3 star, YA

Review: Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus

From the internationally bestselling author of Netflix’s hottest new show, One of Us is Lying, comes a new, page-turning thriller . . .

True crime can leave a false trail.

Four years ago, Brynn left Saint Ambrose School following the shocking murder of her favourite teacher. The case was never solved, but she’s sure that the three kids who found Mr. Larkin’s body know more than they’re telling, especially her ex-best friend Tripp Talbot. He’s definitely hiding something.

When Brynn gets an internship working on a popular true-crime show, she decides to investigate what really happened that day in the woods. But the further she dives into the past, the more secrets she finds.

Four years ago someone got away with murder. Now it’s time to uncover the truth . . .

Overall Recommendation:

Nothing More to Tell is a solid enough standalone mystery – if you haven’t read any of Karen M. McManus’ other stories. The mystery itself was intriguing (death of a teacher *gasp*) but the pacing felt a little off as we focused more on Brynn and Tripp’s history and individual struggles. There was also nothing particularly outstanding about either protagonist. Ultimately, this is a fine mystery to read, relatively, but one that unfortunately is not super memorable.

The world of Karen McManus’ mysteries have expanded with Nothing More to Tell, a story about true crime reporting that cheekily alludes to all the other mysteries she’s written prior to this one. While the alternating POVs are characteristic of her writing, I felt at the end of the day the mystery to have been lacking that extra something that usually drive her stories home for me.

Brynn is an enthusiastic journalist who wants to continue hard in this field after a little setback at her old school. Moving back to her hometown provides her that opportunity to prove herself – even if it means spying and reporting on her old friend and classmates for a murder story that took place before she left town. I wanted to like Brynn more but her voice wasn’t particularly unique and she felt like any girl who has something to prove and the drive to do it at any cost. I wasn’t particularly led to be more sympathetic to her. At most, I felt a slight intrigue but her choices and ensuing consequences were mostly on her.

Who I disliked more were the kids who had found Mr. Larkin, the teacher who was murdered and the focus of Brynn’s story. Shane, the adopted kid who lucked out when he was young and was taken in by a rich couple and now owns the school like he’s something. His girlfriend, Charlotte, the definition of a clingy girlfriend who doesn’t seem to have a thought beyond being with the boy she loves all the time. And finally, Tripp. Okay, I don’t dislike Tripp but the other two are definitely problematic in their own ways.

As the first witnesses to their teacher’s still-warm body, they’re all viable suspects, or just dumb kids standing in the wrong place, wrong time. Frankly, I felt this mystery wasn’t as fleshed out as I anticipated. Maybe I’m too used to strange and crazy spins from McManus that the bar is set too high by her own previous works. When the mystery went in circles for whodunnit, I wasn’t even sure we’d get a straight answer at the end. (Thankfully we do, but at that point, I was starting to think, who the heck cares it’s *insert culprit(s)*).

Tripp’s POV was mildly more interesting than Brynn’s only because we also get slow flashbacks to the afternoon of their gruesome discovery piece by SLOW piece. His hard relationships with family also made me a little more invested to see where that may go, but overall, the major mystery arc and the minor subplots regarding Brynn’s story hunting and Tripp’s traumas couldn’t hold my interest for long. The pacing was a little slow without something lurking to keep the mystery forefront.

Would I recommend Karen M. McManus to people? Always. But would I necessarily recommend this book? Hard to say. I’ll have to think on that.

P.S. who knew Tripp’s name is short for “triplet” ‘cause he’s the junior to a junior (aka both his grandad and dad have the same name as him)? Honest question: do people do that a lot still?

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