cover image Murder for the Modern Girl

Murder for the Modern Girl

Kendall Kulper. Holiday House, $19.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4972-9

In 1928, Ruby Newhouse—the 18-year-old daughter of an anticorruption state’s attorney—likes to pretend she’s a flighty flapper, but she’s actually a shrewd vigilante who reads minds to identify and then poison “killers, monsters, abusers.” Ruby usually targets women-harming men whom few will miss, but when someone tries to assassinate her father, she shifts her focus to Chicago’s power players. Evidence points to mob boss Herman Coward, but Ruby suspects he’s being framed by a crooked politician angling to run the city. After she discovers that a morgue employee known as Guy Rosewood, 18, can morph his appearance to resemble nearly anyone, she agrees to keep his secret—and then solicits his assistance. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Ruby, Guy is investigating a string of poisonings to curry favor with medical examiner and cellular metamorphosis expert Gregory Keene, hoping to learn more about his own abilities. Ruby and Guy co-narrate, tension mounting as they work at cross-purposes while falling in love. Several characters are Prohibition-era stereotypes, and the inclusion of 1920s slang can feel a bit shoehorned, but on the balance, Kulper (the Salt & Storm series) delivers a glitzy, adrenaline-fueled crime novel brimming with formidable women. All characters cue as white. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. (May)