Release date: July 28, 2020
A chilling murder in a prestigious prep school is at the heart of this riveting new novel from acclaimed author Charlie Donlea, featuring forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore and her psychologist partner, Lane Phillips.
Inside the walls of Indiana’s elite Westmont Preparatory High School, expectations run high and rules are strictly enforced. But in the woods beyond the manicured campus and playing fields sits an abandoned boarding house that is infamous among Westmont’s students as a late-night hangout. Here, only one rule applies: don’t let your candle go out–unless you want the Man in the Mirror to find you. . . .
One year ago, two students were killed there in a grisly slaughter. The case has since become the focus of a hit podcast, The Suicide House. Though a teacher was convicted of the murders, mysteries and questions remain. The most urgent among them is why so many students who survived that horrific night have returned to the boarding house–to kill themselves.
Rory, an expert in reconstructing cold cases, is working on The Suicide House podcast with Lane, recreating the night of the killings in order to find answers that have eluded the school, the town, and the police. But the more they learn about the troubled students, the chillingly stoic culprit, and a dangerous game gone tragically wrong, the more convinced they become that something sinister is still happening. Inside Westmont Prep, the game hasn’t ended. It thrives on secrecy and silence. And for its players, there may be no way to win–or to survive. . . .
This is the second in a series and while I’m sure you could jump in here there is quite a bit of backstory, mainly with Rory in the first book so just keep that in mind if you jump in at book two. Also, if you’re a fan of the author you may notice some character crossover here, don’t worry if you haven’t read all of his books, (but you should cause they’re all solid reads) it’s just a nice little treat for longtime readers.
There is a lot going on in this one, a few main plots and then subplots but they all make sense as you keep reading, just know that there’s a few characters to keep track of and it did take me a short time to feel settled into the story. But once I was, I was all in. With so much going on there is no room for boredom which is always appreciated by me and this one was super fast paced and exciting. The flashback chapters to a year ago at Westmont Prep were super atmospheric and had a sinister feel to it as you already know many of the kids will be dead within a year. I loved diving even deeper into Rory and Lane’s characters, they’re both so fascinating and I hope we get more from them. If you enjoy the addition of popular stylistic thrillers like podcasts, etc give this a try it was a tricky mystery and another great read from the author!
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.