cover image Most Likely to Die

Most Likely to Die

Beverly Barton, Wendy Corsi Staub, Lisa Jackson, . . Zebra, $7.99 (479pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-7576-9

Despite individual success in the field of suspense, the first collaboration of Jackson (Fatal Burn ), Staub (The Final Victim ) and Barton (Dangerous Deception ) is likely to disappoint their fans. The plot line will ring familiar to slasher movie buffs: a 20-year high school reunion triggers a series of brutal murders committed to avenge an old grievance. In this case, the original sin is the crossbow slaying of popular hunk Jake Marcott, the object of desire for much of the graduating class of Portland, Ore.'s St. Elizabeth's High School, on the night of the St. Valentine's Day Dance. The trauma has become a distant wound for the women who loved him until the 2006 reunion plans spark new killings, and three classmates, Rachel, Kristen and Lindsay, must race to unmask the murderer before they themselves fall victim. Unfortunately, the authors don't do very much to keep the identity of the murderer hidden from the reader, seriously hindering their efforts to wring suspense from the cookie-cutter scenario. (Feb.)