Johnson, Maureen

The Box in the Woods

(2) YA After establishing the absorbing origin story of Stevie Bell in the Truly Devious trilogy (Truly Devious, rev. 1/18, and sequels), Johnson gleefully takes a stab at the slasher movie trope by sending her teen detective on a cold case at a summer camp. Stevie is offered a job by a wealthy "tech bro" who wants to create a true-crime podcast. He's hoping that she will crack the case of the notorious Camp Wonder Falls murders, where four teenagers were bludgeoned to death in the summer of 1978. Stevie accepts and gets right to work interviewing locals and collecting clues, which is a welcome distraction from her ever-present anxiety and complicated relationship with her boyfriend. But there is someone in Camp Wonder Falls who will do anything--including murder--to keep our heroine from discovering the dark truth. This satisfying standalone mystery will delight fans of teen horror flicks and true-crime documentaries, as well as those who prefer their mysteries wrapped up after one volume. Crime history geeks will be particularly tickled by the multiple references to, and author's note about, Frances Glessner Lee, the woman who "basically established forensics in the United States." Here's hoping this highly entertaining volume isn't the last we hear from Stevie Bell.


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