Keep This To Yourself by Tom Ryan | small-town mystery with a big payoff

again, but better (2)

Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan

May 7, 2019, from Albert Whitman
Young adult mystery
Goodreads | Amazon

It’s been a year since the Catalog Killer terrorized the sleepy seaside town of Camera Cove, killing four people before disappearing without a trace. Like everyone else in town, eighteen-year-old Mac Bell is trying to put that horrible summer behind him—easier said than done since Mac’s best friend Connor was the murderer’s final victim. But when he finds a cryptic message from Connor, he’s drawn back into the search for the killer—who might not have been a random drifter after all. Now nobody—friends, neighbors, or even the sexy stranger with his own connection to the case—is beyond suspicion. Sensing that someone is following his every move, Mac struggles to come to terms with his true feelings towards Connor while scrambling to uncover the truth.

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4 stars

I can’t keep how good this book is to myself. 

Okay. Bad pun. Had to do it. But it’s true; this book is a winding mystery through a sleepy seaside town and folds a twisting tale inside its pages.

Our protagonist, Mac, is your typical everyday guy trying to solve a mystery. Unlike what you’d think when it comes to mystery novels, Mac isn’t particularly great at piecing together the clues the reader is given. He’s also quite introverted and quiet, again defying your typical protagonist; instead, his friends give him what he needs to be able to tie all the points together, something which I really appreciated.

Of all of Mac’s friends, I think Quill was definitely my favourite. In many ways, he’s the polar opposite of Mac–more outgoing and easy with people, less naturally honest – but both are friends of a serial killer’s victims, and both are willing to fight for the truth no matter what it takes. But all of Mac’s friends are fascinating, and Connor is definitely the centre of it all, the glue that keeps everyone together. Connor was definitely the most interesting of all the characters, even though he never really appears in the story as he’s, you know, dead.

I always love it when books are set in sleepy small towns, and the town of Camera Cove did not disappoint in that regard. It was your typical generic small town with hidden secrets, but I’m honestly such a sucker for that setting that I loved it anyway. The setting certainly lent itself very well to the melancholy tone of the book – all of Mac’s friends split up and distant from one another, and Mac wrestling with his own feelings about Connor’s murder and his place beside Connor, and the role that Quill is beginning to play in his life.

The mystery part was executed fairly well – there was enough evidence laid down for me to guess the culprit before it happened, but by the time I pieced everything together I was nearly at the end. In mysteries, I like being able to figure it out alongside the characters, not guessing it far too early nor seeing it come out of nowhere, and Keep This to Yourself pulled the timing off very well.

Keep This to Yourself was an exciting and diverse thriller, definitely recommended to fans of One of Us is Lying.

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content warnings | murder, grief, mentions of drugs, abuse

rep | gay mc, biracial love interest

have you read keep this to yourself? what are your favourite YA murder mysteries?

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6 thoughts on “Keep This To Yourself by Tom Ryan | small-town mystery with a big payoff

  1. It always makes me so happy to see people liking this one! I loved the ARC I got, and it’s definitely one of the better paced YA mysteries that I’ve read. Great review, Jess! 😃

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