[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]
Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was the first victim of a serial killer that proceed to claim many more—one woman every none months since then. Tired of said killer still being at large, Jess decides to apply to a YouTube reality show that will give her one day of air time every week, which she plans to use to appeal to potential witnesses, and basically keep the case hot so that her family can finally see justice being served.
All in all, this story turned out enjoyable and fairly well-constructed overall, with a nice balance of red herrings and suspense, even though the premise is slightly over the top. (The first thing anyone should think when it comes to Jessica’s means is “if that killer’s still around it will attract their attention and she’ll be their next victim for sure”, so it’s kind of baffling that the adults around her were relatively easily on board with it—especially in that time and age, when the flip side of social media is not a mystery.) It also has something very simple; but that I enjoy in this kind of novel: short chapters (sometimes 1-2 pages long, not more), which means that, since I mainly read while commuting and during breaks, I could easily stop and pick it up again pretty much at any time, even when I only had five minutes to read. And I did want to keep reading, and knowing what would happen next.
Of course, the heroine being 17, her decisions were often reckless and bordering on stupid, which is definitely not unheard of in YA stories… On the other hand, it does make up for twists and not-so-happy consequences for the characters, so that’s that. All TSTL tendencies set apart, though, I really liked the other aspects of the story. Jess’s relationship with her close firneds. How her family has been spending the past ten years mired in grief, with her father trying to function as best as he could but never becoming who he used to be again. Her meeting the families of the other victims of the “Magpie Man”. It wasn’t only about catching a killer, but also about (re)discovering how to live after such gruesome events, after a loved one is snatched away from you—and after realising that yes, one’s actions always has consequences.
Conclusion: 3.5 stars.