A Nearly Boswell Mystery by Elle Cosimano
Review: 16-year-old Nearly Boswell searches the Friday "Missed Connections" classified ads in hopes that her father, who left her many years ago, will try to make contact with her again. At least she hopes the first ad she saw when she was in middle school — "N. I'm here and I'm okay. I'll always be near you. I love you. D." — was from him. It gives her hope that she'll see him again someday. But an ad in this week's paper caught her attention today — "Newton was wrong. We clash with yellow. Find me tonight under the bleachers." — and she just can't shake the feeling that it was intended for her, in Nearly Gone, the first mystery in this series by Elle Cosimano.
Nearly — her friends know her as "Leigh" as she doesn't like the unusual name her mother gave her — is a smart student, vying for a college scholarship against her best friend Anh, who has a slightly higher overall score to date. Part of the scholarship program is tutoring other students, and when one of the students Nearly is working with is found, unconscious and painted in their rival school's colors with the number 10 marked in ink on her … under the bleachers … Nearly knows at someone wanted to get her attention. And they have it. The next week another ad appears — "Archimedes knew the play wasn't really the thing. Do the math and find me after the show." — and this time Nearly figures it out, but too late. Another of the students she tutors is found in the school pool, dead, with the number 18 marked on her body. Nearly knows someone is giving her clues to future crimes, but to what end?
There are several aspects to Nearly Gone that are quite compelling. The science and math clues make for a great puzzle and the whodunit element is very well handled. Nearly as a character is creatively drawn, her intellectual and emotional sides often on display, and (like most teenagers) not always synchronized, and should appeal to the intended audience of teen readers. But there are a couple of significant drawbacks here, the most obvious of which is giving Nearly an almost paranormal ability to taste (and otherwise sense) people's emotions when she touches them. From a story perspective, it isn't necessary to help her solve the crimes (or to determine why someone is targeting her specifically), and it doesn't help define or enhance her character, either. In addition, the red herrings (if that's what they are intended to be; it isn't clear) surrounding her missing father feel like more of an intrusion than anything else. But on balance, this is a very good start to a series. There are several questions left unanswered at the end, none of which are directly related to crimes committed (which are successfully resolved), that should provide some continuity between books.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of Nearly Gone for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Nearly Gone: Virginia
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Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano — A Nearly Boswell Mystery
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Publication Date: March 2014
List Price: $17.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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