**Disclaimer: I received a free eARC of Don’t Say a Word by Amber Lynn Natusch from Macmillan/Tor-Forge through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to them for this opportunity.
Don’t Say a Word by Amber Lynn Natusch is a YA mystery thriller set in a small town in Ohio. It is due to publish on September 17th of this year. It is the second book in the Hometown Antihero series. I gave it three stars on Goodreads.
Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
Kylene Danners’s ex-FBI agent father is in prison for murder and she’s hell-bent on getting him out. But trying to investigate in the small town where a defensive lineman is a hero no matter who he tries to kill and the girl who gets him locked up is public enemy number one is dangerous. Dark secrets are everywhere in Jasperville—the kind Ky can’t walk away from.
When rookie FBI agent Cedric Dawson returns to town to finish an open investigation, he goes undercover at her high school—as her ex. Determined to keep her from interfering, Dawson’s plan backfires after Ky gets an anonymous call about missing girls officially labeled as runaways—runaways that didn’t really run away at all.
Because dead girls can’t run.
And they don’t say a word.
The summary of this book as it was presented on NetGalley, sounded really interesting and that was why I requested it. Unfortunately, it in no way indicated that it was a sequel to a book that already existed. If it had, I probably wouldn’t have requested it, but I didn’t know that so I did. Then I was granted permission to read it, and I realized, rather quickly, that this was a sequel. Normally, if I accidentally picked up a sequel, I would set it aside and not read it. However, because this was a NetGalley book, I felt obligated to read it. So I have to acknowledge that part of my low rating was because it was a sequel and then even then it’s probably higher than I would have given it because I didn’t want to be too harsh simply because I hadn’t read the first book. And the author does try to give enough information about the first book without completely rehashing the story, so I was able to piece together some stuff about the previous story because of that.
So, aside from the fact that I hadn’t read the first book, this was definitely interesting. The protagonist wasn’t my favourite but she was definitely an interesting character. Her thoughts and struggles felt realistic for someone in her position, and watching her deal with the aftermath of the trauma was definitely a fascinating part of this book. Her interactions with her friends felt realistic and I felt for her in the dynamics of the town where most people seemed to hate her for what she had done.
The mystery was interesting. It was like a smaller mystery that fit into a greater one that also connects to what happened to her father. This particular mystery dealt with an under-aged prostitution ring featuring lower class, desperate girls from the town, but overarching it related to a big bad. I felt that the story wrapped up the smaller mystery well but was disappointed it didn’t come to a conclusion with the bigger mystery. Additionally, I was sold on the father in jail aspect and how Kylene wanted to free him. However, this book didn’t really deal with that all that much. It was mentioned and some progress was made, but I felt like it was supposed to have a bigger focus in the story and it didn’t really.
The romance in this story was interesting, but ultimately I could have done without it. It felt like padding or fluff that wasn’t really necessary. However, I can see some readers being way more invested in it, probably those who had read the first book. Personally, I was team AJ, but I really could have skipped over it and the book probably would have been the same.
I think that’s all I really want to say about this book. I don’t want to say don’t read it, but I want to clarify that if you’re interested you should really read the first book before this one. That being said, if you’re interested in the story (and you’ve read the first book) make sure to check it out when it comes out on September 17th.