First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Louise Voss, Mark Edwards, Amazon Publishing, and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with this review.
With much experience reading both Voss and Edwards, I feel that I can offer a well-rounded review of this, their latest piece of work, the new DI Patrick Lennon mystery. After being lured to a hotel room, a young girl is found murdered, with cuts all over her body, reeking of a signature perfume. After DI Patrick Lennon and the rest of the MIT9 team begin to investigate, strong connections are made to an online forum related to the latest boy band, OnTarget. The forum is rife with young girls who will stop at nothing to be deemed super-fans, as they concoct strings of commentaries and find themselves wishing they could be the love interest to one or all. After another girl is lured and murdered, Lennon begins to poke around the OnTarget connection and has a member of the team scour the forums. The investigation uncovers some less than favourable news about one of the band members and the murders seem closely related to a case Lennon’s nemesis, and fellow MIT9 team member is working. When two more girls go missing, Lennon must put all his efforts into finding them before this sadistic killer can enact revenge for some unknown sleight. All this as Lennon juggles a family life he thought was all but lost and fights to remain professional in the workplace, surrounded by admirers. Voss and Edwards have tapped into a raging aspect of the social media world, 21st century groupies, and mastered it into this thrilling story that will keep the reader guessing until the final chapters.
Although a trademark perfected by both Voss and Edwards in their more recently novels, the use of social media in this story becomes central, if not quintessential. Some may struggle with it, as its focus is strongly geared to the tween/teen mentality, which can prove irritating in lingo and shallowness, while others may find themselves transported into the minds of young people today. I find that the irritant of the theme shows how ensconced Voss and Edwards are with it, which only goes to show how masterful the approach has become. Lennon’s character develops somewhat in this novel, though he is stunted in comparison with his debut, while the MIT9 team is fleshed out a little more, both in the workplace and privately. The degree of teen-centric writing and story development cannot be ignored, though both Voss and Edwards utilise it to prove a point and contrast it with the strong views of the adult community running the investigation and promoting OnTarget. I am eager to see if we will see another Lennon novel and how well received this one ends up being, especially for those who have much experience with the authors’ writing. Masterfully crafted and suspense-filled to the final pages.
Kudos, Madam Voss and Mr. Edwards for this wonderful novel, which makes me so happy to have discovered you earlier this year.