Take a handful of brilliant teenagers engrossed in a mystery lovers’ role-playing game. Toss in a serial killer on the loose in San Francisco, a savvy grandfather, a soul-scarred former SEAL, an aging flower child and a world-weary cop, and you have the basis for a gripping mystery told in the lyrical language Allende does best. Readers won’t want to put this one down till the final page.
Indiana Jackson is a holistic healer who isn’t ready to choose between the two men in her life. Indiana has a close relationship with her daughter, Amanda, who is her complete opposite. With a deputy of homicide in San Francisco’s police department as a father, Amanda has always been interested in crime novels and is dedicated to the online mystery game Ripper. Ripper’s players have altered the game’s focus, using clues to solve an ongoing series of area murders. When Indiana goes missing, Amanda and her friends race to put the clues together before her mother becomes another victim. (HARPER, Feb., 496 pp., $28.99)