Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano
Published March 25th, 2014 by Kathy Dawson Books
Goodreads link: (click here)
What's it about?
Nearly Boswell lives in a trailer park with her mother, who is an exotic dancer. She wears thrift store clothing and often goes hungry. Her only ticket out of this rough life is the hope of winning a prestigious scholarship. This is the only way she would be able to afford college since her father left them penniless and hopeless so many years ago. All she has to do is keep her head down, study and fulfill the requirements to qualify for the scholarship, one of which is to tutor other students. This seems easy enough, but unfortunately, her messed up life is getting in the way of her studies, one of her closest friends happens to be is her biggest academic competition and the students she's tutoring are turning up dead. Nearly also has an obsession with the personal ads because she believes that her father will one day try to send her a message, but lately, the only messages she's receiving are from a cold-blooded killer. Someone is leaving her complicated clues involving math and science about the murders, taunting her and challenging her to stop them from happening. Whoever the killer is, he or she is smart and knows a lot about Nearly, but she has no idea why she's being targeted. In order to protect her friends, she tries to keep this as much a secret as she can while she works on solving the mystery. When Reece, the smolderingly hot new guy at school - fresh from his stint in juvie, is assigned to her as a mentee, the two end up helping each other in more ways than they expected. Nearly doesn't want him to be the next victim, so they work together to catch this killer. Reece is the perfect person to help her since he's working undercover with the police. It's too bad they have him doing surveilance on Nearly, who they believe is a suspect. As they grow closer, they begin to trust each other more, but should they? Everyone is a suspect and everyone has secrets, especially Nearly. Her biggest secret is that she can "taste" peoples emotions when she touches them. This has caused her to withdraw from people in the past, but this gift just may be what saves her life. It's a race against time to stop a murderer's sick game, because losing the game means that the body count will rise.
WOW! This is a fantastic, smart, edge of your seat mystery/thriller/romance that will keep you guessing until the very end. I was sucked in immediately and enjoyed following the clues and guessing (always wrong) who-done-it and why. It really keeps you thinking while you're reading it. The plot was tightly woven and the writing is exceptional. It was a clever mystery that left me guessing, second guessing, third guessing, yes, lots of guessing (and still wrong). I loved that there was a paranormal element to the story but it wasn't overwhelming and didn't dominate the book, it merely added additional depth to the story. The mystery and the well developed cast of characters were the true stars. I'm very impressed by this book and I look forward to devouring anything else Elle Cosimano writes.
Other books to read if Nearly Gone sounds good:
The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting
Touch series by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Dream Catcher series by Lisa McMann
(Released in an omnibus with all three books under the title Don't Close Your Eyes)