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Suspect Hardcover – October 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–9—Jen's mother disappeared when Jen was a toddler but Grandma Kay is convinced that Ellen was murdered. While working at her grandmother's bed-and-breakfast for the summer, 17-year-old Jen must play a part in the annual murder mystery weekend. However, she gets more than she bargained for as she comes to the realization that the plot is alarmingly similar to her mother's disappearance. Taking on the role of Ellen and playing the victim, Jen is surrounded by people from her mother's past. Through the course of the mystery, she begins to piece together clues about what really happened. The characters are likable enough but hardly memorable. The mystery, while somewhat interesting, is wrapped up much too neatly in the last few pages and is not much of a surprise. Still, the book has wholesome characters and an innocent love story.—Jessie Spalding, Tempe Public Library, AZ
(c) Copyright 2011.  Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

It’s “Mystery Weekend” at Grandma Kay’s elegant Schoenhaus, the bed and breakfast where Jen is working for the summer. Fourteen years have passed since her mother Ellen’s unexplained disappearance, and yet the campy weekend theatrics trigger painful plot comparisons and unanswered questions about Ellen’s plight. Does the intricate role-playing somehow mirror the true crime, if the disappearance was indeed crime related? Moreover, is the domineering Kay artfully directing the farce to try to expose clues and possible witnesses in the actual cold case? Jen labors under a heavy emotional burden as she confronts the loss of her mother and tries to sort out details relating to years of letters in the mail, supposedly from Ellen. Now, something else has just arrived as a gift—her mother’s ring. Mystery fans will root for Jen and speculate away as they try to figure out what really happened in this somewhat awkwardly structured coming-of-age-within-a-whodunit tale. Grades 7-10. --Anne OMalley

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 670L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers; 1 edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561455431
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561455430
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,997,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kristin Wolden Nitz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but grew up in Duluth. Since graduating with a degree in electrical engineering from Michigan Tech, she has moved more than ten times. One of the moves took her to Merano, Italy, a town in the Italian alps that's halfway between Verona and Innsbruck both culturally and geographically. Merano is the setting for her her first middle grade novel, DEFENDING IRENE. The book features an American girl playing on an Italian boys' soccer team. Ms. Nitz's second novel, SAVING THE GRIFFIN, which is also set in Italy, was a nominee for the 2009/10 Kentucky Bluegrass Award and Georgia Book Award. Her yong adult mystery SUSPECT was nominated to YALSA's Best Fiction for young adults list. It was also selected to the Kansas Reading Circle, The Society of School Librarians International Best Books, and the Keystone State Reading Association YA book award. You can read more about Kristin Wolden Nitz at her blog:

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LAS Reviewer on October 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Jen's mother left her when she was very young. No one knew where she went or why, but Jen wanted to believe she was still alive. After all, she still sent her letters and presents for a long time. She couldn't be dead, could she?

Ms. Nite's characters are very realistic. They have all the idiosyncrasies of people here in the real world - there are different beliefs about Ellen being missing, and Jen's boyfriend has just broken up with her.

The author picks a unique setting for her mystery: Schoenhaus, a Victorian bed-and-breakfast that belongs to Jen's grandmother. Then she adds one more fascinating component to the story: a Mystery Weekend with handpicked guests. This combination works very well and adds a sense of mystery woven within mystery because you can't be sure who is just playing their part and who might very well be a killer. The romantic love interest in the book adds a little spice while you wonder just who Jen is going to choose.

The story moves well, keeps you reading and has a complex plot that doesn't give away any answers until the very end. I enjoy reading mysteries that have a well thought out plot, and this one delivered. The clues are slow to come and you aren't really sure what they are telling you. And when Jen plays the part of her mother on the mystery weekend, the suspense kicks up a notch. If her mother is dead, is the killer someone she knows? Is the killer there that night?

This well written mystery has a strong female character in Jen, and while it reads fast because it's fun to read, you'll be pleased you took the time to check it out. Let me know if you figure out the plot before the ending, because I sure didn't.

Originally posted at: [...]
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By Elles on June 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover
There are many characters to keep track of in Kristin Wolden Nitz's mystery "Suspect," but the size of the crowd makes it more difficult to guess who the villain is. This is a fun and interesting mystery with a likable protagonist. I would definitely read about mystery by this author.
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By A. Bond on December 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a fun read and a great mystery. The characters draw you in and the plot keeps you turning the page. Bravo to Ms. Nitz!
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