet’s fellow teen employee (one of the few characters of color), while Violet dwells on the dark secret that she and Kendall saved his notes on the Intercept. Themes of change and of despair linked to unemployment are less relatable to the characters’ chronological ages than to the ages they act—most characters are fully independent genius prodigies, including a preteen who’s “one of the top lawyers on New Earth.” The uneven writing bounces among maudlin, melodramatic, and painfully cliché, with narration clunkers like “…the Intercept is dead. Or is it?” (of course it’s not) and “The tables had turned. The hunters were about to become the hunted.” The conclusion will frustrate.
Sloppy and cringeworthy. (Dystopian adventure. 12-adult)