Sixteen-year-old Julia Whitmire appeared to have everything: a famous father, a luxurious Manhattan town house, a coveted spot at the elite Casden prep school. When she is found dead in her bathtub, a handwritten suicide note left on her bed, her parents insist that their daughter would never take her own life.
But Julia's enviable world was more complicated than it seemed. The pressure to excel at Casden was enormous. Abuse of prescription antidepressants and ADHD medication ran rampant among students; an unlabeled bottle of pills in Julia's purse suggests she had succumbed to the trend. And a search of Julia's computer reveals that in the days leading up to her death she was engaged in a dangerous game of cyberbullying against an unlikely victim.
NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher is convinced the case is a suicide, but she knows from personal experience that a loving family can be the last to accept the truth. When the Whitmires use their power to force a criminal investigation, Ellie's resistance causes trouble for her both at work and in her personal life. As she is pressured to pursue a case she doesn't believe in, she is pulled into Julia's inner circle - an eclectic mix of overly precocious teenagers from Manhattan's most privileged families as well as street kids from Greenwich Village. But when the target of Julia's harassment continues to receive death threats, Ellie is forced to acknowledge that Julia may have learned the hard way that some secrets should never be told.
"Starred Review. The meticulous plotting, coupled with Ellie's complicated evolution as a heroine, make this Burke's strongest work to date." - Publishers Weekly
"Burke's prose falls into an easy, natural rhythm when she enters Ellie Hatcher's world, and her plotting rarely disappoints. A smooth, compelling read that is proof positive that Burke continues to mature as a writer; this entry in the Ellie Hatcher series sings." - Kirkus Reviews
"What initially appears to be a simple story quickly becomes more intricate and compelling, making the pages fly. Highly recommended, especially for Lisa Gardner or Laura Lippman fans." - Library Journal
"Skillfully structured, but short on verve." - Booklist
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A former deputy district attorney in Portland, Oregon, Alafair Burke now teaches criminal law at Hofstra Law School. The daughter of acclaimed crime writer James Lee Burke, she is a graduate of Stanford Law School and currently serves as a legal and trial commentator for radio and television programs, including for Court TV. She lives in New York City with her husband, Sean.
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