Embry Woods keeps things close to her chest.
On her way to the vacant Sea Cliff Inn for a late-night rendezvous with her best friend’s ex-boyfriend, Holden, her current-but-on-a-break soldier boyfriend, Luke, calls her from Afghanistan to propose. Unable to tell him it’s over, she promises to think about it. Later, in the steamy throes of passion, Embry kicks over a candle and sets the inn on fire. The blonde high school senior calls 911 to report the fire she claims she noticed as she was walking by. She becomes a local hero after she rescues a man she spies through the window. A few days later, Embry receives a note demanding a full confession on Facebook, or else. Someone has proof of her night at the inn, and the blackmailer clearly has a personal score to settle. But no one Embry knows would do such a thing. Or would they? Heavy exposition and unimportant details clutter an otherwise intriguing mystery. Despite the secrets and the attention of two boys, Embry is a dry, forgettable character with no warmth or sense of humor. Most characters are white, but there is some diversity in secondary characters (one person comes out, there’s a detective named Reyes, a classmate named Misty Whitehawk punches a bully who calls her a squaw, and another classmate is hijabi).
Read it over a lazy weekend. (Mystery. 14-18)