The Hand on the Wall

Author: Maureen Johnson

Series: Truly Devious #3

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: October 20, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The third book in the Truly Devious series brings more mystery, more teen drama, and a satisfying conclusion!

Ellingham Academy has had its share of bad luck. First, the kidnapping and murders in the 1930’s when it was opened and now more murder mysteries. Stevie Bell has one goal, to solve the murders, both past and present. She uses her detective skills to piece together what happened in the past and how it relates to the trouble at the school while she is there as a student. Not only is she trying to solve the murders, but she is also trying to find missing student, David Eastman. A major snowstorm hits the academy trapping them inside, giving Stevie the time and resources to hopefully solve one of the biggest mysteries ever.

Let me start with the positives, this was a great mystery with a complex story line tying in the past with the present. Lots of smaller storylines that needed closure which all got tied up by the end in a satisfying way. Stevie is a fun and compelling protagonist that kept me engaged in the story and eager to see if she was going to pull of solving a case no one else had ever been able to solve. While it might have seemed a little uncertain that a teenager could pull it off, Maureen Johnson wrote this series in such a way that everything was believable.

There were very few negatives for me, but the first was David. He was a little whinny here and just got on my nerves at times. The other part, which is one of the same criticisms I had in the second book, was the character of Vi. When this character was on the page the pronouns them/they were used. I get that this is a part of society now but when reading that it took me out of the story; I had to go back and reread to determine if it was talking about one character or multiple characters. This was really my only big problem with the book, the concept was great, the other characters were fantastic, and I loved the overall story. While this story is geared towards Young adults, there is a lot of adult language, which makes me hesitant to recommend to that group of readers. I do recommend this to readers that enjoy mystery, suspense and solving crimes with the characters.

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