Wednesday Bks. Mar. 2022. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250817440.
Gr 9 Up–Scarlet is an anxious teen living with her single mom, when one snowy day her life takes a sharp turn. To her shock and horror, she learns her father is Jeff Lake, a famed serial killer, and her mother hid the truth to protect her. Now Lake is on his deathbed and wants to meet his daughter in exchange for providing more victim information to the FBI. Scarlet must make the difficult decision between offering the victims’ families peace and keeping herself and her mother anonymous and safe. McLaughlin presents a compelling scenario, which she notes in the acknowledgment was inspired by Ted Bundy’s daughter. The story is fast-paced, with short chapters and compulsive readability. However, at times, events seem to move too fast, and some characters feel underdeveloped. Scarlet’s character is an emotional rollercoaster, which is reflective of her personal dilemma and journey but can sometimes read as chaotic and jarring. Scarlet’s group of friends offer some characters of color and LGBTQ representation, though overall are merely background players. There are several scenes depicting drug use, sex, and necrophilia, which could be too graphic for some readers. Some elements leave more questions than answers, and Scarlet’s love story feels like an unnecessary subplot.
VERDICT While the premise is alluring, this might be best for a collection where crime and thrillers are in demand over a general purchase.

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