Wow. I just read the final installment of the Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson in one day…. Needless to say, I enjoyed this one a lot.
The story follows Stevie, a passionate detective in the making who attends the prestigious Ellingham Academy where the infamous kidnapping of Alice Ellingham took place in the late 1930s. It is Stevie’s greatest passion to solve that crime all these years later.
The first book, Truly Devious, was a solid three stars for me. An interesting story with an intriguing premise that offered a fun bordering school setting. I enjoyed the characters and was fascinated by the historical presence of the fictional world.
The Vanishing Stair, the second book in the series, was a good next move, building on the previous events and creating enough mystery and excitement to make you eager for the final novel. I think it was better, more engaging than the first novel, but still existed in a relatively good 3.5 star place.
This book however, was the next step up. Reasons why: The story gripped me right away. There wasn’t any awkward bumbling into the story, it was exciting and mysterious from the beginning. It felt like all the loose ends were going to come to a satisfying end, without feeling like the end result would be predictable or boring. It gave resolutions that were satisfying and realistic. Not everything was tied up in a neat little bow, and honestly that made me like this a lot more than I would had everything been pink and rosy. I enjoy a little grit in my murder mysteries.
These were my first taste of Maureen Johnson and her writing and safe to say if she comes out with something like this in the future, I will definitely pick it up. Her characters are unique and multifaceted, the representation is varied and doesn’t feel forced. She uses tropes in way that makes them feel fresh and creative. Her writing is fun and addictive and it makes the reading process just that much more enjoyable. There is nothing I dislike more than feeling like I am slogging through a book.
I say if you’re a fan of murder mysteries and enjoy a good boarding school setting, give Truly Devious a try, I doubt you will regret that decision. Plus all of the covers are beautiful so owning them would not be bad at all haha.