Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kisses and Lies

Ages ago I wrote about Kiss Me, Kill Me, a mystery book whose conclusion was postponed until the second volume of the series could be written and released. Happily that book, Kisses and Lies, has just come out. I got my grubby hands on it and I finally know who killed Dan McAndrew, using our heroine, poor Scarlett Wakefield, as the unwitting weapon. As you may or may not remember, in Kiss Me, Kill Me, Scarlett locked lips with Dan, the object of her affection only to watch him drop dead at her feet moments later. Turns out he was deathly allergic to peanuts, and someone had laced the chips at the party with peanut oil. Scarlett ate the chips; there was peanut oil on her mouth; she kissed Dan; and Dan dropped dead. Quite tragic, and not the ideal circumstances for a girl’s first kiss. But who put the fatal plan into motion? Was it Plum Sayborne, the rich and wicked leader of the snottiest clique in school? Or did someone else have reason to see Dan dead?

Book Two answers all the questions. This was a pleasant surprise for me since I’d somehow got it into my head that the mystery would be a trilogy, and I’d have to wait until the release of a third book to find out what was what. Nope! The mystery is solved at the end of Kisses and Lies. I know who did it, and you do not! Book Two is worth the wait. It was satisfying, keeping the reader guessing throughout. The characters remain strong and intriguing. Even if you haven’t read the first book, the author sums up the events succinctly so the reader can carry along with the second book. Only a very few things troubled me about the ending—namely that even while solving the mystery Scarlett doesn’t truly get to clear her name, and that the final dramatic scene of the tale seemed a little chaotic, as though events were almost too much for the author to manage—but mostly I loved it. I especially liked the surprise ending, which indicates to me that the author isn’t quite finished with Scarlett and her other characters. I’m hoping for another book to continue the story of the characters I came to enjoy reading so much.

One final note: I just love that Lauren Henderson dedicated the book “To every teenage girl out there whose first kiss didn’t quite go as she’d hoped it would.” Nice touch!

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