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by Lisa Scottoline
G.P. Putnam's Sons, April 2019
400 pages
ISBN: 0525539646

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In SOMEONE KNOWS by Lisa Scottoline, Allie Garvey is still dealing with the death of her older sister. With the one-year anniversary of her death coming up, she must cope with parents who are on complete opposite ends of grief and finds little escape from her own. In this unsettled state, she falls in with a group of her fellow schoolmates. David is struggling to uncover his identity, and his best friend Julian is doing everything in his power to get the attention of Sasha, the coolest girl in school. Sasha, meanwhile, is just looking to fool around and have fun all summer.

Then Julian shows them the gun. They all know they shouldn't mess around with it, but Sasha is impressed and keeps pushing to use it. Keeping it secret, they meet up at night to shoot it off, and then hide it again before morning. One night, Sasha brings new kid, Kyle, and something goes wrong. Scared of the consequences, all the kids remain quiet and never speak to each other again until twenty years later.

SOMEONE KNOWS does its best to provide a suspenseful teen drama but fails to deliver. With too many characters to keep track of and a flimsy plot that derails by the end, it's hard to feel satisfied with a novel that lacks suspense and intrigue.

The characters present a particular problem. Allie Garvey seems intended to be the main character, but there are lot of others who take from her story. Each chapter is labeled with a character's name, so you know whose point of view it is. However, the chapters are very short, and it's hard to get to know any of them. By the time you come back to the first character, you've forgotten a unique trait, memory, or piece of dialogue that was established. Then, lightly peppered in are a few extra characters whose point of view never shows up again.

It's also hard to like any of the characters. Not every good character has to be a good person (and not a single one of these characters is both) but there should at least be something that makes them stand out from the others. Then, halfway through, a new main character is introduced and we know even less about him as the novel concludes. His relationship with Allie is weak at best, and he serves no further purpose than to be a deus ex machina.

The twists of the novel truly aren't expected, but they don't add to the value of the story. The twists occur more for their shock value and they seem forced into the narrative. Many aspects of the plot also seem forced, and so they lost that credibility that should keep a reader involved in a story.

Plot structure is luckily much stronger. While it begins in the present, the story quickly goes back two years, and follows that timeline until halfway through the book. When it returns to the present, that is also a linear story, and this makes it easier to understand what is going on. If the story kept switching back and forth between the present and past as much as it switches among characters, SOMEONE KNOWS would have been a lot less enjoyable.

Perhaps the teenage drama will keep you interested, perhaps you'll be curious as to who knows what happened that night Allie can't ever forget, or perhaps you're simply a fan of Lisa Scottoline. SOMEONE KNOWS is not for readers looking for a deeply suspenseful or compelling tale.

Keshena Hanson recently earned a degree in English from University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, and was published in the University's Sheepshead Review. Her love for mystery started with Blue's Clues, and now she reads any mystery she can get her hands on.

Reviewed by Keshena Hanson, April 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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