Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.
I absolutely loved this book. It was a buddy read for me and it sounded interesting so I just went with it and fell in love. This book was so well written and just flowed. I found myself not wanting to stop because it was so interesting. I loved the way she went back and forth in time. While mostly in the present, Johnson gave us the view of the crime as it was taking place and after. This really gave insight to the Truly Devious crime. During the present, Stevie tries to investigate the cold case but finds herself mixed in with an active investigation. Everything blended so well and kept the pace moving. I also adore this school and want to go. It created such a great atmosphere for the book. That ending killed me. There were some things that I suspected but the one big twist at the end, I didn't see coming. I will be continuing the next book very shortly.
I absolutely adored the characters. Stevie was the main character and was fantastic (and not just because she was a Stephanie from Pittsburgh obsessed with true crime and made reference to the Monroeville mall and zombies). She was engaging and interesting. Her thoughts were always on point and I loved her intuition. The rest of the characters were so fitting also. Janelle, the inventor, was opposite of Stevie but the perfect match. Nate, the writer, was so disengaged but I loved it. His sense of humor was so dry but it really matched Stevie and their interactions were great. Hayes, the actor, was egotistical which you discover as soon as you meet him. Ellie, the artist was so eccentric but really broke the awkwardness when there was some. David, the jokester was something else. It was hard to pinpoint how I felt about him and first but now, I really hope things work out. For each of them was perfect for the story and I can’t wait to continue it.
Overall, Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson sucks you in and doesn’t let go. It’s engaging right from the beginning up to the very end. It was so hard to put down this book. The pacing was fantastically done going between the past and present. Along with a great story, there were amazing characters. Stevie was a fantastic main character and everyone else in the Minerva house was perfect for the story. I cannot wait to continue this series. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a mystery story that connects the past and future in an intoxicating way.