The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious #3) by Maureen Johnson

Published January 21st 2020 by Katherine Tegen Books


Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph . . .

She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century.

At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers.

Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer.

In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.

New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson delivers the witty and pulse-pounding conclusion to the Truly Devious series as Stevie Bell solves the mystery that has haunted Ellingham Academy for over 75 years.

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Before I start this review I want to say that I have no excuses for my behavior. Back in January when the book was out, I was so excited to finally put my hands on it, I was eager and ready to dive back into the world of mystery and riddles. And I did until the moment I betrayed this book by abandoning it for a month. My point is, when you have a very anticipated book on your shelf and you ignore it (for a guy) then maybe you need to put your priorities straight. Especially, when at the end of the day, the book was worth more than the reason you were ignoring it.

Now that my confession is out and the heavy weight is off my chest I can finally start writing down my thoughts on The Hand on the Wall. The way The Vanishing Stair ended with a lot of exclamation marks and that tortures but pleasant feeling of knowing that you will have to wait one year before the grand finale, well, to say the least, I had very big expectations from part 3. In the grand scheme of things, the story delivered what it promised but perhaps with a little spoon of salt that spoiled just a tiny bit of sweetness of the finale.

The mystery part, hands down, is the best. The way past and present intertwined and opened bit by bit the whole picture was fascinating to follow. The eve- present feeling of something elusive, that’s on the stairs but not exactly visible, kept my attention starting from book 1 until the very end of book 3. Maureen Johnosn knows for sure how to delight a Nancy Drew fan!

On the other hand, the characters in this part felt a little bit blank. As much as I liked Stevie and the team, even David who was a kind of my type of bookish bad boy (until the moment I realized douchbags in real life suck) – all of them felt like a template I’ve seen and read before. The culprit was quite disappointing as wellI. I don’t believe I would like anyone of them if not for the cover of the exciting murder mystery.

The overall picture is very nice and positive; I enjoyed The Hand on the Wall immensely, especially after a long reading hiatus, but I wish I had the same excitement I felt about Truly Devious and The Vanishing Stair.

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