May 13, 2020

Review: Hero Complex

Hero ComplexThe second Keaton School mystery
By Margaux Froley
Available now from Soho Teen
Review copy
Review of Escape Theory

Because I enjoyed Escape Theory, I wanted to read the sequel, Hero Complex. However, it had been a while since I read Escape Theory, so I wanted to reread it first, and eventually I decided to just dive into Hero Complex any way.

I had forgotten quite a bit, but it came back to me. Devon Mackintosh was working at a peer counselor at the private school she attended on scholarship to help boost her college applications. Her knowledge from those sessions made her suspicious of the apparent suicide of popular Hutch, which led her to become embroiled in a mystery.

At the beginning of Hero Complex, Devon has figured out who killed Hutch but she's still trying to figure out the why, which could be the key to getting the testimony needed to put his murderer away. But soon a new mystery arises when she goes to a boat party with her friend Cleo and gets clobbered over the back of the head. No one believes her that the assault happened, much less that it was attempted murder.

What I found most delightful about Hero Complex was that Devon never would have known the secrets she uncovers in the novel even existed if the villain hadn't attempted to get rid of her. I love seeing a bad guy hoisted by their own petard. At the same time, Hero Complex feels like the middle novel in a trilogy. The mystery at the center doesn't have the emotional drive of Hutch's death, and the revelations feel like they're setup for the fallout in the third novel.

... which doesn't exist. As much as I enjoy Escape Theory and Hero Complex, I have trouble recommending the Keaton School mysteries since the third novel was never published, leaving the story feeling unfinished.


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