When a mysterious hacker exposes sensitive emails at Aldrich University, everyone’s secrets are laid bare to public scrutiny. But no one saw surgeon Greg Strasser’s murder coming.
The data breach reveals Blue Hill, Pennsylvania, to be a veritable Peyton Place of disgrace, including extramarital affairs, testing scandals, and fraternity rape accusations. Hidden in Greg’s trash folder are emails to a “Lolita Bovary” that cast him as certainly a philanderer and quite possibly a pedophile. After the Aldrich Giving Gala, Greg’s wife, Kit, awakens from a drunken stupor to discover him stabbed in the kitchen. Could she have killed him out of rage? Or perhaps it was Kit’s ambitious co-worker Lynn, eager to push Kit off the corporate ladder by framing her for murder? Then again, where was Lynn’s husband that night? And who is Lolita? Kit’s daughter, Sienna, is certainly sad about her stepfather’s death, but her friend Raina’s grief seems suspiciously excessive. Meanwhile, Kit’s sister, Willa, is back in town. An investigative reporter with secrets in her own past, Willa is loath to stay a minute past the funeral reception, but how can she refuse to help Kit stay out of jail? With nods to Big Little Lies as well as her own Pretty Little Liars series, Shepard (The Elizas, 2018, etc.) brilliantly hides the identity of the true villain in the gaps between characters. An Agatha Christie for the 21st century, Shepard masterfully crafts a prestigious town rife with hidden temptation and sin. So Willa gets her chance to play Miss Marple, albeit a much younger, hipper version, and her sleuthing deftly exposes unexpected links between characters. From chapter to chapter, Shepard’s plotting breathlessly careens between characters, with each cliffhanger swiftly answered by another, ratcheting up the stakes until the killer is finally unmasked.
A fast-paced, twisty-turny mystery perfect for a cozy weekend read.