Title: Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery, Romance, Supernatural
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
On his own
Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.
Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.
The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers….
Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden.
Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer is an outstanding young adult mystery. With a slight supernatural element and a hint of romance, this perplexing whodunit is sure to be a hit with both young adult and adult readers.
Thomas Bellweather is the chief (and only) suspect in his mother’s murder. The small town police force is convinced he is guilty, but with no evidence tying him to the crime, they cannot arrest him. Things go from bad to worse for him once he strikes up a tentative friendship with Charlotte Rooker, the only person besides his stepfather to believe in his innocence. Ignoring her cop family’s strenuous objections, Charlotte continues to secretly meet Thomas but trouble seems to follow them every step of the way.
Grieving his mother’s loss and angry over the police’s rush to judgment, Thomas is trapped in an untenable situation. He is lonely and isolated at his stepfather’s house and his attempts to go about daily life are met with suspicion from the local residents. His new friendship with Charlotte is the only bright spot in his life, but their encounters usually end in disaster. Thomas tries to take his stepfather’s advice to maintain a low profile, but his resentment continues to grow as the police fail to uncover any leads in their investigation.
Although not 100% convinced of his innocence, Charlotte is willing to give Thomas the benefit of the doubt. She is angered by her family’s continued insistence that he is guilty and she grows frustrated by her brothers’ overprotective behavior. While Charlotte is a little naive and innocent, she refuses to let her family keep her from helping Thomas prove his innocence.
The mystery element of the storyline is well written and suspenseful while the romance aspect of the plot is understated and simmers in the background for much of the story. As Thomas and Charlotte dig into his mother’s past, they discover shocking and somewhat puzzling family secrets. However, as they investigate their findings, the story takes an unexpected shift into the supernatural. This stunning plot twist is crucial to identifying his mother’s killer but Thomas and Charlotte are ill-prepared for the shocking revelations they are about to uncover.
Well written with plenty of twists and turns, Thicker Than Water is a fast-paced and compelling novel with a unique storyline. Thomas and Charlotte are likable and sympathetic characters that are well-developed and easy to relate to. Brigid Kemmerer brilliantly weaves the various elements into an engrossing mystery that I highly recommend to readers of all ages.