Title: You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Kevin O’Brien
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Andrea Boyle moved to Seattle to give her seventeen-year-old nephew, Spencer, a fresh start after the death of his parents. Andrea has found her own new beginning with Luke, a successful playwright and father of a teenage son, Damon. The boys appear to have little in common, but in truth they share a private torment…
When a tragedy befalls Damon, it’s just the beginning of a nightmare that unfolds. But the worst is yet to come once a dark secret from Spencer’s past is exposed. And when Luke is brutally attacked, both of their futures are at stake.
No Second Chance
Now it’s up to Andrea to prove Spencer’s innocence to the police–and to herself. Because for reasons she has revealed to no one, even Andrea can’t help questioning the truth–and fearing that she may be next to pay the ultimate price…
Bullying takes center stage in Kevin O’Brien’s newest mystery You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone.
Hoping for a new beginning, Andrea Boyle and her nephew Spencer Murray move to Seattle but soon after she becomes involved with playwright Luke Shuler, someone begins harassing and threatening her at her home. Moving in temporarily with Luke, she and Spencer try to befriend Luke’s son, Damon, who is the same age as Spencer. Damon and Spencer are classmates and they are both being bullied by their fellow classmates. Spencer tries to fly under the radar as he tries to stay out of his classmates’ sight while Damon’s OCD makes him the butt of the bullies jokes on a near daily basis. After Damon publicly calls out his tormentors, the bullies he mentioned are slowly murdered one by one. When someone uncovers the truth about Spencer’s past, he becomes the prime suspect in the investigation. Andrea believes her nephew is innocent but her confidence in Spencer is shaken as the evidence begins to pile up against him.
Now that her relationship with Luke is becoming serious, Andrea knows she needs to tell Luke the truth about her nephew’s past but a crisis with Damon occurs before she can talk to him. In the aftermath of tragedy, she and Spencer move back into their townhouse as Luke begins picking up the pieces of his life. As someone begins murdering the students responsible for bullying Damon, Andrea has complete faith that Spencer is not involved but unexpected discoveries raise a few doubts about his involvement. Equally troubling is the fact that someone has unearthed the truth about Spencer and once his secret is revealed, Andrea tries to find out who is responsible for the leak and most important, she wants to know what motivated someone to look into their past.
On the surfece, Spencer certainly seems to be a normal teenager trying to adjust to his new life. He is sympathetic to Damon’s plight and since their lives intersect outside of school, Spencer makes a concerted effort to make friends with him but Damon is quick to spurn his overture. Spencer is the first to realize the connection between Damon and the murdered teens but with one notable exception, his warnings to the bullies fall on deaf ears. Following up on his hunch, he begins an investigation of his own but he is less than forthcoming with his aunt about his activities. Spencer finally puts his trust in one of his fellow students but when the truth about his past is revealed and people begin to believe he is the killer, will he regret his decision?
You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone is a complex, multi-layered mystery that is fast-paced and compelling. Although there is a vast pool of suspects and a few clever twists and turns, it is fairly easy to deduce the killer’s identity. This knowledge does not lessen the novel’s enjoyment and just when readers think they have everything all figured out, Kevin O’Brien throws in a shocking revelation that is impossible to predict. With a pulse-pounding and nerve wracking confrontation, this riveting mystery thunders to a dramatic and completely satisfying conclusion. A brilliant whodunit that fans of the genre are sure to enjoy.