Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: Jex Malone by C.L. Gaber & V.C. Stanley

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: June 18th, 2014
Page Count: 303
Format: Hardback
Source: via the publisher (thank you!)

Goodreads Synopsis: A famous case. A missing girl. If they find her, will they be heroes? Or dead?

Bored out of her mind during a summer with her police detective father in Las Vegas, Jessica (aka "Jex") Malone starts doing what she does best--snooping. When she meets three new friends who share her passion for crime, from the geek to the fashionista, suddenly, the stifling desert days don't seem so long.

Her dad is never around, just like when her parents were married. But Jex's crew, the Drew-Ids, take the pledge of eternal secrecy and then get down to the good stuff--digging through the cold-case files in Dad's home office.

One of them, the thirteen-year-old case of Patty Matthews, is still a mystery. Finding Patty, who vanished into thin air, became such an obsession for Jex's father that it destroyed the Malones' marriage. So not only is this a big deal, it's personal.

Jex is determined to find out what really happened, and her excitement is contagious. Soon her friends are all on board and so is the missing girl's brother, the hunky Cooper Matthews.

But as they dig up more and more troubling information--more than the cops ever did--they also get the clear message that someone out there wants to prevent the truth from coming out. That somebody is also prepared to do anything, absolutely anything, to prevent it.

Jex isn't afraid; after all, she's a cop's daughter. But maybe she should be.

Laced with humor, toughness, and real CSI investigation techniques, Jex Malone could be the Nancy Drew for a new generation--but with a chilling twist. These wannabe detectives are on the brink of finding out the fate of poor missing Patty. But will they disappear without a trace, too?


Review: It has been far too long since I have written an adequate book review here. I guess a lot of that has to do with the fact that I was in a reading slump for quite some time. While a ton of books have sounded great, and I've even purchased some of them, I just did not feel like actually opening a book and reading anything. I was finally able to change that and read several books that I have received in the mail from Merit Press over the past couple of months. After reading these books (the reviews for the others will come next week), I have quickly decided that Merit Press publishes some really, really good YA books. You should all check them out, they are worth it. 

This was the first book that I received from them, something that was super exciting, and the synopsis was something that seemed likely to pull me out of my slump. I am so glad that I was right about that, too. I am definitely into several crime shows; Law & Order: SVU, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, and the new one Stalker, just to name a few. I was excited about reading a book that seemed like it would be very similar to these shows, and to have a teenage girl in the action trying to solve the crime seemed even better. 

I felt pretty bad for Jex at first. She has to travel to Las Vegas to spend a summer with her dad, who can't even bother to take some time off work to actually spend time with her. Instead, he continues to constantly work, which is what led to his failed marriage to begin with. While Jex is snooping around the house with some new friends, they discover her father's cold case files, one of which is one her father focused on so much that it tore their family apart. Needless to say, Jex could not just put the file away, and instead focused her attention on trying to solve the case once and for all. 

This book had so many wonderful things going for it. I have to admit that I have not read a lot of mystery recently, but this one definitely makes me want to pick some more up. The book was thrilling and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I never wanted to put it down, always wanting to know what was going to happen next. I also absolutely loved that I could not actually figure the whole thing out. Every time I thought I had it solved, I ended up being wrong. The resolution ended up being a surprise to me, which is something I love when it comes to books like this. It kept me intrigued, and that is very important in a mystery book. 

The authors did a wonderful job building interesting, complex characters as well. Jex had tendencies to be very self-centered, and I loved seeing this flaw in the main character as it is something that everyone struggles with at some point or another in reality. Aside from Jex, the friends had background information and strong personalities as well. They weren't just friends who were thrown into the story and used as pawns when needed, they were developed and played an important roll in the story. After all, they stuck beside Jex when she decided she wanted to solve the crime, so I think that says something about their friendship, even if it was quickly developed. 

As I said earlier, this book was definitely a page turner. The plot was well-thought out and interesting, and it was certainly fast paced. There was no point in the book where I got bored or was not interested in what was happening. I do hope to see more of these characters in future books, as I do think that this wonderful book could turn into an amazing series.

Rating: 4.0/5.0


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