Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Release Date - January 16, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  432 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.
Disappearances, murder, boarding schools, and romance. Truly Devious has all the makings of a great YA mystery read. It starts with a intense first chapter and quickly sets up what is an intriguing mystery. That is, however, all this book really does - it sets up the next two installments in this series..

This is the type of book that is really a small piece of a larger story arc. This installment doesn't wrap up any plot points in a nice little bow. It doesn't have a conclusion by the end of the novel. It's not a novel that could stand on its own. It does, however, set up the next two books in this series rather well. This means that the overarching plot is only moved forward a bit, and that pacing may feel slower to some people as a result. It's a story that involves patience to reach the payoff, but the potential is there for it to be worth the investment..

Stevie Bell is pretty much anyone who is interested in true crime. She listens to true crime podcasts. She analyzes and categorizes her surroundings. She's smart and a little awkward. You'll pretty much love her immediately. She uses her mind to work out problems, and get out of situations. I am eager to see that continue to grow and her have a battle of wills with "Truly, Devious" as the story progresses.

Part of what makes the mystery element of this novel work is the setting. Ellingham Academy is filled with tunnels, hidden rooms, and a feeling of isolation. Locked room mysteries (aka mysteries where the suspect cannot be an outsider) are some of my favourites and this one has that feel. The remoteness of the school, mixed with the overall creepy atmosphere make the logical suspects those within the school. It creates an instant case of unease because one of the characters we're getting to know is, obviously, hiding something. This element of the story is done incredibly well with the tone being perfectly captured.

The two interconnected mysteries compliment each other seamlessly, and increases the chance for a least one of them to pull off a genuine surprise twist. I liked the 'flashback' chapters filling in the older mystery while we saw the pieces to this new mystery start to fall into place. It's done well and helps add to the atmosphere of the novel.

Mystery fans will delight in having two puzzles to unravel and eagerly theorize possible suspects until the next book is released. I think this series might be one to binge read in one sitting, but fans eager for another novel from Maureen will not be disappointed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments. Thank you for stopping by my blog and thank you even more for leaving me a comment.

I have decided to make this an awards free blog. I appreciate the gesture, and love that you thought of my blog, however I simply can't pass them along as required.

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...