BAD BEHAVIOR

Twenty-two tales of murder, suspense, and twisted psyches from both new and established writers of crime fiction. Most of the stories feature young people, dysfunctional families, or both: In Barbara Steiner's ``Mother Always Loved You Best,'' a twin survives her murderous sister's attack, then learns who instigated it (see story title); an abusive father suddenly becomes a pile of wrapped Christmas presents (maybe) in Joyce Carol Oates's exquisitely macabre ``The Premonition''; and V.I. Warshawski hunts down a runaway teenager in Sara Paretsky's profane, hard-boiled ``Maltese Cat.'' There is plenty of violent crime here, but it's usually not described in detail, and the misfeasance is sometimes relatively minor, or leavened by an ironic twist: In M.E. Kerr's ``The Green Killer'' a mediocre student steals an essay from his brilliant cousin, only to discover that it had been copied, word for word, from Isaac Asimov; in John H. MaGowan's ``Darker Than Just Before The Dawn,'' a serial killer hunts people who utter platitudes. The lack of author bios or thematic links (stories are arranged in alphabetical order by author) make the parts of this collection greater than its sum; but nearly all of the contributions are either new or making their first book appearance, and the level of storytelling is consistently high. A wide-ranging sampler for fans, new and old. (Fiction/short stories. 11+)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-15-200179-4

Page Count: 306

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1995

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Chilling, poignant, haunting, and, unfortunately, all too timely.

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THE GRACE YEAR

A rebellious 16-year-old is sent to an isolated island for her grace year, when she must release her seductive, poisonous magic into the wild before taking her proper place as a wife and child bearer.

In gaslit Garner County, women and girls are said to harbor diabolical magic capable of manipulating men. Dreaming, among other things, is forbidden, and before girls embark on their grace year, they hope to receive a veil, which promises marriage. Otherwise, it’s life in a labor house—or worse. Strong, outdoorsy, skeptical Tierney James doesn’t want to be married, but a shocking twist leaves her with a veil—and a dangerous enemy in the vindictive Kiersten. Thirty-three girls with red ribbons symbolizing sin woven into their braids set out to survive the island, but it won’t be easy. Poachers, who trade in the body parts of grace-year girls, surround the camp, and paranoia, superstition, and mistrust rule. Not everyone will make it home alive. The bones of Liggett’s (The Unfortunates, 2018, etc.) tale of female repression are familiar ones, but her immersive storytelling effortlessly weaves horror elements with a harrowing and surprising survival story. Profound moments lie in small details, and readers’ hearts will race and break right along with the brave, capable Tierney’s. The biggest changes often begin with the smallest rebellions, and the emotional conclusion will resonate. All characters are assumed white.

Chilling, poignant, haunting, and, unfortunately, all too timely. (Dystopian. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-14544-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide To Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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