Book Review: The Foxglove Killings by Tara Kelly

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Title: The Foxglove Killings
Author: Tara Kelly
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Young Adult

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The Foxglove KillingsThe Foxglove Killings
Tara Kelly
Entangled Teen, September 2015
ISBN 978-1633751651
Hardcover

From the publisher—

Gramps always said that when the crickets were quiet, something bad was coming. And the crickets have been as silent as the dead. It started with the murdered deer in the playground with the unmistakable purple of a foxglove in its mouth. But in the dying boondock town of Emerald Cove, life goes on.

I work at Gramps’s diner, and the cakes―the entitled rich kids who vacation here―make our lives hell. My best friend, Alex Pace, is the one person who gets me. Only Alex has changed. He’s almost like a stranger now. I can’t figure it out…or why I’m having distinctly more-than-friend feelings for him. Ones I shouldn’t be having.

Then one of the cakes disappears.

When she turns up murdered, a foxglove in her mouth, a rumor goes around that Alex was the last person seen with her—and everyone but me believes it. Well, everyone except my worst enemy, Jenika Shaw. When Alex goes missing, it’s up to us to prove his innocence and uncover the true killer. But the truth will shatter everything I’ve ever known about myself—and Alex.

Note to squeamish readers: the first couple of pages of Chapter One are a little stomach-churning. You have been warned.

The Foxglove Killings has been billed as a thriller but I can’t really say that’s so. Once the deer is found in the first few pages (which should have led to a true thriller), absolutely nothing happens for more than a third of the book other than we hear that a girl is missing and the other characters occasionally mention it, wondering if she ran away. All those pages are devoted to character development which is fine but it goes on much too long. With the somewhat lackadaisical attitude about the missing girl, there really isn’t even any suspense. So, I’d say this is really a character study that happens to involve killings and Ms. Kelly does this very well.

All those pages give us the opportunity to really know these people, the teens as well as the adults in their lives, and that knowledge is sometimes quite uncomfortable. It’s not so much the “class” difference between the townies and the cakes (I really don’t like that term) as the level of hostility. In fact, you might think that no one is ever happy but that isn’t really true. Nova and Alex are very appealing even in their discontent because, while both have reasons to be that way, they have each other to rely on and they trust each other. We’re not all lucky enough to find that kind of friendship and that makes it all the more painful when a creeping distance begins to intrude.

The ultimate outcome was a surprise to me, always a good thing in a mystery, and was very sad. That’s as it should be because murder itself is a very sad happening, isn’t it? It’s that touch of feeling that makes me look forward to reading more of Tara Kelly’s work in the future.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2015.

About the Author

Tara KellyTara Kelly adores variety in her life. She’s an author, one-girl-band, graphic designer, editor, and photographer. She lives in Sin City with her beloved guitars, sound design master husband, and a fluffy cat named Maestro.

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