Sixteen-year-old Julia Whitmire appeared to have everything: a famous father, a luxurious Manhattan town house, a coveted spot at the elite Casden prep school. When she is found dead in her bathtub, a handwritten suicide note left on her bed, her parents insist that their daughter would never take her own life.Read more...
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Sixteen-year-old Julia Whitmire appeared to have everything: a famous father, a luxurious Manhattan town house, a coveted spot at the elite Casden prep school. When she is found dead in her bathtub, a handwritten suicide note left on her bed, her parents insist that their daughter would never take her own life.
But Julia's enviable world was more complicated than it seemed. The pressure to excel at Casden was enormous. Abuse of prescription antidepressants and ADHD medication ran rampant among students; an unlabeled bottle of pills in Julia's purse suggests she had succumbed to the trend. And a search of Julia's computer reveals that in the days leading up to her death she was engaged in a dangerous game of cyberbullying against an unlikely victim.
NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher is convinced the case is a suicide, but she knows from personal experience that a loving family can be the last to accept the truth. When the Whitmires use their power to force a criminal investigation, Ellie's resistance causes trouble for her both at work and in her personal life. As she is pressured to pursue a case she doesn't believe in, she is pulled into Julia's inner circle--an eclectic mix of overly precocious teenagers from Manhattan's most privileged families as well as street kids from Greenwich Village. But when the target of Julia's harassment continues to receive death threats, Ellie is forced to acknowledge that Julia may have learned the hard way that some secrets should never be told.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-04-30
- Reviewer: Staff
Near the start of Burke’s excellent fourth novel of suspense featuring NYPD Det. Ellie Hatcher (after 2010’s 212), 16-year-old Julia Whitmire, the daughter of legendary music producer Bill Whitmire, is found dead in the bathtub on the top floor of her family’s West Village townhouse with her wrists slashed. Ellie assumes that the Whitmire parents’ social clout is the reason why she and her partner, J.J. Rogan, must investigate an apparent suicide as a potential murder. At Casden, Julia’s elite prep school, they discover a rampant subculture of prescription drug abuse and intense academic pressure. Julia’s friend, Ramona Langston, also points them in the direction of several homeless youths she and Julia befriended over the past year, particularly Casey Heinz, who has a crush on Ramona and keys to the Whitmires’ residence. Ellie becomes less convinced that Julia killed herself as details emerge of a rape survivor blog linked to the case and threats against its anonymous author. The meticulous plotting, coupled with Ellie’s complicated evolution as a heroine, make this Burke’s strongest work to date. 6-city author tour. Agent: Philip Spitzer, the Philip Spitzer Literary Agency. (June)