5 “never guessed who did it” stars
First of all I want to thank Random House Children/PRH Global to give me this opportunity to read this advanced reading copy of Two Can Keep a Secret.
Karen McManus confirmed her title of queen of YA murder/mystery!
I rarely do read mysteries but I happened to have read an ARC of One of Us is Lying in April 2017 and I was blown away. Karen McManus had my rapt attention right from the start of the story and had me finish the book readwalking to work.
When I knew she would release “Two Can Keep a Secret” I was overjoyed to get the opportunity to review it in advance!
Would it be as good as the first one?
When you hit it big with your first book it can put tremendous pressure on the author for the second book so would Karen deliver?
Yes, she did!
It all began with the twins Ellery and Ezra going to live with their grandmother in the small town of Echo Ridge as their mom is being forced to attend rehab.
It is a dark and rainy night when they land and going to Echo Ridge they discover a dead man on the street victim of a hit and run.
You already are into the story: night, pelting rain, abrupt stop of the car and the discovery of a corpse.
Who did it? Why was this beloved science teacher killed? Is it fortuitous or premeditated?
Next question: is this linked to the disappearance of the twin’s aunt twenty years ago as it is hinted in the book summary?
If so how?
Soon enough there will be more threats happening at Echo Ridge with bloody messages and broken dolls, targeting the future homecoming queens. As another homecoming queen Lacey was murdered five years ago. If your dream is to be crowned prom queen you’d better not live in Echo Ridge or risk a bloody death.
The story centers around a few key protagonists and we have it told from a dual POV.
The first one is from Ellery.
Ellery is passionate about true crime stories. Imagine a teenage Miss Marple trying to solve the mysteries: that of her aunt’s disappearance twenty years ago, Lacey’s murder five years ago and the serial killer leaving bloody threats everywhere.
Who is guilty?
Was it Declan, Lacey’s boyfriend like every evidence pointed to years ago? He is back in town so maybe he would fit?
Was it Officer Rodrigez? Always clumsy and seeming troubled when Ellery meets him.
Was it ….
The second POV is Malcolm’s.
He is Declan’s younger brother and living with her mom and his rich stepdad’s family.
Discreet, handsome and …wondering why his brother is back in town. Five year after the death of Lacey and just when strange events take place and threatening messages appear.
Round and round we go. Karen McManus once again aligns her clues like a game of chess. Leaving hints here and there to keep the ball rolling. Every hypothesis seems plausible until we hit a loose end.
Talk about a goose chase!
I loved how my brain at to work extra hard to guess the murderer and till a very long time I was so far off the mark! Granted I am no crime specialist but it still seems that Mrs McManus has the knack to hide her game and keep us guessing all along!
Mystery to solve aside, the characters are easy to connect with and provided with enough background info they feel real and relatable. Ellery was a typical teenager who is obsessed with solving mysteries while struggling with bad parent’s problems and going for the cute nerd.
Malcolm played his part of a little brooding, a little shy love interest with the added bonus of trying to help solve the mystery. He was not so close from his brother and was never certain that he was not involved one way or another in the dramatic events. Handy when you want to keep the reader on his toe!
Everything ran smoothly like a well oiled machine and I could not find many faults in this gripping YA murder story.
I simply had a fantastic time!
Recommend it? Oh yes! I already know that I am in for the next book of Karen McManus!
Have you read her other book One of Us is Lying? Do you like YA mysteries/murders?
Thanks for reading!