At an exclusive, picture-perfect prep school, a grisly discovery leads to more sinister—and deadly—revelations.
Katie Barton, a scholarship student at the
exclusive Whitney Prep boarding school, harbors dark secrets that shattered her
home life. Her roommate, Tessa, also on a scholarship, is her best friend and
closest confidante, with some disquieting secrets of her own. Much to Tessa’s
chagrin, Katie has been dating privileged Mark Summers, a star athlete and son
of the headmaster. However, one fateful day at her dorm, Katie receives a
mysterious, tattered box. Inside, is a severed human hand with a rose tattoo.
Soon after, Mark is indicted for the murder of the girl with the missing hand.
Could he have done it? Or could Katie’s jealous roommate have been involved? The
plot is driven by a cast of stereotypical prep school attendees, and the
psychological observations of these characters feel boilerplate and wooden. Some
of the more serious issues in this book—like date rape—are breezily glossed
over to make room for the central mystery. The adults (including a school
psychologist) behave questionably and unrealistically, presumably also to
accommodate the plot. Most disappointingly, most readers will have started
putting the pieces of this mystery together very early on, making for a lackluster
reveal at the credibility-defying conclusion.
While the pages may fly, the shortcomings are abundant in this overly ambitious offering. (Mystery. 13-16)