Piper Gray starts a true-crime podcast investigating a seventeen-year-old cold case in this thrilling YA murder mystery by New York Times bestselling author April Henry.
Seventeen years ago, Layla Trello was murdered and her killer was never found. Enter true-crime fan Piper Gray who is determined to reopen Layla’s case and get some answers. With the help of Jonas—who has a secret of his own—Piper starts a podcast investigating Layla’s murder. But as she digs deeper into the mysteries of the past, Piper begins receiving anonymous threats telling her to back off the investigation, or else. The killer is still out there, and Piper must uncover their identity before they silence her forever.
Henry (Two Truths and a Lie) questions the ethics of true crime as entertainment in this tightly twisted thriller. Seventeen-year-old transfer student Piper Gray, a murder podcast enthusiast, attains notoriety at North High when she starts her own podcast about the unsolved murder of teenage Layla Trello, who was found dead in the nearby woods 17 years ago. Determined to crack the cold case, Piper enlists classmate Jonas Shortridge to help investigate. As the inquiry gains traction and suspects reemerge, Piper receives an anonymous demand—"Stop this podcast about Layla Trello. You don't want to end up like her"—prompting Piper and Jonas to believe the murderer is listening. Henry's socially aware prose, interspersed with podcast transcripts and newspaper clippings, deftly depicts Piper's altruistic commitment to justice for Layla alongside her critique of the perfect-victim myth ("Her disappearance and death attracted the kind of attention you probably wouldn't get if you were poor, disabled, older, homeless, or not white"). Sections read, at times, like a "how-to" guide for podcasting, but red herrings, dramatic cliff-hangers, and a growing body count keep the plot suspenseful. Major characters cue as white. Ages 12–up.