Per the book blurb: Rufus Holt is having the worst night of his life. It begins with the reappearance of his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian—the guy who stomped his heart out like a spent cigarette. Just as Rufus is getting ready to move on, Sebastian turns up out of the blue, saying they need to “talk.” Things couldn’t get worse, right?
After finishing Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig, I was intrigued enough to check out his previous books. This is another YA book, but the tone is a lot darker and the action all takes place on one July 4th night. As Rufus is shocked to find Sebastian (his ex boyfriend) wanting to talk to him, he also receives a panicked phone call from his half sister April who begs Rufus to help her. Both occurrences were not how he expected his July 4th to go. Sebastian volunteers to drive Rufus to the cabin where April was partying and they discover the girl half conscious and covered with blood. The blood of her boyfriend Fox Whitney, dead by a stabbing with pills scattered around the room and no one else there. Did April kill him or what the hell just happened?
So begins a wild night of amateur sleuthing as Rufus and Sebastian try to figure out what really happened in the cabin and who killed Fox. They want to exonerate April if possible before the body is found. There’s other kids from the party they need to track down as they stay a step ahead of the real murderer. All of this is done as Rufus has to deal with the emotional reality of being with Sebastian who dumped him very publicly in favor of a girl (it’s complicated). The story of their past relationship is told in periodic flashbacks so we get to find out what brought them to this point. All of this means there is a lot going on – between murder solving, relationship issues, sexuality issues and family drama. I’m too far removed from the high school years to know if the kids are portrayed realistically, but they were all flawed in one way or another, and there is a lot of “us against them” in terms of social standing and wealth. Still, it was a wild ride of a book and kept me guessing all the way as to who the real killer was.