Normally, I wouldn’t have read a compilation novel, but ‘Most Likely to Die’ came to me highly recommended. Although the action picked up almost immediately, I found myself having a little trouble getting into the story. By chapter 3 or 4, though, I was hooked.
The plot reads something like a cross between “I know What You Did Last Summer” and “Prom Night.” In 1986 during a high school Valentine’s dance, a popular student (Jake Marcott) is brutally murdered. He is found by one of his several love-interests impaled by an arrow in the middle of a hedge maze. And despite the public nature of the crime, the murder goes unsolved.
Fast forward to the planning of St. Elizabeth’s 20 year reunion, in which the clique of girls who were closest to Jake reunite. From the first meeting, strange and unsettling things start happening to each of them. Things that would send sane people running first to the police and then their local gun dealer. Personal items being stolen from inside their homes (with no signs of forced entry), old pictures with red slashes across the faces turning up in their reunion invitations, strange phone calls. You know, traditional stalker stuff. It doesn’t take long for the more astute among them to link the stalking to Jake’s unsolved murder.
About the time the paranoia really sets in, the planning committee crew starts dying off one by one. The deaths are violent but seemingly unrelated. By the time it dawns on the survivors that the deaths may not be random but in fact part of a deviously complicated plot against all of ‘Jakes girls,’ the killer has become increasingly bold, blatantly targeting each and every one them. By the time the number of committee members is cut in half, our killer has been so bold as to travel across country, attempt a kidnapping, and actually strangle someone to death in broad daylight. By now, our main players have determined that the new killer and Jakes killer are not only one and the same, but also part of the planning committee.
Despite the carnage – and suspicion that someone on the guest list is a serial killer- , the reunion occurs as planned (you know, the show must go on.) By this point in the story is has become obvious who the killer is, and over the course of the reunion that person is revealed.
Overall, the book wasn’t bad. It was written well enough to keep your attention despite the tired story line. Especially for a collaborative effort between three authors. They kept the story flowing by having each author write a third of the book, with each of them writing from the point of view of one of the three main characters, Kristen, Lindsay, and Rachel. Their styles of writing meshed almost seamlessly (Although I was partial to Part Three written by Beverly Barton. IMO, the wording and pacing were superior to the other two parts.)
I had a harder time than usual determining a rating for this book. The story has been done a million times, and read (as I mentioned before) something like a bad horror flick. On the other hand, the writing was, for the most part, strong. All in all, I have decided to give it a 3 star rating.
***As a disclaimer, I wanted to mention that this is not a new release. It was published in 2007.***