Isabel Allende, trans. from the Spanish by Oliver Brock and Frank Wynne. Harper, $28.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-229140-0
Bestseller Allende (The House of the Spirits) successfully tries her hand at a mystery, which features an unlikely team of sleuths united by an online mystery game named after the infamous Whitechapel murderer. High school senior Amanda Martín is the games master for a group that includes her grandfather, Blake Jackson; a wheelchair-bound New Zealand boy with the online persona of a Gypsy girl named Esmeralda; and a 13-year-old boy with a high IQ who calls himself Sherlock Holmes. Amanda persuades her cohorts to investigate real-life crimes in 2012 San Francisco, starting with the murder of Ed Staton, a school security guard. A month earlier, Amanda's astrologer godmother predicted that San Francisco would suffer a bloodbath. The prophecy seems more credible when other murders follow Staton's. While this genre outing isn't as memorable as the author's more groundbreaking fiction, her facility with plotting and pacing will keep readers turning the pages. 7-city author tour. Agent: Carmen Balcells, Carmen Balcells Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/23/2013
Release date: 01/01/2014
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