Kiss of Death
Review: Scarlett Wakefield is on a week-long school-sponsored trip to Scotland, where she suddenly seems to be the target of an unknown assailant determined to injure — and perhaps even kill — her, in Kiss of Death, the fourth and final mystery in this series for young adults by Lauren Henderson.
Scarlett's trip starts out innocently enough … though she thinks she's going to die after listening to native Scottish music performed by men and women dressed in traditional costumes. But then she notices two of her former classmates from St. Tabby in the audience, girls who shunned her after Dan McAndrew was murdered (and many thought Scarlett was involved … or at the very least, responsible). And then another surprise: Dan's twin brother, Callum, is a singer in one of the Scottish groups performing.
A student now at Wakefield Hall Collegiate, run by her aunt, she thought she had left the past behind. But someone clearly doesn't want her to forget: when a smoke bomb is thrown into the dorm where she and her best friend Taylor are staying, a note is left for her in their room by someone amid the confusion: "YOU CAN'T RUN AWAY FROM THE PAST, SCARLETT."
There's just enough of a backstory presented at the beginning of Kiss of Death so that new readers aren't completely lost as to what has transpired before the events presented here, but it seems clear that the preferred manner of reading the books in this series is to start at the beginning. Even so, this is for the most part a self-contained novel of suspense involving threats against Scarlett … but from whom and for what reason? The situations in which Scarlett finds herself — both the amusing ones and the frightening ones — are exciting, the Scottish setting adding an atmosphere of adventure and intrigue. The reading level and subject matter are appropriate for early teen girls, and while there is a fair amount of misdirection, there is, in the end, also not much of a mystery per se to solve. Still, Kiss of Death is enjoyable as it is, just tagging along with Scarlett as her journey comes to a close.
Acknowledgment: Random House provided a copy of Kiss of Death for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Kiss of Death: Edinburgh, Scotland
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Kiss of Death by Lauren Henderson — A Scarlett Wakefield Mystery
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: May 2011
List Price: $16.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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