A fantastic stand-alone mystery companion revisits a much-loved sleuth.

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THE BOX IN THE WOODS

From the Truly Devious series , Vol. 4

Amateur boarding school detective Stevie Bell is back with a new cold case to crack in a companion novel to the Truly Devious trilogy.

After solving one of the greatest murder mysteries of the 20th century, Stevie is at a bit of a loss while back home working at a deli counter during summer break. When the new owner of Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the gruesome (and unsolved) Box in the Woods murders back in the ’70s—invites her over to work on the case for his upcoming documentary and podcast, Stevie immediately says yes. It’s especially appealing since she gets to invite her closest friends, Nate and Janelle, as well as her boyfriend, David, to tag along. When a new murder takes place just as Stevie starts asking questions around town, the gang find themselves in danger once more. Johnson’s hallmark charming humor and lovable characters provide a robust foundation for another cracking mystery, this time ingeniously working with summer-camp and locked-room–mystery tropes. A few snippets relating back to the events in 1978 and Stevie’s empathy for the grieving friends and relatives of the dead, who still yearn for answers, provide a strong emotional grounding for the case. Apart from Janelle, who is Black (and queer), most characters are White. Stevie’s relationship with her lifelong anxiety is particularly well portrayed.

A fantastic stand-alone mystery companion revisits a much-loved sleuth. (author's note) (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-303260-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.

LOCK THE DOORS

A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.

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FIREKEEPER'S DAUGHTER

Testing the strength of family bonds is never easy—and lies make it even harder.

Daunis is trying to balance her two communities: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, teen is constantly adapting, whether she is with her Anishinaabe father’s side of the family, the Firekeepers, or the Fontaines, her White mother’s wealthy relatives. She has grand plans for her future, as she wants to become a doctor, but has decided to defer her plans to go away for college because her maternal grandmother is recovering from a stroke. Daunis spends her free time playing hockey with her Firekeeper half brother, Levi, but tragedy strikes, and she discovers someone is selling a dangerous new form of meth—and the bodies are piling up. While trying to figure out who is behind this, Daunis pulls away from her family, covering up where she has been and what she has been doing. While dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief.

A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76656-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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