Dead Girls Don't Lie
Jaycee didn’t answer her phone on the night her best friend Rachel was murdered, and a mysterious text she received from her haunts her. Jaycee did not answer the phone because she was hanging out with Skyler at a party and getting her first kiss. Her guilt over missing the phone calls propel her into a dangerous investigation into the dark currents in her small community in this layered thriller.
"Wolf hides the truth and villains well throughout the story, so Jaycee and readers will have trouble figuring out the mystery until the very end."
Rachel had not been Jaycee’s friend for about six months, since a New Year’s party where Rachel ended up with Evan Cross, a boy Jaycee had been crushing on for forever. After that night, Rachel changed her appearance and started hanging out with different people. Before New Year’s, the two girls had shared a secret when they visited an abandoned house, and Rachel left covered in blood. It was a house where a young Mexican teen was found murdered soon afterwards. In her text, Rachel warns Jaycee not to tell anyone about that night.
After Rachel’s funeral, Jaycee struggles to make sense of the rest of the text. It warns her to only trust E. Eduardo, an angry young farm worker in the area who gives Jaycee further messages Rachel had left for her. Jaycee begins to look in places the girls went and finds a necklace with a SD chip inside. Skyler, a photography buff, takes the chip from her and says he will help. Skyler is Evan and Sherriff Eric’s younger brother, and Jaycee needs to trust someone.
After catching her with Skyler, her father warns her not to be alone with him and gives her books on Christianity and dating to study. None of the usual rules seem to matter to Jaycee anymore, as she tries to learn about Rachel’s death. She finds herself breaking into her father’s confidential files, sneaking out to meet Skyler and going back to the abandoned house to find clues.
Football players with chest carvings as part of a hazing ritual seem to be connected, especially after Jaycee discovers that Manny, the murdered teen, had one and had been trying to join the team. A set of pictures from Rachel have a football photo and a phrase “Making the Cut;” Jaycee tries to connect that practice to the tragedies. However, everyone in the town is convinced that gangs are responsible for Rachel’s death and that she was asking for trouble by hanging out with some of the Mexican families.
Layers of prejudice and guilt cloud the real issues in the town, and Jaycee puts herself in danger while uncovering the truth. Wolf hides the truth and villains well throughout the story, so Jaycee and readers will have trouble figuring out the mystery until the very end. Jaycee is realistic in her confusion and choices. A satisfying ending alleviates the dark intrigue.
Reviewed by Amy Alessio on September 16, 2013