The Good Byline: A Riley Ellison Mystery

Jill Orr. Prospect Park, $16 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-938849-91-6
Not every reader will be charmed by library assistant Riley Ellison, the narrator of Orr’s first novel, who at one point imagines her own obit after accepting a ride from a stranger (“Her remains were found chopped up and frozen inside ice cubes that the perpetrator used to chill his iced tea for months after her death”). Riley being dumped by charismatic Ryan Sanford has made her the object of near-universal sympathy from her neighbors in Tuttle Corner, Va., but she views their expressions of concern as just a polite mask for disdain and pity. Riley’s infatuation with Ryan led her to neglect her friends, including her best childhood chum, reporter Jordan James. Riley’s guilt increases after she learns that Jordan has died, an apparent suicide. A poorly written and misspelled suicide note makes Riley suspicious, and she turns amateur sleuth. Riley’s breezy narration is at odds with how a person would feel in real life about a close friend’s death. Agents: Emma Sweeney and Margaret Sutherland Brown, Emma Sweeney Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
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