cover image Desperado City

Desperado City

Rebecca Coleman, . . Medallion, $7.95 (350pp) ISBN 978-1-60542-056-1

Coleman’s freshman effort, a schizophrenic tangle that can’t decide whether it’s a mystery or a coming-of-age soap opera, follows several self-absorbed adolescents during their last summer working at the titular Catskills theme park. Recent high school grad Danielle is more interested in snowboarding and her friend Sophie’s love life than the suspicious death of a 14-year-old girl in the park’s “haunted” hotel. Sophie’s brother, Nick, a smarmy born-again Christian, is a wizard with the ladies, while “Dungeons and Dragons geek” Adam can’t get to first base with Sophie, who plays him against hunky fireman Joey. Toby, the son of Desperado City’s owner, complains about being expected to take over the doomed family business. When the murderer is revealed halfway through the book, the significance is lost among so many trivial and unoriginal tales of teenage angst. (Aug.)