cover image Pretty, Nasty, Lovely

Pretty, Nasty, Lovely

Rosalind Noonan. Kensington, $15 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0802-1

Studious, driven Emma Danelski, the moral center of this unconvincing psychological thriller from Noonan (Domestic Secrets), has pledged Theta Pi sorority at Oregon’s Merriwether University largely to fill the void left by the deaths of her sister and mother in a car accident years earlier. Aside from Emma’s quirky suitemates—clearly made up of the Theta Pi outcast pile—the rest of the house could have been lifted from any novel or film featuring college life. When Lydia Drakos, a Greek tycoon’s granddaughter who belongs to Theta Pi, is found dead in a ravine below one of Merriwether’s numerous but treacherous bridges, everyone assumes she jumped. Over the past two years there have been 12 suicides on campus. But conflicting evidence soon mounts in Lydia’s case: another person was seen on the bridge, and Lydia, though depressed, wasn’t necessarily suicidal. Two high-level administrators, rather robotic Sydney Cho and overly passionate Scott Finnegan, are at odds as to how to address the school’s suicide problem. Emma, who knows more than the police do about what really went on in the Theta Pi house, must decide what, if anything, to do with this knowledge. Unfortunately, Emma isn’t developed enough to gain much reader sympathy. Mystery fans will find little that they haven’t already seen before. (Sept.)