After solving the case of Truly Devious, Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.
Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.
But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.
Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders.
But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.
* Cosmopolitan Best YA Books of 2021 * People Magazine Best Books of Summer 2021*
Sardonic sleuth Stevie Bell returns in this engaging stand-alone sleepaway camp thriller, a follow-up to Johnson's Truly Devious trilogy. Working at a grocery store deli after solving the famous Ellingham Academy case, Stevie quickly agrees to go undercover when asked to crack the 1978 Box in the Woods Murders, a cold case involving four camp counselors at Camp Sunny Pines in Massachusetts. Carson Buchwald, an entrepreneurial "tech bro," has bought the camp in order to create a docuseries about the ordeal, and he enlists Stevie to find out who stabbed the four teens a valedictorian, a "rotten" troublemaker, a pot dealer, and a stoner music-lover and stuffed three of them into a hunting blind. Johnson's kinetic descriptions ("a punch of soft-boiled anger") join towering cliffhangers as chapters switch between 1978 and the present day, and Stevie's search turns deadly. Johnson includes a winning crew of returning characters (a mostly white cast) in Stevie's friend group, including savvy engineer Janelle, who's Black, and author Nate. Though a late-breaking contrivance doesn't quite hold up, the friend group sustains entertaining rapport as Stevie navigates personal and public histories. Ages 14 up. \n