Archive for the 'Mystery' Category



The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

name of the star

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

# of Pages:  372

RAC: Yes

Rory goes to England with her parents for her senior year of high school and enrolls in a private boarding school in London.  She hits it off with her roommate and finds that she fits in pretty well with their different classes and overall school schedules.  Shortly after she arrives, however, a terrible murder is committed mimicking Jack the Ripper’s first murder that occurred many years prior to this on the same date.  Despite London having over a million cameras throughout the city there is a shocking lack of evidence.  Rory and her new friends live close to where all of these murders occurred and therefore get caught up in the fear that sweeps over London.  Can they find the Jack the Ripper impersonator?  Will the murders continue and everyone be helpless to stop it?

This book was highly suspenseful, entertaining, and unique.  The idea itself captures most people’s interest as Jack the Ripper is one of the most famous unidentified serial killers and the hysteria that sweeps the public is completely believable.  The actual revelation of who is committing the murders is unique and yet plausible.  The characters are all likable and the ending sets up the series for many more titles to come.  This book was named an Iowa Teen Award winner for this year and is highly recommended.

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

lying game

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  307

RAC:  Yes

Emma is a foster child who was abandoned by her mother at a young age.  Sutton is Emma’s long lost twin sister she didn’t know she had until Sutton had already mysteriously vanished.  Emma is lured to Sutton’s town thinking she is going to meet Sutton and instead she is threatened and told if she doesn’t pretend to be Sutton she will die.  As Sutton begins to learn more about the kind of person Sutton is she wonders if this is some kind of elaborate prank or if something terrible really has happened to her twin.  Whom can she trust among Sutton’s friends and family?  Would one of them hurt her and threaten her twin into taking her place?

Fans of Sara Shepard will enjoy this title as much as her others.  The story is intriguing, there are many characters who have reason to hate Sutton, and the plot constantly twists and turns.  The only thing readers might not like it waiting for the next one in the series!  Recommended for high school girls.

The Agency: a spy in the house by Y.S. Lee

a spy in the house

Genre:  Mystery/Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  335

RAC:  Yes

This title was recently named to the Iowa High School Award Winners for 2013-2014.  The first in this series, Mary is rescued from a death sentence for stealing in 1853 by a woman who runs a special school for young girls.  After many years of schooling, Mary is taken into a special program designed to turn young women into spies.  Her first assignment is to be the paid companion of a wealthy teenage girl who is ungrateful for the company at best.  As Mary enters the house she is supposed to keep her ears open for information about the family business and whether or not they are really suffering from as many lost ships as they claim, but in the end she overhears much more than that.  She also meets another spy trying to dig up information on this family.  Will he be a threat or an ally?  Can Mary perfect her spying skills in order to become a permanent fixture in this alliance?

Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this title because it is set in a unique time period while also including intrigue and mystery.  The story moves fairly quickly and the ending is exciting.  The final revelation of who is behind the lost ships is surprising, but also a bit confusing in the details for some young readers.  Mary’s background is touched on, but readers will look for more to be revealed in the future sequels.

Suspect by Robert Crais

suspect

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

# of Pages:  309

RAC Book:  Yes

Scott James is an LAPD cop who got caught in the middle of a shoot out on a deserted street in the middle of the night.  His partner was killed and he was badly injured and left for dead.  Despite being encouraged to take a medical discharge, Scott pushes to remain in the department and gets moved to the K9 unit.  The dog he chooses, Maggie, was in a terrible shootout as well in Iraq in which her carrier was killed and she was injured trying to protect him.  They both have some post traumatic stress and scar tissue to work with.  Scott learns some new cops have taken over his case and they want to discuss it with him.  Can he finally get to the bottom of what happened?  Will he ever avenge his partner and come to grips with the guilt he has for surviving when she didn’t?  Will Maggie ever trust a new carrier?

Fans of mystery writers such as Harlan Coben will enjoy this title.  It moves quickly and has a lot of suspense and drama. The actual ending seems a bit quick, but the resolution is satisfying.  The progression of details keeps the reader interested and the inclusion of the dog to the case helps Scott more than once.  Recommended for mystery fans.

Dark Souls by Paula Morris

dark souls

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

# of Pages:  292

RAC:  Yes

Miranda and her brother, Rob, are in a terrible car accident that kills Miranda’s best friend.  After the fact, Rob has some serious fears about riding in cars and claustrophobia, while Miranda is mourning her friend.  Her parents have professional reasons for visiting York, England and decide it is a perfect time for the family to get away.  Upon arrival, Miranda realizes she can now see ghosts, but is most intrigued by the one across the street that she can see in the attic of a boarded up house.    She meets a troubled young man, Nick, who can also see ghosts and invites her to some mysterious places in order to interact with them.    The more time she spends with Nick the more she suspects he is planning something big and mysterious.   Can she save him from making a terrible mistake that will change his entire future?

This story includes a lot of folklore about York which ties into the story well.  The characters are well developed, especially Miranda’s family, despite being in the story rather infrequently.  The mystery moves a tad slow at the beginning, but eventually takes off and it’s obvious that the groundwork for solving it has been laid from the beginning.  Fans of ghost and/or mystery stories will enjoy this title.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Genre:  Suspense/Mystery

# of Pages:  294

RAC:  Yes

This take on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, features 10 teenagers who were lured to a weekend house on an island for a party that they find out was never happening.  Instead, they start getting killed off one by one in extremely odd fashion.  Meg accompanied her friend, Minnie, to the party even thought she had some reservations to begin with.  She is also the only one who tries to think of constructive ways to get off of this island.  All of her ideas are thwarted, however.  There is no power, Internet, phone service, radios, or any way to contact the outside world.  They have ascertained they are indeed alone on the island which means the killer is among them.  How can they survive if they do not even know who or what the threat is?

This mystery is still a lot of fun even with the updated characters.  They all have past issues that all teen readers can relate to and in most cases those issues contribute to why they are on this island.  There are some plot revelations that are fairly predictable, but the suspense and overall pacing of the story will keep readers interested all the way until the very end.  A fun mystery story.

Accidental Mobster by M.M. Cox

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  247

RAC Book:  Yes

Danny Higgins is forced out of his home when a domestic dispute between his parents ends badly.  Surprisingly a man he’s never met before, Gino, comes to rescue him from foster life claiming to be his godfather.  Gino lives a very extravagant lifestyle with his wife and two kids, but welcomes Danny wholeheartedly.  As Danny begins to get used to this life that is so different from where he came from, he learns that his godfather has ties to the mob.  He cares about his godfather and wants to protect him, but he cannot deny that Gino has made some terrible choices in his past.  Plus, he is being blackmailed from more than one person and he has to figure out how to protect himself from all the people who want to hurt him and his new family.  Is there a way to protect Gino and his family without having to give up his new happy life?

This story is quite engaging.  Danny is a likable character from a tough background who finds himself in happy new surroundings.  Of course he doesn’t stay happy for long as he struggles to find ways to save his reputation and protect his adopted family from those who wish to tear them down.  Danny is very clever and often comes up with elaborate plans in order to get what he wants.  This is refreshing because many characters simply let things happen to them and Danny is very proactive.   High school boys will especially enjoy the story because it has a little espionage and a lot of action that they tend to enjoy.  A very fun read.



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