By Kathleen Hale
Available now from HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
I used to devour mysteries constantly, and then I just kind of . . . stopped. But I still pick them up now and then. Turns out the way to get me really interested in your mystery is to give it a cute little sweater-like cover of a moose hanging. And in a way, that really sums up the book.
Friendship, Wisconsin is a friendly small town with a population of less than 700. The most violent anyone gets is hunting deer, which is a matter of self preservation. (Otherwise, they go into the road and the deer and the drivers die.) Thus the town is rocked by the violent murder of Ruth Fried, particularly Kippy Bushman. Ruth was Kippy's best friend and on her way to her house when she died. Kippy feels guilty, but it's not until she talks to Ruth's brother that she realizes there might be more to the case than Ruth's hoodlum boyfriend getting violent.
NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE YOU is an interesting blend of tones. The back compares it to Fargo, which is an obvious inspiration, but the humor isn't quite the same. NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE YOU has a ton more quirk for one thing. But it's got the violence too. The description of what happened to Ruth is absolutely awful. There's a great deal of funny in NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE YOU, but Ruth's death is never funny. I'm going to mark that as a point in the book's favor.
I enjoyed how the mystery developed. There's a bunch of suspects for a town where everyone is too nice to be a suspect. And I liked that the killer wasn't obvious. It starts to become clear, but only at the same point that Kippy starts putting it together. I also liked how Kippy's investigation is impeded by the police, who believe that the crime is solved and she's simply overly distraught. (Kippy had a small mental breakdown following her mother's death years before.)
If you're looking for a creepy, funny read with a hint of romance, look no farther than NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE YOU. I'd avoid it if you're allergic to all things quirky or twee, but otherwise it's quite fun.