Title: Two can keep a secret
Author: Karen M. McManus
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 39
(see breakdown below)
GoodreadsFrom Goodreads: Ellery’s never been to Echo Ridge, but she’s heard all about it. It’s where her aunt went missing at age sixteen, never to return. Where a Homecoming Queen’s murder five years ago made national news. And where Ellery now has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, after her failed-actress mother lands in rehab. No one knows what happened to either girl, and Ellery’s family is still haunted by their loss.
Malcolm grew up in the shadow of the Homecoming Queen’s death. His older brother was the prime suspect and left Echo Ridge in disgrace. His mother’s remarriage vaulted her and Malcolm into Echo Ridge’s upper crust, but their new status grows shaky when mysterious threats around town hint that a killer plans to strike again. No one has forgotten Malcolm’s brother-and nobody trusts him when he suddenly returns to town.
Ellery and Malcolm both know it’s hard to let go when you don’t have closure. Then another girl disappears, and Ellery and Malcolm were the last people to see her alive. As they race to unravel what happened, they realize every secret has layers in Echo Ridge. The truth might be closer to home than either of them want to believe.
And somebody would kill to keep it hidden.
To me this is a fun and fast paced mystery that is reminiscent of delicious and slightly cringy teen TV dramas (think pretty little liars – I haven’t read the book for this series). However, I was not as blown away by this book, for me it was just a fun read.
I have to say I was impressed with the sheer number of red herrings and twists, I am one of those readers that likes to piece together my hypothesis as to who the murderer is. I very much enjoy when an author keeps me guessing or throws me a curve ball where I have to question my reasoning and McManus achieved this in spades. I had multiple theories throughout the book all of which were wrong.
I loved the relationship between the twins Ellery and Ezra, especially how they communicated. I also enjoyed the perspective of Malcom, and his frustrations really did come across on the pages. The side characters, for me, did fall into those teen drama cliche but that lends itself to the slightly stepford, unease the twins feel as they move from big city to small town. I do wish that there was a longer period of juxtaposition between Ellery and Malcolm’s perspectives, for me they combined a little quickly and became very similar that the dual perspective became lost. If their storyline had taken a little longer to merge I think their voices would have been a little more distinct, but that is a negligible quibble in an overall great tale.
I did love the final reveal. While I was not as thrilled as some by the last line which seems to be getting all the hype, the actual mystery was fun! I will continue reading McManus’ work, they are great to devour on those rainy days. And while they don’t reach the lofty heights of 5 stars they are still solidly enjoyable reads.