Hello, all! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Paullina Simons's latest, Red Leaves.
I'm short on time so I have to go with the Goodreads synopsis here:
As the star player of Dartmouth College’s women’s basketball team, Kristina Kim is beautiful, intelligent, and fearless. But though she’s just 21, Kristina has already had her share of heartache, loss, and dark secrets that haunt her. She’s best friends with Conni, Albert, and Jim, but the only one who seems to really know her is Albert. With long dark hair, tattoos, and a rebellious streak, Albert doesn’t fit in with the rest of the clean-cut Ivy Leaguers. Like Kristina, he has his share of secrets—secrets that are beginning to unravel this intimate circle of friends.
One wintry Thanksgiving weekend tragedy strikes...
When Detective Spencer O’Malley goes to investigate something suspicious at the foot of a steep hill on Dartmouth’s campus, he doesn’t expect that the frozen, naked body found in deep snow would belong to Kristina Kim—the remarkable young woman he met recently who entranced him. Now Spencer will never know if the chemistry he had with her was real. All he can do is find her killer.
Spencer is pulled into the strange, complex web of the surviving friends. Many important questions about Kristina’s murder cannot be answered, such as: why did none of them report her missing for nine days before her body was discovered? The more Spencer digs, the more clear it becomes that each of the three has a motive for killing Kristina. And as Spencer, seeking justice for a dead girl, is led down a labyrinth of deceit, every new revelation proves more shocking than the last….and more dangerous.
This is a bit of a break from what you might have read by Simons before: a mystery set around the death of a star college basketball player.
Kristina Kim is talented and pretty, a college student at Dartmouth who works part time at a facility for pregnant teens. To an outsider, she seems to have it all, but as the reader learns pretty immediately, she's got plenty of secrets.
Her friends are the prime suspects when Kristina turns up dead, and Detective Spencer O'Malley is determined to the point of stubborn doggedness to fine out who killed her. As the story progresses, it seems each of the other members of Kristina's close knit group could have been the one who murdered her.
I was excited at the prospect of a suspense thriller from such a beloved author, but I'll be honest, this one just did not work for me. The prose felt wooden and overly worked. There was so much minutia throughout that I found myself drifting as I was reading, unable to concentrate and never sucked into the story.
We are given an in depth look into Kristina, Spencer, and the three friends/suspects throughout the book. Simons does a good job of twisting the story in a way that the ultimate reveal is a surprise, but it was slow going to the point of being dry getting there.
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.
For more on Paullina Simons you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble