Kensington | July 2020 | 368 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss 

Forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore and her psychologist partner, Lane Phillips, have made their first appearance in Charlie Donlea's previous novel, Some Choose Darkness. While this is the second book of the Rory Moore/Lane Phillips series, it could be read as a stand-alone.

On 21st June 2019 in Peppermill, Indiana, two students are found brutally murdered at an abandoned boarding house situated near the prestigious Westmont Preparatory High School. The boarding house is a popular late-night hangout among selected students who are invited to participate in some sort of a dare game so as to earn recognition and carry on the "tradition" to the next batch of unsuspecting juniors. Initial investigations led the police to suspect Charles Gorman, who is the students' chemistry teacher after they found his manifesto detailing what he'd do to some of his boisterous students. But before the police could take further actions, Charles commits suicide but ended up in a vegetative state. Without an affirmative statement, the police shut the case based on his manifesto although some questions remain unanswered. 

The case is later picked up by Mack Carter a year later for his podcast channel he called The Suicide House and it has since attracted many listeners to discuss the theories and conclusions about the discoveries made during the episode to the Internet and social media. Journalist Ryder Hillier intends to piggyback on the success of Mack's podcast and pull him in onto her plan to work together; after all she had sounded the alarms first and had done her research and posted all her findings in her true-crime blog. But just as they thought they've found a student who was present on that fateful night, he is later believed to have committed suicide before they could get anything out from him. Earlier, there were two students who had done the same near the boarding house and with so many puzzling threads floating around, this is when Rory and Lane come into the picture to look into the case which seems to be related to the two gruesome murders a year ago. What really happened on that fateful night a year ago and what dark secrets lie inside the walls of Westmont High?

Be prepared to take a wild reading ride in this psychological thriller because there's a lot of stuff going on here. There are multiple POVs and characters alongside Rory and Lane; then there are flashbacks and journal entries which dictate the perp's inner thoughts and not to mention Rory and Lane's findings. However, the reading experience got better once I was into the story as I find they're all nicely linked and it was good to know each respective background though it could be confusing initially. While it wasn't hard to guess the perpetrator in the end, the strength of this book lies in the dark and foreboding atmosphere as well as the author's engaging writing style. I look forward to reading more of this series. 

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14 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    I have to have this one. When I wrote my review of some choose darkness, I added that I wanted a series with Rory!

  2. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Your wish has now come true! :) Hope you'll enjoy this one.

  3. Kay Says:

    I liked the first book in this series (glad it became a series!) as well. Can't wait to get to read this one. Thanks for writing about it, Melody!

  4. Lark Says:

    I've liked the few books by Donlea that I've read. This sounds like another really good one! Another book to put on hold at my library. :)

  5. Melody Says:

    Kay - I'll have to check out the first book of this series after having enjoyed this. And it's always a pleasure to spread some book love. :D

  6. Melody Says:

    Lark - I've enjoyed most of his books so far and this sounds like a good series to follow. Hope you'll get your library copy soon. :)

  7. Iliana Says:

    I'm sort of taking a short break from psychological thrillers but I do enjoy them and look forward to reading this author.

  8. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Hopefully you'll enjoy this one when you get to it, Iliana.

  9. the bookworm Says:

    Sounds like a great series, glad you enjoyed this one. I like that there's a podcast involved. I listen to a true crime podcast and I enjoy it.

  10. This does sound like a wild ride! I may have to give it a try at some point, when I'm more in the mood to dive back into a darker thriller. Thank you for your great review!

  11. Melody Says:

    Naida - Podcast is interesting no matter if we read them in books or hear them in audio/video form, isn't it?

  12. Melody Says:

    Wendy - Thanks, Wendy! I hope you'll enjoy this series when you get to them.

  13. Great review! It does seem complicated with the POVs and journal entries, but definitely sounds worth reading. I read his first two books and really enjoyed them.

  14. Melody Says:

    Diana - Thanks, Diana! I've enjoyed most of his books so far and though this sounds a bit complicating, it was still a good read.

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