Three Drops of Blood

Disney-Hyperion. Mar. 2023. 336p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781368072151.
Gr 9 Up–When scandal brings 17-year-old Kate Williams’s acting career to a sudden halt, she is forced to take a job as an after-hours file clerk to pay for a pricey image consultant, as well as the rent her parents started charging when she told them she planned to skip college. Though she originally fears being crushed by one of the imposing file cabinets, or perhaps dying of boredom, it turns out that true danger is closer than she realized. Through the window of the file room, Kate witnesses a romantic encounter that ultimately results in murder. Unable to convince the police of what she saw, she is forced to turn to her friends and her own forensic skills to catch the killer. Touted as a mystery/thriller, this new work by McNeil is entertaining, but misses the mark for tension and twists. Heavy on exposition, there is no hint of intrigue until almost two-thirds in, at which point there is an onslaught of action before the narrative resumes its relationship fiction vibe. Despite the absent adrenaline, the book does present a diverse cast of characters in race, body type, and sexual orientation.
VERDICT This novel will appeal to high school readers seeking a teenage take on Rear Window.

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