In general, mysteries are one of the few genres that fail to interest me. Just like crime dramas, I generally find them really repetitive, and there’s often not enough character development to really get me engaged in the story. I do, however, make an exception for stories about psychopaths, and Find Me by Romily Bernard turned out to be just the sort of incredibly creeptastic mystery that I enjoy.
The overall plot and tone of Find Me heavily recalls the first season of Veronica Mars, which really isn’t a bad thing, since that’s one of my favorite mystery programs. Wick Tate, daughter of a criminal father, the sort of man whose behavior drove her mother to suicide, finally has a comfortable home with Bren and Todd, who are fostering Wick and her younger sister Lily. However, a cop named Carson keeps coming around, probably onto Wick’s recreational activities, which include computer hacking, a skill she learned from her sketchy upbringing among criminals. Then someone leaves a notebook belonging to a dead girl, Tessa Waye, on her doorstep with a note reading only “Find Me.”
Wick’s narrative voice is dark, mistrustful, and blackly comic. Bernard convincingly portrays Wick as a girl who has been dumped on by life enough times that she knows to be ready for anything and trusts almost no one. She can count the number of people she trusts on one hand. Wick is strong, clever, and backed into a corner. Her bitterness may be hard for some readers to relate to, but her core of sadness, particularly with the way the suicide of Tessa, a girl she used to be friends with a long time ago, and the way it stirs up memories of her mothers death. There’s a very emotionally powerful scene where Wick tells off a girl for her judgment of Tessa’s choice to end her life.
The mystery element does have a lot of commonalities with the first season-long arc of Veronica Mars. A popular girl dead, with few leads but a secret boyfriend. These commonalities didn’t really detract from the excitement of the plot, but I did note them. The ending really did creep me out and, though I wasn’t all that surprised by who the killer was, it was still utterly terrifying.
What Left Me Wanting More:
One thing did really bother me about Find Me, and that’s Griff, Wick’s love interest. Though they’ve known each other for three years, it’s in a very basic “we have classes together” way. They’re not friends, really. On the day when Wick hears of Tessa’s suicide, she goes home sick, and Griff texts her to see if she’s okay, having had her number from when they worked on a class project together. Up to that point, I thought he was a nice, sweet guy. Then, that night, he scares the bejeebus out of her when he climbs a tree outside her window because she didn’t respond to the text. WARNING: CREEPER ALERT. Then, later, she asks him for help with something and he offers to do so if she’ll kiss him. WARNING: NOT CUTE; SKETCHY. Later, he breaks into her room and leaves a drawing for her, since, again, she ignored texts. WARNING: RUN FOR THE HILLS. He’s also way too grabby and bossy. Wick recognizes and even calls him out on his stalkerish behavior, but is okay with it because it’s him. No. No. No. No.
The other issue is that a lot of plot lines still seem up in the air at the end. The mystery’s resolved, but Wick’s family drama is not. Based on the ending, it seems that at least one more book is in the works about Wick Tate, though I can’t find anything to confirm that. Plot lines left dangling isn’t an issue if this is a series, but certainly is if this is a standalone.
The Final Verdict:
All in all, Find Me is a highly entertaining, heart-pumping mystery. Fans of Veronica Mars might especially enjoy Bernard’s debut. If there does in fact turn out to be a sequel, I’ll definitely be reading it for Wick’s delightful narrative voice, but hoping the romance goes somewhere less unsettling.