Chris Van Etten
Point Horror, July 2014
Cole Redeker is a straight A student, a champ on the debate team, and works at perfecting his pie crust recipe. Such a perfect son that his parents learn to accept his friend Gavin, a slacker who plays bass in an awful garage band. Gavin’s two favorite phrases are “It’ll be fun. I promise.” And “Told you so.”
Cole’s auburn haired girlfriend, Winnie, choir soloist and tennis player, dumps him for Josh, the school’s star soccer player. When Cole discovers that Josh has been copying his history essays from Wikipedia, he and Gavin hatch a plan. History teacher Mr. Drick frowns on sloppy and lazy research, and knowing that Josh is writing a paper on serial killers, Cole plants false Wikipedia articles full of ridiculous facts. When Josh is caught, he is put on academic probation and suspended from the team.
When Josh’s best friend and teammate is discovered dead in the gymnasium, Gavin discovers a Wikipedia entry that foretold his particularly gruesome death. When another friend is partially blinded and burned by poisoned eye drops, Cole realizes that someone is after the students and wonders who will be next.
A good portion of the story is told by Instant Messages among the various students. While the deaths are horrible, the details are not lingered on. Still, not a book for the easily upset.
Reviewed by Susan Belsky, September 2015.
Carrick & Watkins #2
Forge, June 2015
Mass Market Paperback
A three-day visit to Martha’s Vineyard to visit an old friend who is working there, keeping track of bees needed to pollinate crops, turns out to be more than Philadelphia detective Doyle Carrick and his girlfriend, Nola, probably bargained for. They discover the bee population is fast disappearing and the cause is a mystery. Nola gets a job manually pollinating plants on a farm and Doyle ends up hanging around, then becoming embroiled in helping to solve the situation.
A lesser plot is the love interest: Doyle and Nola’s hot-and-cold relationship; her association with the young, handsome employer, making Doyle jealous; and his relationship with a beautiful female scientist, raising an equal emotion in Nola. Of course, both these other characters play a vital role in the main plot.
The action is fast and furious, and the plot moves forward at a rapid pace. And to boot, there are additional facets to complicate the reader’s progress, including high stakes corporate machinations. (And we probably learn more about bees and genetics than we ever wished.)
Reviewed by Ted Feit, June 2015.