Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 07/01/2012 Scoring low on credibility but high on sordid family secrets, Patterson’s first venture into realistic YA fiction opens with a high-powered couple found dead in their bedroom in New York’s hyperexclusive Dakota apartment building. Murder? The police and the couple’s 16-year-old daughter, Tandy Angel, think so—but since the apartment was locked up for the night, the only suspects are her and her three brothers. Tandy hints that she’s an unreliable narrator but actually turns out to be just an unsystematic one, with a habit of mixing developments in her investigation with fragmentary flashbacks and labored innuendo. In the wake of revelations ranging from romantic traumas and affairs to the lurid news that the Angel children had been fed experimental cocktails of mind- and body-altering drugs since birth, the truth about the deaths comes out at last, after a lame discovery. Reading the whip-quick chapters in Patterson and Paetro’s series starter is ultimately akin to combing the tabloids for reports on the outrageous behavior of the filthy rich. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The marketing push behind this opener to Patterson’s first teen mystery series is every bit as muscular as expected, with a campaign that’ll spread the word to every corner of the YA market. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 10/01/2012 One fateful night, Tandy Angel opens the door of her family’s luxurious suite in New York’s Dakota Hotel to find police responding to a 911 call. When she goes to get her parents, she discovers them dead in their room. Tandy’s investigation into her parents’ death is interspersed with short “Confession” chapters that offer insight into what drives each of the Angel siblings—and why each of them, especially Tandy herself, could easily be the murderer. Since the whole family is genius-level smart and maladjusted to the point of sociopathy, their motives include a veritable checklist of mystery-genre reveals, from clandestine affairs and suspicious past deaths to secret human experimentation and financial malfeasance at the family’s pharmaceutical empire. The overload of eccentricity here (in everything from Tandy’s parents’ disciplinary practices to the bizarre installation art that fills their home to secondary characters named such things as Capricorn Caputo and Royal Rampling) will appeal to readers who like their mysteries aggressively quirky, but the quirkiness can veer into cutesiness at times, undercutting the genuine creepiness of the situation. Furthermore, the numerous red herrings turn out to be significantly more interesting than the reality revealed at the end. However, the fun of searching through this onslaught of dysfunction for a workable motive and means can’t be beat, and readers will be drawn inexorably into Tandy’s world of paranoia and manipulation as they try to put the pieces together. CG - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2012 Gr 6 Up—When Tandy Angel's high-powered parents are found dead in their bedroom with no signs of forced entry, the police suspect foul play. Suspicion falls on the 16-year-old, her two brothers, and her mother's assistant, who were the only other people inside the apartment at the time. Brought up in the glitzy world of the exclusive Dakota, a New York City apartment building, they all have a motive: their parents kept them popped up on pills, secluded them from the real world, and pressured them to achieve with harsh punishments for misbehavior. Still Tandy's determined to find the killer and discovers a few things about herself along the way. The story is narrated by Tandy in short chapters written in a confessional tone; they move the plot along, but are light on true crime investigation. Instead, various tawdry secrets are revealed about the family in a ripped-from-the-headlines fashion. The siblings are treated badly by police throughout and it seems implausible that minors would be given such a bad rap. The first in a planned series, this is a ho-hum mystery that comes with a major marketing campaign to back it up.—Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.