by Brigid Kemmerer
To be published on December 29, 2015
by Kensington Teen
Source: e-ARC for review from the publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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 best 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…My take: I've read and enjoyed some of Brigid Kemmerer's Elementals books, and at first seemed like she was trying something entirely new with Thicker Than Water. Until about the halfway point, this book read like a contemporary YA murder mystery and everything seemed to have a bit of a cool Veronica Mars flair (there was a teenage murder victim named Lilly who was a friend of the main character).
But then pretty far into the story, things took a rather unexpected turn -- or perhaps a more expected turn? -- and this became very much like an Elementals book -- namely, there was suddenly a paranormal twist. (To be fair, maybe I should have seen this coming because Thicker Than Water has all the Elementals trademarks, like a family of brothers, a scrappy female love interest in the midst of all the testosterone, a misunderstood male protagonist, and a romance between the latter two.)
Pros: if you like the Elementals formula, as described above, you should definitely like this. Kemmerer is really good at writing guy characters and brothers. At first, I was really into the mystery, but mysteries that suddenly turn paranormal always seem like a bit of a cheat to me -- sorry!
Cons: Of all this author's heroines, Charlotte was not my favorite. She was quite the damsel in distress at first and had to be rescued (and carried through the woods!) not once but twice by the love interest. I expected her to drop a handkerchief or pull out her smelling salts to get his attention as her next move. Finally, toward the end, she came into her own. But I guess my greatest issue with this book was that I thought the paranormal aspect was introduced too late, which didn't leave enough time for it to be developed enough for my liking. The ending seemed rushed and left a few things unresolved - not sure if there are more books to follow.
If you're a fan of the Elementals books, you will definitely enjoy Thicker Than Water . If you're new to this author, you will have to see if you like the set-up and if you prefer the first two thirds of the book or the last third.