- Expected Jul 28, 2020
A Publishers Weekly Summer Reads 2020 Editors’ Pick
A chilling murder in a prestigious prep school is at the heart of this riveting new novel from acclaimed author Charlie Donlea, featuring forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore and her psychologist partner, Lane Phillips.
Inside the walls of Indiana’s elite Westmont Preparatory High School, expectations run high and rules are strictly enforced. But in the woods beyond the manicured campus and playing fields sits an abandoned boarding house that is infamous among Westmont’s students as a late-night hangout. Here, only one rule applies: don’t let your candle go out—unless you want the Man in the Mirror to find you. . . .
One year ago, two students were killed there in a grisly slaughter. The case has since become the focus of a hit podcast, The Suicide House. Though a teacher was convicted of the murders, mysteries and questions remain. The most urgent among them is why so many students who survived that horrific night have returned to the boarding house—to kill themselves.
Rory, an expert in reconstructing cold cases, is working on The Suicide House podcast with Lane, recreating the night of the killings in order to find answers that have eluded the school, the town, and the police. But the more they learn about the troubled students, the chillingly stoic culprit, and a dangerous game gone tragically wrong, the more convinced they become that something sinister is still happening. Inside Westmont Prep, the game hasn’t ended. It thrives on secrecy and silence. And for its players, there may be no way to win—or to survive. . . .
Donlea's gripping sequel to 2019's Some Choose Darkness finds Chicago forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore, who specializes in cold case homicides, investigating a string of bizarre deaths at a prestigious Indiana prep school. A year after two students are murdered in an abandoned boarding house near Westmont Preparatory High School and an implicated teacher commits suicide, those who witnessed the brutal aftermath of the carnage begin taking their own lives. A popular true crime podcast focusing on the unexplained deaths shines a new light on the school, and Rory becomes obsessed with solving the mystery. With her love interest, former FBI criminal profiler Lane Phillips, sidelined after being injured in a blast that killed the podcast's host, Rory is largely on her own. Multiple intertwining story lines keep the pacing brisk and the tension high throughout. But the book's real strength is the idiosyncratic Rory, who suffers from OCD and is on the autism spectrum, a deeply developed character readers can't help rooting for. Hopefully, she'll be back soon.