The second installment of Thrash’s (We Know It Was You, 2016) Strange Truth series finds teen sleuths Benny Flax and Virginia Leeds embroiled in a series of increasingly twisted and interrelated mysteries.
Benny Flax’s ambition in founding the Mystery Club at Atlanta’s prestigious Winship Academy is to solve mysteries with an aim to seeking the truth, though bringing the guilty parties to justice is not his concern. Virginia Leeds is happy to be his partner as an antidote to the boredom of life as a boarder at Winship, though Benny himself remains a mystery to her. Thrash has perfected the voices of her white protagonists, two oddball outsiders whose quirks come off as natural in the context of her self-assured, madcap storytelling. Their latest case materializes at the school’s science expo, when a mysterious drug dealer in the girl’s bathroom is upstaged by an apparent freak accident in which DeAndre Bell, the popular African-American student-body president, is gruesomely impaled by a set of deer antlers. This dark chain of events sets Benny and Virginia down a maze of different paths to discover what really happened. Fast-paced and suspenseful, the plotting of this outing is both more plausible and more complicated than the last. The novel concludes on several cliffhangers and loose ends, leaving readers with plenty to ponder.
Thrash’s brazen characters and dark humor will compel readers forward. (Mystery. 14-adult)