Saturday, September 14, 2019

YA ARC Review: Don't Say a Word by Amber Lynn Natusch

Don't Say a Word
Author: Amber Lynn Natusch
Series: Hometown Antihero (Book 2)
Publication: Tor Teen (September 17, 2019)

Description: Pretty Little Liars meets Riverdale in Don't Say a Word, a standout YA mystery from indie-pub favorite Amber Lynn Natusch.

Kylene Danners’s ex-FBI agent father is in prison for murder and she’s hell-bent on getting him out. But trying to investigate in the small town where a defensive lineman is a hero no matter who he tries to kill and the girl who gets him locked up is public enemy number one is dangerous. Dark secrets are everywhere in Jasperville―the kind Ky can’t walk away from.

When rookie FBI agent Cedric Dawson returns to town to finish an open investigation, he goes undercover at her high school―as her ex. Determined to keep her from interfering, Dawson’s plan backfires after Ky gets an anonymous call about missing girls officially labeled as runaways―runaways that didn’t really run away at all.

Because dead girls can’t run.

And they don’t say a word.

My Thoughts: The second Hometown Antihero books begins a couple of days after the first ends. Kylene is visiting her friend Garrett in the hospital where he landed after being beaten nearly to death. Ky had lesser wounds since she was saved in the nick of time by a rookie FBI agent Cedric Dawson.

One part of Ky's mystery is solved. She now knows who took and posted nude photos of her on the internet. Unfortunately that doesn't clear her name in town because the villain was a star on the football team that has a chance to go to State. Somehow that he attempted to murder her and Garrett is more forgivable than her ruining the teams chances.

So Ky is back in high school with hostile teachers and students and without her best friend. Now that his name has been cleared, her former boyfriend AJ who is the football team's quarterback is hoping to rebuild his relationship with Ky. That causes a number of problems because, while Ky is willing to forgive, she isn't ready to forget the years that of suspicion. And she is also has a new, pretend boyfriend in the rookie FBI agent who is looking into a teen prostitution ring run out of Ky's school and also the disappearance of a number of marginalized teen girls.

Ky gets involved in these cases when one of the girls calls her for help and won't talk to anyone else. Dawson, under cover as Alex, doesn't want her to be involved in his new investigation. They are at odds already since he is convinced that her father murdered his mentor and Ky is certain he did not and willing to do anything to prove it.

Her investigation of her father's murder conviction slides a little to the back burner as she focuses on the prostitution ring and the missing girls. Almost anyone in the town could be running it including her own mentor in Muay Thai, the owner of the pizza joint, the owner of the ice cream parlor who served in Vietnam with her grandfather, or any of the teachers at her school.

Meanwhile, Ky is dealing with the trauma of almost being murdered twice in one evening which is showing up as night terrors and insomnia which just adds to her stress. Ky is very bright and resilient but the strains and stresses are starting to show in her behavior as her already quick temper gets even shorter.

This was an excellent, fast-paced thriller with well-developed characters. It is not the end of the series though. The mysterious and evil AD is still behind the scenes and pulling the strings that run the crime in her small town and who pulled the strings leading to her father's conviction for murder. Hopefully a third book will finally allow our heroes to find him and free Ky's father.

Favorite Quote:
"So you're saying your cover story is that you're worried about my safety so you moved down here to keep an eye on me?" He nodded. "Yeah...that's not creepy at all."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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