Tuesday, June 18, 2013

REVIEW: The Sixes by Kate White

Title: The Sixes
Author: Kate White
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: August, 2011
Genre: Romantic Suspense / Mystery / Thriller

Description: 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 caf├ęs 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.

My Thoughts: When we first meet Phoebe Hall, her life is in a downward spiral. Her boyfriend has ended their relationship abruptly and she is faced with every writer’s nightmare when she is accused of plagiarism. I immediately felt bad for her and, like Phoebe, thought a change of scenery would be a good thing. One of her oldest friends who she went to boarding school with offers her a great opportunity to teach a writing class at Lyle College, far from Manhattan and the bad press and unwanted publicity.

Initially, the move appears to have been a good decision. Phoebe is settling in well and is enjoying the small and quiet community that surrounds the college. She even has a romantic interest on the horizon with a fellow teaching colleague, but Phoebe is reluctant to begin any relationships. Suddenly, Phoebe’s peace and solitude are ripped to shreds when the body of a young coed who had gone missing is found in the river. Several clues point to a secret club on campus, only known as The Sixes. Phoebe’s friend, Glenda, enlists her help in finding out more. The more Phoebe digs, the closer she comes to a killer as well as reliving some horrible experiences she, herself, suffered while attending boarding school.

First of all, I enjoyed the story and the concept of a secret society with an intricate agenda recruiting coeds on campus. It gives the plot a very mysterious and sinister tone. Kate White does a good job of leading the reader through several scenes that allude to The Sixes being involved in the murders and then without warning, I started to suspect others. This story is full of suspicious characters that are all capable of heinous acts. I had a hard time deciding who was trustworthy.

The story goes from mysterious and sinister to downright chilling when Phoebe’s home is broken into and based on the items left behind, she appears to be the victim of bullying. She isn’t a stranger to this kind of treatment as she endured horrific treatment by bullies when she was at boarding school. It takes most of the story to learn the full extent of the bullying she endured. I would have preferred to have it revealed sooner because I just couldn’t understand why she was placing herself in danger. Once I learned what she went through, I understood that Phoebe wants to make sure nobody is ever bullied again. Unfortunately, the choices and decisions she makes while looking into the disappearance and murder lead to more murders and more danger to Phoebe. She has several close calls herself and is physically injured repeatedly because of those choices and decisions. I thought she was taking too many risks and just can’t understand why does the hero/heroine always realize who the killer is only after they are alone with them? It would have been better for my blood pressure if this revelation would have been made while Phoebe is sitting on the couch, eating ice cream and watching television.

In spite of Phoebe’s tenacious pursuit for the truth, I really liked her and admired her ability to rise above a painful past and move forward in times of adversity. The story is a standalone read and doesn’t leave any loose ends, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Phoebe makes another appearance in a book down the road.

My Final Verdict: Overall, this was a good story that should appeal to readers who like their romance mixed with suspense and mystery. I would have liked it better if Phoebe hadn’t taken so many foolish risks, but I applaud her diligence in seeking out the truth and fighting for the underdog.

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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at sharalsbooks@yahoo.com Happy Reading! :o)