Oh, I've been neglecting the 2014 Debut Authors Challenge! I am working to remedy that, with my first new DAC post today. It's Suzanne Myers's debut, Stone Cove Island, fresh out this week from Soho Teen.
Stone Cove Island is reeling in the wake of Hurricane Victor. Power is off and on, the ferry is out for the foreseeable future, and many of the islanders have had to take refuge in the local school gym.
Eliza Elliot loves her island home and wants to do something to help, so she organizes a volunteer clean up, in the hopes that many of the other local teens will join in. Eliza is assigned the historic lighthouse, which leads to her discovery of a potential clue in an unsolved murder that dates back to her parents' teen years. Strangely, it's a case Eliza and her own peers have never even heard of: twenty-five years earlier, Bess Linsky vanished. Her bloodied clothes and her hair were found at the lighthouse but no body was ever recovered. Eliza's discovery wants to find out more, but all of her inquiries are met with stubborn silence and warnings not to mention Bess or her murder again. As her fellow islanders become even more secretive about Bess, Eliza begins to see potential suspects in almost everyone she meets.
Initially I wasn't sure how I felt about the way Eliza stumbled upon the letter. Considering she immediately finds out that Bess was her mother's best friend, it just seemed a little too easy. Much of the book unfolded this way, in fact. Unfortunately, I didn't want easy. I wanted the plot to be more complex.
Stone Cove Island was one I'd really been looking forward to, so it was kind of a big disappointment that it didn't live up to my expectations. The characters are fine and the pacing is quite good for a mystery. Ultimately, though, there just wasn't enough suspense or actual mystery to this mystery for me.