Published by Disney Hyperion on July 12, 2016
Genres: Crime, Law & Crime, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Nina Barrows knows all about the Thief. She’s intimately familiar with his hunting methods: how he stalks and kills at random, how he disposes of his victims’ bodies in an abandoned mine in the deepest, most desolate part of a desert.Amazon •
Now, for the first time, Nina has the chance to do something about the serial killer that no one else knows exists. With the help of her former best friend, Warren, she tracks the Thief two thousand miles, to his home turf—the deserts of New Mexico.
But the man she meets there seems nothing like the brutal sociopath with whom she’s had a disturbing connection her whole life. To anyone else, Dylan Shadwell is exactly what he appears to be: a young veteran committed to his girlfriend and her young daughter. As Nina spends more time with him, she begins to doubt the truth she once held as certain: Dylan Shadwell is the Thief. She even starts to wonder . . . what if there is no Thief?
Mature-Content Rating: Violence, Mild Sexual Content
“If he were a killer, he wouldn’t wonder or guess. He wouldn’t care what I thought or felt. My story would be his to write.”
This sounded like a deeply twisted mystery novel and it instantly caught my interest, but the lack of personality on the character’s part and a disgruntling plot left for one dissatisfying read.
Nina’s character is mostly flat. You see glimpses of what she could be, but she never fully develops. It would have helped if the author wasn’t so keen on repetitively making sure the reader knew Nina was ‘bullied’ for her lesbian mother, which didn’t help the story or the character. You never saw others bullying her (you never even saw other kids from the school!) and the bullying didn’t affect her character, but it’s unnecessarily brought up over and over and over…
Warren is slightly less flat, but really creepy for a love interest. He’s a redneck/former-drug-dealer who has a bit more than a normal crush on Nina. He seems a bit stalker-ish sometimes? Or maybe just a bit obsessive. And again, just as with Nina, we have Warren’s brothers and father (whom never make an appearance in the book) that are constantly mentioned as having a big impact on Warren and Nina, but you never see just what was effected in Warren’s character.
Dylan probably has the most life in the story, which isn’t that much. It’s a big disappointment for me because I’m all for great characters even if the plot is a little wobbly.
A major problem with this book is the TALK. Everything is just talk. A big fat case of telling and no showing. We are TOLD about Warren’s brothers and father and what big jerks they are, but we never see them. We are TOLD that Warren is a sweetheart to his mother, but we never see her. We are TOLD Dylan is great with his girlfriend’s daughter, but we never see them interact. We are TOLD Nina is bullied, but it’s never seen. It’s the most likely reason the characters are so flat and lifeless.
The plot is very interesting and intriguing, but not well executed. At points in the story I know the author is trying to turn the reader for a loop and start making them question Nina’s sanity, but there’re too many plot holes and predictable moments for anything to be really suspenseful. You know the characters, they haven’t changed since the beginning of the story, and you know what they’re going to do in situations.