My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
This young adult thriller brings the feeling of Scream to a captivating if a bit on the nose book. I liked the characterization in the book, as each person felt unique but they weren’t developed in any meaningful way. As a result, it was an enjoyable and quick read but you’re likely to not connect strongly with any of the characters.
One of the toughest things in a book versus a visual story when building suspense is that everything needs to be laid out for the reader. You can’t just expect the reader to notice an out of place egg timer as they might when watching a tv show, you need to expressly tell your reader that it keeps moving to strange locations. I feel like this could have been executed more smoothly in the book, but as I am not an experienced thriller writer (nor reader), I don’t feel I have enough knowledge to know for sure. It just seemed like the author tended to tell, rather than show throughout the narrative. The clues and scares were shoved in your face, rather than letting the creep factor build on its own.
A lot of readers have mentioned knowing “whodunnit” the moment that character appeared on the page, but I did not have that same experience. I felt that there was enough misdirection thrown your way and too-obvious clues pointing to certain characters that it was able to remain a mystery for a while. The only problem I had with the reveal is that it seemed to occur much too early in the book. It seemed to be about halfway into the story and we already knew who the killer was. As this was an incredibly short, easy read that makes the reveal feel premature.
I would be a little hesitant to recommend this book to younger readers or anyone who is squeamish about gory scenes because there were a number of them in the book. In general, she wasn’t vividly descriptive but her clinical detachment while describing the scenes might be off-putting to some. Some of the murders are incredibly violent and others are just very stabby.