This gripping psycho-mystery ends with several plot threads left unresolved, but it should have wide appeal, especially among reluctant readers.
Fifteen-year-old Andy receives what appears to be a prank phone call: “I’ve killed her,” a man named Zeke confesses. When no heinous crime is subsequently reported, everyone tells Andy he must forget the incident. But Andy becomes obsessed with finding the would-be victim and her potential murderer. Using clues gathered from the initial phone conversation, he unravels the identity of the two and masterminds a dangerous meeting to expose the murderer and vindicate himself.
Although primarily a novel of action, character development is skillfully interwoven to provide motivation for Andy and Zeke. Short paragraphs, simple sentence structure, and a terse vocabulary effectively heighten the tension, culminating in a taut climax when Andy finds himself at Zeke’s mercy. The novel’s ending is perturbing (Andy never confesses to his role in Zeke’s accidental death, and his father decides to throw away the evidence linking his son with the dead man), but it does offer the opportunity for discussing the moral and psychological implications of the novel. (12-16)