cover image Vigilante Nights

Vigilante Nights

Erin Richards. F&W Media/Merit Press, $17.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4405-6235-8

Making the leap from adult novels to YA, Richards (Wicked Paradise) delivers a convoluted tale of tragedy and revenge. A chance encounter with a gang initiation and some illegal street-racing ends Lucas’s football career, destroys his prized Camaro, and kills his twin sister, Silver. Scarred and a social outcast—as well as apparently haunted by his sister’s ghost—Lucas is determined to exact retribution. The high school senior’s quest for vengeance is hindered by an antagonistic new teacher and a former friend turned bully, who is determined to get him in trouble. Richards keeps the paranormal aspect of the story subtle, adding to its mystery and tension. However, the unfocused storyline and Lucas’s overwrought internal dialogue keep it from taking off. Between prose that tends toward purple (“I wanted every one of them to stroke the lacerations around my knee and torso, take a glimpse into the emptiness of my soul, and then ask how I was doing”) and repetitive agonizing over Silver’s death, Richards’s message gets lost along the way. Ages 12–up. Agent: Natalie Fischer Lakosil, Bradford Literary Agency. (July)