Thursday, March 1, 2012

Edgar Nominee Review: Kill You Last by Todd Strasser

Book two on my Tour des Edgars (doesn't that sound fancy?) is Kill You Last by Todd Strasser. A great cover that promises a snappy mystery/thriller.

And Strasser didn't disappoint. It took me a minute to shift gears from Harlan Coben's male POV to a decidedly more girl-friendly book, but once I got a few pages in, I was hooked. Break-neck pace, solid mystery--the perfect blend of mystery and thriller.

The story follows Shelby, daughter of a small-town but once big-shot photographer. When three missing girls are linked to her father and his questionably photography practices, she quickly gets caught in the media circus that puts her family life in chaos. Meanwhile, she's receiving threatening texts, and is alienated at school.

Shelby has to dig for the truth about her father's involvement in these girls' disappearances, all while trying to figure out who she can trust.

Kill You Last is a great mystery: I was wondering right along with Shelby what everyone's motive really was. Strasser had me staying up late, flipping the pages, so it had that great thriller element as well. I wasn't too crazy about the whole which-boy-do-we-like plotline, but that's more of a personal preference. Some of the dunnit and the title importance was a bit of a stretch, but not implausible.

Mystery quotient: 4 out of 5, mostly because of the thriller pacing. A solid mystery that leaves you guessing, but makes sense once you get to the reveal.

Verdict: Great for the reluctant reader teen, 14 and up. Main characters drive cars, and deal with mature subject matter, so definitely squarely in the YA category. But no questionable content at all. Probably more for a girl, but might stretch to boy territory because of the strong thriller factor.

Side Note: I liked Kill You Last. This Edgar race might just be tough to predict...


  1. The plots of these YA do not sound very different from adult books. I think tweeting is going to become boring as a device soon though. I know you have to have it in books, especially those about YAs, but it is a passive way of turning up something for me.

  2. Any use of tech in YA or kid's books in general is dated almost immediately. I try to avoid it if possible...