Review Blog

Jun 14 2012

Kill you last by Todd Strasser

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Thrillogy series. Walker, 2012. ISBN 9781406329940.
(Age 14+) Recommended. Crime. Mystery. Thriller. Reluctant readers. A finalist in the 2012 Edgar awards, this book got me out of the dystopian doldrums and into a fast moving, engrossing mystery. Shelby's father is a photographer who takes shots of teens who want to be models. When three teenagers go missing and the only link between them is the fact that her father took their photos, Shelby investigates to help clear her father. With the help of Roman, her best friend, and Whit a journalist student at a nearby college, she starts to uncover secrets, secrets that she would prefer not to know.
This is an action packed novel. Strasser builds up the tension as Shelby begins to get e-mails asking her if she knew the truth about her father and finally one that that threatens to kill her last. As Shelby gets closer to the truth she believes that she can't trust anyone, not even her best friend. She is also uncertain about Whit and whether he is interested in her or in following his journalistic instincts and getting a scoop. There are plenty of red herrings scattered throughout the book and it was not until the final pages that I guessed who the murderer was.
One of Shelby's big fears about whether or not her father murdered the missing girls is the fact that she knows her father is sleazy. He makes inappropriate remarks about her friends and their bodies and loves to photograph young girls. There is a subtle message in the background to girls to be sure not to be taken in by photographers and handsome boys who say that they can give you a beautiful portfolio of photos to help you make it as a model.
Having her father under suspicion for murder forces Shelby to grow up and face reality. She tells her story in the first person and I grew to like her determination to find out the truth and willingness to acknowledge that wrongdoing must be punished even if she loves the person who is doing it.
Teens will love the technology, the text messages, use of Blackberry and iPads and anonymous e-mails that help to create a scary mood in the book. There are two other books in the Thrillogy series, Wish you were dead and Blood on my hands. Judging by Kill you last, which was quick read, with short chapters and plenty of action, this series would appeal to reluctant readers.
Pat Pledger

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