Review by Booklist Review
This brooding and intense thriller will plunge readers into a dark world they may not want to enter but they may be unable to tear themselves free. At first glance, it seems a basic-enough premise: Lucinda Hayes, a high-school freshman, is found dead one snowy night at the playground in her neighborhood, and her family and friends are left with their awful grief. This novel stands out by initially painting a picture-perfect community, then slowly peeling that away to show the crushing weight of truth between the narrators' flashbacks and the investigation occurring in present day. Between the boy who flirted between love and obsession by watching through her bedroom window at night, the girl who feels Lucinda took everything that mattered from her, and the officer working the case, the threads of Lucinda's life come together and give meaning to her death. This unlikely trio of narrators gives readers a different look into the idyllic, small-town life, and how not everything is as it appears on the surface.--Rasak, Carrie Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Kukafka's debut is set in 2005, unspooling in the days after 15-year-old Lucinda Hayes is found murdered at a playground in her Colorado suburb. Suspicion immediately falls on Cameron Whitley, an artsy loner who spends his nights wandering the neighborhood, watching Lucinda and her family from their front yard. But there are other suspects, too, like Ivan, the ex-con school janitor, and Zap, Lucinda's ex-boyfriend. Consisting of alternating chapters following Cameron; officer Russ Fletcher, who was once work partners with Cameron's estranged policeman father; and Jade Dixon-Burns, a gloomy teen dabbling in the occult and aspiring to be a writer, the novel digs into each character's history while offering up a fair number of red herrings regarding the identity of the murderer. These histories occasionally distract from the mystery of Lucinda's killer, yet Kukafka's clever narrative tricks, like Jade's tendency to imagine conversations in the form of screenplays and Cameron's inability to remember large swaths of time around the murder, propel the narrative forward. And while the novel employs a full checklist of teen tropes throughout, from abusive parents to fractured love triangles, there is enough narrative muscle to compel the reader to stick with it until the end. Agent: Dana Murphy, the Book Group. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
DEBUT Newcomer -Kukafka breathes new life into a common mystery trope by examining the life and death of 15-year-old Lucinda Hayes through the eyes of three residents of Broomsville, CO. Cameron, the disturbed son of a disgraced cop who abandoned his family, loved Lucinda from afar, often standing vigil outside her bedroom window. Jade, Lucinda's cynical classmate, hated her for stealing her babysitting gig and her best friend. Local cop Russ promised his former partner, Cameron's dad, that he'd look out for Cameron. But what if Cameron killed the girl? In alternating chapters, the characters harbor guilty secrets and reflect on Lucinda's impact on their lives. Mystery fans will most likely figure out whodunit rather quickly, but that's not the main point of this novel. Literary fiction readers will enjoy the occasionally overblown yet often effective language and layered characterizations. Jade's chapters, written in first person, contain "screenplays" (she's a budding writer) that overplay the teen angst angle. -VERDICT This smart, fast-paced novel is one that readers will be proud to flaunt beachside or elsewhere. [See Prepub Alert, 3/13/17.]-Liz French, Library Journal © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.