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by Ruth Ware
Scout Press, July 2022
423 pages
ISBN: 1982155264

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Ruth Ware always writes a good twisty thriller, and this is no exception. From the outset, it is clear that Hannah's new roommate and friend at Oxford, April, was going to end up dead, since the book is told partly in flashbacks. In the present, the recent death of April's convicted murderer, who went to his grave proclaiming his innocence, is causing Hannah to have second thoughts about the testimony that helped convict him. Since the murder, she has suffered from anxiety stemming from her days at Oxford, and with the publicity surrounding the murderer's death, she begins to fall apart. Her only recourse is to put her doubts to rest, regardless of the consequences.

This is the story of a much-intertwined group of students at Oxford, and how one of the group's members need for attention eventually led to the estrangement of most and death of one. There is an undertone of predatory male behavior that suits these modern times and casts a light on how it may have been handled in the past. As always, Ware imbues the story with a strong sense of menace and lots of red herrings to keep the reader engaged. The descriptions of Oxford and its surrounds are deftly rendered, transporting the reader to the locale.

Characterization is well done, with one exception. Although some hints are dropped to provide support for a very sudden change in behavior of one of the characters, a change that is crucial to the plotting of the resolution, I was not convinced. As a plot device, it works; as a piece of character development, it does not.

Overall, this was an immersive diversion that I very much enjoyed.

Sharon Mensing, retired educational leader, lives, reads, and enjoys the outdoors in Arizona.

Reviewed by Sharon Mensing, October 2022

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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