By Megan Lord
Young adult fiction continues to become one of the most popular genres – mostly for adults. Join us each issue to find your next YA read.
Released on July 5, Lynn Slaughter’s Deadly Setup is her newest young adult thriller. It’s also a dark, coming-of-age story with a bit of hope.
Seventeen-year-old Samantha, or Sam, isn’t happy when she finds out her mom becomes engaged to a man whose last wife died under mysterious circumstances. When her mom’s fiancé is murdered, Sam is accused of doing it. Now she has to prove her innocence, and she gets help from her boyfriend’s dad, who is an ex-police officer.
Deadly Setup got my attention right from the beginning and never let up throughout the novel. Lynn does a great job of keeping the suspense going. I don’t think I’ve read a thriller or suspense novel like this in quite a while. The story kept me guessing as to who the murderer was. As I read, questions kept popping up in my head–Was Sam really the one who killed her mom’s fiancé? I didn’t think so, and I thought that from the very beginning. But if not her, then who did? I had a couple of guesses, and I kept turning the pages until the end.
Lynn tells Sam’s story through a first person point of view, at times, I even felt like I was right there either in Sam’s shoes or right next to her seeing what she was doing and hearing her words. Lynn also did a good job conveying Sam’s thoughts and feelings. I almost felt like the story was more real than it is.
The daughter of a New England heiress, seventeen-year-old Sam has tried hard to fulfill her father’s dying wish: “Take care of your mother for me.”
Not an easy job. When her impulsive, romance-writing mom announces her engagement to a man whose last heiress wife died under suspicious circumstances, Sam tries to dissuade her mother. But her mom is convinced she’ll finally have the “Happily Ever After” she writes about.
And then Sam’s life implodes. Her mom’s fiancé turns up dead, and a mountain of circumstantial evidence points to Sam as the killer. On trial for murder, she fights to prove her innocence with the help of her boyfriend’s dad, an ex-homicide cop.
Just when things are looking especially bleak, Sam uncovers evidence she never expected to find. She faces a tough decision: At what point does the price of loyalty become too high?
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Article originally published in the August / September 2022 Issue: Indie Debuts.