Summary: From the New York Times bestselling author of Hush and the Bailey Weggins mystery series comes a thriller set in a college town where a student’s death sends one woman on a search for the truth and into the clutches of a frightening secret society.
Phoebe Hall’s Manhattan life has suddenly begun to unravel. Right after her long-term boyfriend breaks off their relationship, she’s falsely accused of plagiarizing her latest bestselling celebrity biography. Looking for a quiet place to put her life back together, Phoebe jumps at the offer to teach in a sleepy Pennsylvania town at a small private college run by her former boarding school roommate and close friend, Glenda Johns.
But behind the campus’s quiet cafés and leafy maple trees lie evil happenings. The body of a female student washes up on the banks of a nearby river, and disturbing revelations begin to surface: accusations from coeds about abuses wrought by a secret society of girls on campus known as The Sixes.. To help Glenda, Phoebe embarks on a search for clues—a quest that soon raises painful memories of her own boarding school days years ago.
As the investigation heats up, Phoebe unexpectedly finds herself falling for the school’s handsome psychology professor, Duncan Shaw. But when nasty pranks turn into deadly threats, Phoebe realizes she’s in the middle of a real-life nightmare, not knowing whom she can trust and if she will even survive.
Plunging deeper into danger with every step, Phoebe knows she’s close to unmasking a killer. But with truth comes a terrifying revelation: your darkest secrets can still be uncovered . . . and starting over may be a crime punishable by death. -- Harper
I'm not sure that I've read all of Kate White's novels, but I've read most of them -- and I always seem to enjoy them. I started with the Bailey Weggins mysteries, and then it was her stand-alone novel HUSH which I found very entertaining. (You can read my review here.) So there was no way that I was going to miss out on her latest novel THE SIXES. And guess what? I liked it. In fact, I liked it a lot. It just might be my favorite Kate White book so far!
THE SIXES takes place on a small-town college campus in rural Pennsylvania where some horrible events have recently occurred (i.e. attacks, missing co-eds, and washed up bodies.) Phoebe Hall, a Manhattanite and one-time best-selling author, finds herself down on her luck after her boyfriend dumps her and she is accused of plagiarizing. Glenda, Phoebe's best friend from boarding school, invites her to teach at Lyle College while she figures out what she wants to do with her life. When a body of a young girl is found in a nearby river, suspicions are raised -- not only about this girl but also about the possibility of a secret campus society called The Sixes. Glenda asks for Phoebe to use her investigative reporting skills to help find out the truth behind this mysterious group of female co-eds.
I enjoyed THE SIXES so much! It was a fantastic read that kept my attention for the entire 350+ pages, and I found that I read the book in just a few sittings because it was so gripping. THE SIXES had a great mystery, intriguing characters, and lots of suspense; and it honestly kept me guessing until the very end. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I thought I had solved the crime at least three separate times. (I wasn't right any of them!) The cast of characters was wonderful and I had no idea as to whom Phoebe should trust. There were multiple times that I suspected individuals that were very close to Phoebe, and there was even a time when I wasn't sure if Phoebe was entirely reliable.
While I definitely enjoyed the mystery aspect of this novel, I was also pleasantly surprised with the character development. Phoebe was an extremely complex character and I found her to be quite interesting. I appreciated how events from her past were leaked to the reader in small doses, and part of the reason I was so hooked on THE SIXES was because I wanted to know how Phoebe's past tied into the present-day events. Phoebe was obviously deeply affected by what occurred during her boarding school days and I loved how the author tied the two stories together.
In addition, I really loved how this book explored the idea of a secret society, and in particular "mean girls." In fact, THE SIXES redefined that term -- these girls were brutal! As a mother to a tween daughter, I've seen many cases of "mean girls," bullying and the queen-bee syndrome; and I have to admit that I'm amazed by how young his behavior exerts itself. (Some psychologists say as early as 4-5 years old!) THE SIXES definitely caused me to think about some of these things and question why (or even if) girls' actions are getting more aggressive.
I wasn't able to find a reading guide for THE SIXES; however, I do think it would make for an interesting discussion. In addition to talking about "mean girls," you might also explore secret societies and their hazing practices, friendship, trust, the college lifestyle, plagiarism, traumatic events, fresh starts, and the effects of the past on current behavior. I also found that Phoebe and her relationships might warrant some additional thought.
If you are looking for an edge-of-your seat thriller and just a terrific summer read, then I highly recommend THE SIXES.
Thanks to AuthorsOnTheWeb for sending me a copy of this novel.
Mystery Mondays is a "somewhat" regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.