Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nearly gone by Elle Cosimano

Nearly "Leigh" Boswell has one simple goal - work hard in school so she can earn the $25,000 scholarship that will get her out of the trailer park she lives in.  It is a dream worth pursuing and will get her away from her mothers fate, working as a stripper to put food on the table and keep them in their trailer.  The race for the scholarship is a two horse race between Nearly and her friend Anh, and both of them want it pretty badly.  To make a good impression on her college applications and to qualify for the scholarship Leigh spends several hours a week tutoring students who need the extra help.  Tutoring helps Leigh with her future, but it also means she knows a huge cross section of the school from the popular and the jocks to the outsiders. 

When one of her tutoring students is attacked and left with a number on her arm Leigh is bothered, but not particularly worried.  Then another student is attacked, but this time it is not such a happy ending, and the number on their arm seems to taunt Leigh.  When a third student is attacked and another number is left, it appears that something sinister is happening to different students at the school - the one thing they have in common is a tutor named Leigh.  As the end of the school year draws near, the deaths threaten to derail Leigh's hopes of the scholarship, because without the minimum number of tutoring hours she is ineligible. 

To make matters even more complicated Leigh has come to the attention of the police and they have "encouraged" the school narc to get close to Leigh and find out what she knows and what is happening at the school.  It might have worked too if Leigh hadn't overheard them planning the move, and if she wouldn't have naturally been suspicious about someone like Reece Whelan approaching her at school.  With each death it becomes clearer and clearer that someone is after Leigh, but why target Leigh and why try to frame her?

Nearly gone is a tense psychological thriller that is the perfect blend of adrenaline and brain teaser as you try and figure out who is after Leigh and why.  Blended through this intense drama is a touch of blossoming romance, and a dash of family drama as you worm your way into Leigh's world.  All of the drama and action is balanced with a unique touch of the supernatural, a blend that I have not encountered before and that I find intriguing and addictive.  Leigh is able to taste the emotions of people she touches, able to discern if they are angry, frustrated, or hiding something based on how they taste to her senses and this adds a mind blowing facet to what is already an intense and thought provoking premise.  Things could easily have gotten silly, far fetched, or just weird, but Cosimano has blended together seemingly conflicting elements to create a unique read that I just couldn't put down once I started it.

Nearly gone won't appeal to everyone because it is something of a niche read, but if you give it a chance you will be pleasantly surprised.  It may take a chapter or two for you to get used to the taste and feel of the novel, but once you are used to the style you will be hooked.  This is a fascinating story wrapped up in a brain teaser as you try and figure out who the murderer is and why they might be targeting Leigh.  The ending is satisfying and closes off the storyline nicely, but not to the point where it is not possible to continue as a series.

If you like this book then try:
  • I hunt killers by Barry Lyga
  • The book of blood and shadow by Robin Wasserman
  • Acceleration by Graham McNamee
  • Death cloud by Andrew Lane
  • Crime seen by Jenny Pausacker
  • The Christopher killer by Alane Ferguson
  • Guy Langman, crime scene procrastinator by Josh Berk
  • Dead to you by Lisa McMann
  • The limit by Kristin Landon

Reviewed by Brilla

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