Dead Time by Anne Cassidy

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Bloomsbury, 2012. 344 pages; p/b. ISBN 978 1 4088 1550 2.
(Age 13+) Dead Time is a fascinating tale by author Anne Cassidy, and is the first novel in her new mystery series. Dead Time follows the exploits of Rose who is doing her best to conceal her new butterfly tattoo from her grandmother's prying eyes. Since her mother and stepfather disappeared when she was twelve, Rose has been living with her grandmother, and feels constrained in the perfectly appointed modern house they share. But now, five years later, nothing will dampen her spirits as she looks forward to meeting her 'stepbrother' Joshua, whom she has not seen in all that time.
But before she can even meet with Joshua, disaster strikes following a chance encounter with Ricky Harris, one of the boys from her college. A boy she doesn't like. This event has consequences, and Rose becomes a witness to two murders. These events spur her on to discovering who is behind the murders.
When Rose and Joshua finally meet, they discover a mutual attraction for each other, but also a shared desire to solve the mystery surrounding the disappearance of their parents five years earlier. When they unearth a mysterious notebook, they are hopeful its cryptic messages might be key to their puzzle. With their lives frequently in danger, they search out the truth behind each mysterious event.
Dead Time is easy to follow, and introduces the characters and setting with tension and intrigue, paving the way nicely for the sequels to follow. With loads of dialogue and action it should appeal to young adult girls ages 13+. A great new series to enjoy.
Colleen Tuovinen