Featured Review: In the Study with the Wrench (Diana Peterfreund)

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About This Book:

In the aftermath of Headmaster Boddy’s murder, Blackbrook Academy has been thrown into complete disarray. Half the student body hasn’t bothered to return to campus—but those who have include Orchid, Vaughn, Scarlett, Peacock, Plum, and Mustard, now warily referred to by the other students as the Murder Crew. When another staff member is found dead and an anonymous threat begins to target the group, each of the teens' opportunistic reasons for sticking around come to light. Orchid’s identity comes under question while Vaughn’s family life takes a turn; Finn and Mustard grow closer; and Scarlett and Beth struggle to turn over new leaves. All of this comes to a dramatic head at Tudor House with a cliff-hanger...

 

 

*Review Contributed by Samantha Randolph, Promotions Manager*

After the death of the headmaster and the storm in the first book, Blackbrook Academy is barely functioning. Half the student population left, the school’s reputation is hanging on a thread, and Orchid, Vaughn, Scarlett, Peacock, Plum, and Mustard are now known as the Murder Crew. When another dead body is found, rumors explode, and the crew is once again in the spotlight. However, nothing is as it seems and there are still secrets left to be uncovered.

What I Loved:
This series, based on Clue, is so fun. In the first book, I loved all the clever inclusions of the characters and how each ‘room’ setting came to life. IN THE STUDY WITH THE WRENCH continues the fun and brings a signature suspense. My favorite part was the relationships between the main characters. Romance is a minor part of the story, but just like in book one, we get really sweet moments of it. From the slow burn build ups to the spontaneous kisses, the romance adds a heightened level of drama to the murder mystery.
Beyond the romance, the tentative friendships were just as compelling. Most of the crew don’t trust easily at best and are experts at driving people away at worst. While the events in book one bonded them, it will clearly take more than one solved mystery to form deep friendships. I also enjoyed the role academic pressures played in their interactions with each other and with themselves.

What Left Me Wanting More:
While I enjoyed all the intersecting relationships between the characters, overall, it felt like none of the characters got the full attention they needed. Balancing an ensemble cast is difficult, and I found myself frequently wishing for more time to dig deeper into each individual character rather than staying closer to the surface to allow everyone page time.
Without giving away any spoilers, the climax and ending felt abrupt and a bit rushed. The mystery didn’t truly feel resolved, even though some answers were provided. In the prior installment, the resolution remained strong while still leaving open mysteries for a sequel, but IN THE STUDY WITH THE WRENCH didn’t have the same force of resolution. However, if the series gets a third book, I would absolutely still be eager to read it.

Final Verdict:
While the ending plot was somewhat lackluster, the characters and the setting proved an enjoyable and fun read that Clue fans will devour.

 

 

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