Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Sixes by Kate White

I originally picked up Kate White's latest suspense novel, The Sixes, knowing I was going to have the chance to meet her. But, somewhere in the first couple pages, she hooked me. I found her protagonist, an author named Phoebe Hall, interesting. Before I knew it, I was riveted, caught up in the story of Lyle College, a small Pennsylvania college with more than it's share of terrible problems. I was just as intrigued as Phoebe Hall was.

Phoebe originally took a short-term job teaching at Lyle College because she needed a place of refuge. Her life had crashed around her. Seven months earlier, her partner, Alec, left her for someone else, just after she returned from her latest book tour. Then, Phoebe, who made a living writing celebrity books, was falsely accused of plagiarism. The author who made her name exposing others' flaws found herself in the middle of a media frenzy. So, when her friend from boarding school, Glenda Johns, president of Lyle College, asked her to teach for a couple terms, she jumped at the chance to teach nonfiction writing courses. Maybe she could reinvent herself at a new location. Phoebe Hall should have looked before she leaped.

Lyle College was no refuge. When a student went missing, Glenda was afraid the disappearance might have something to do with a secret group of girls on campus, known only as The Sixes. With Phoebe's background in research, Glenda asks her to quietly dig around; see what she could learn about the group. It isn't long before Phoebe's questions led her back to her own past, when she herself was the target of a group of bullying mean girls. When the missing girl turns up dead, Phoebe suspects the girl might have been a member of the Sixes. When a second body turns up, it's not clear whether this group of girls is responsible. Could intimidation and bullying have led to murder, or are the rumors of a serial killer true? All signs seem to point back to the same students, girls who seem determined to scare Phoebe away from her investigation. How far could she push without arousing the ire of a killer? And, how evil could a group of college girls become?

Kate White's The Sixes is intense, and riveting. With cases all over the media about groups of girls who gang together for intimidation, the novel is timely. However, White skillfully twists the story so it's fresh, and surprising. Phoebe Hall works as a protagonist. She's an excellent researcher, a perfect amateur sleuth who uses her research and interviewing skills to great advantage. She's also a woman with her own past who can be scared and intimidated. Phoebe is not invincible, but she fights to survive. If you've been scared by the label that calls it a thriller, don't worry. White's book is creepy at times, but not graphic. It's in the vein of a Gothic novel, rather than a graphic thriller. White creates an atmosphere of shadows and fear that works perfectly. The Sixes is a suspense novel worth every fingernail biting moment. 

Kate White's website is www.katewhite.com

The Sixes by Kate White. HarperCollins. ©2011. ISBN 9780061576621 (hardcover), 384p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.



14 comments:

Liz V. said...

Unsure about The Sixes. Some reviews have made it seem darker than your "intense", although I trust your assessments of books.

Lesa said...

Try it from your local library, Liz. If you don't like it, take it back. I thought it was terrific. Liked the main character. It felt much more like a Gothic novel than a thriller as we think of thrillers with the nonstop action in which you already know who the villain is, and the violence is often graphic. Not like that at all.

Beth Hoffman said...

Oooo, there are times when I love diving into an intense story! Thanks, Lesa, I'll add this one to my list.

bermudaonion said...

Everyone seems to love this book! I'll have to get a copy of it soon!

Lesa said...

Booktalked it to a group of librarians today, and they all thought it sounded terrific. It's going on my staff picks list for this month.

Liz V. said...

Took your advice. Reserve wait, 29 days, for 10 people.

Lesa said...

Well someone's waiting to read it, Liz! I hope that bodes well.

jenny milchman said...

This one sounds fantastic, Lesa!! Thanks for the rec--and the review, of course :)

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Jenny. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Karen C said...

I already had this book on my TBR list, so I'm glad to see you liked it! Thank you.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Karen. If you think to come back and leave a comment after you finish it, I'd love to know what you think.

stacybuckeye said...

I've read all of her other books and loved them so I know I'll get to this one soon!

Lesa said...

As an avid mystery reader, I was really pleased I didn't guess whodunit. I think you'll like it, Stacy.

http://rantofimitation.wordpress.com/ said...

I usually judge a good mystery by how long it takes for me to figure out who "did it". I kept going back and forth between two major characters - just what the author wanted me to do. However, it wasn't until closer to the end that I had the "aha!" moment.