The Prized Girl

Amy K. Green. Dutton, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4510-3
Set in small-town New England, Green’s disappointing debut introduces Virginia Kennedy—a dysfunctional 26-year-old estranged from her family, but obsessed with solving the apparent rape and murder of her half-sister, 13-year-old beauty queen Jenny Kennedy. The authorities like intellectually disabled Benjy Lincoln for the crime; he attended all of Jenny’s pageants, and Jenny’s overprotective mother recently accused him of trying to molest Jenny. Virginia isn’t persuaded, though, particularly since Jenny’s body was found near the house of Mark Renkin, the high school teacher with whom then-teenage Virginia had a four-year sexual relationship. When Det. Brandon Colsen shows an interest in Virginia, she takes advantage of their burgeoning romance to join his investigation. Virginia’s first-person narrative alternates with third-person chapters chronicling Jenny’s final days. Unconvincing characters, manufactured conflict, and clichéd plot devices plague this meandering mystery. The pace quickens in the book’s second half, but the grim and twisted conclusion fails to satisfy. Though the epilogue opens the door for a sequel, Green would do well to begin anew. Agent: Brandi Bowles, United Talent Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/09/2019
Release date: 01/01/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Ebook - 978-1-5247-4511-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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