Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The Sixes by Kate White
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.