Another winning installment.

THE DEVIL'S MUSIC

From the Montague Twins series , Vol. 2

The fall of 1969 brings more mystery, suspense, and self-knowledge to twin brothers Alastair and Peter Montague—this time involving a rock ’n’ roll tune that may drive listeners to suicide.

Fans will be thrilled to learn that this sequel is as engaging as The Witch’s Hand (2020) while providing just enough background to draw in new readers. The twins’ friend Rachel Bradford—whose cruel father was killed in a car crash—now hangs with their circle, learning from their magic teacher, Rowan. The power of music is a recurrent thread: Former rock singer Gideon Drake watches a performance by the twins’ group, Bony Fingers, and his appearance stirs Al’s hero worship and Pete’s blossoming feelings of same-sex attraction. But why is Gideon really in Port Howl? Will the teenagers be allowed to become “the newest members of a highly secret magical faction”? Is new arrival Uncle Eli truly evil? Intertwining plots are set against the backdrop of an atmospheric setting that includes a decrepit stately home in which a group of menacing, robed figures called the Faculty ask questions; the walls resound loudly if an answer is less than truthful. The first-rate illustrations have a retro feel, the pacing is excellent, period details are used effectively, and the good-natured bantering provides entertainment, balancing serious subjects like mental illness and substance abuse. Rowan reads as Black; other main characters are White.

Another winning installment. (Graphic mystery. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-525-64680-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist.

LOCK THE DOORS

A blended family seeks a fresh start in a new home.

Tom’s mother believes that the family may have finally found happiness. After years of dating losers, she’s finally settled down with a nice guy—and that nice guy, Jay, happens to have a daughter, Nia, who is just a little older than Tom. The new family has moved into a nice new house, but Tom can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. They discover a strange message written on the wall when they are stripping the old wallpaper, and there’s clear evidence that the previous owners had installed locks on the exteriors of the bedroom doors. Those previous owners happen to live a little farther down the street, and Tom quickly becomes obsessed with their teenage daughter, Amy, and the secrets she’s hiding. This obsession unfortunately becomes a repetitive slog involving many pages of Tom’s brooding and sulking over the same bits of information while everyone tells him to move on. Readers will be on everyone’s side. But then, a blessed breath of fresh air: The perspective shifts to Amy, and readers learn in spectacularly propulsive fashion exactly what she’s hiding. Regret and intrigue blend perfectly as Amy divulges her secrets. Alas, we return to navel-gazing Tom for the book’s final pages, and everything ends with a shrug. Main characters default to White.

A crackerjack thriller done in by its own dopey protagonist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72823-189-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing.

THE FEAR

This perspective-jumping thriller shows you the two sides of fear.

Izzy has had a crush on Justin forever, but in her last year at Rock Bay High, will she be able to finally talk to him, or will the sudden violent death of a classmate put a wrench in the situation? After a meme daring everyone to repost how they are most afraid to die races through the teenage population, a student appears to have been killed exactly in the way she had feared. Izzy must race against time to find the killer, and with no shortage of suspects, everyone is under suspicion: her loner lab partner, Axel; his older cousin, Tristan; and even Justin, who has been acting strange. It becomes clear no one is safe from experiencing fear. This swift-moving slasher adventure proves to be a page-turning mystery. The book is written in the first-person perspective, allowing readers a deeper view into Izzy’s mind; whether she is thinking Axel is innocent or the killer, her stream of thought and persistent questioning give readers clues to help connect the dots before surprising them with clever plot twists at the end. Main characters read as White; there is racial diversity in the supporting cast.

This fast-paced thriller will keep readers guessing. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-12501-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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