Monday, February 25, 2013
Title: LIAR'S CHAIR
Genre: YA Mystery
At Howard Otis Blanchard Academy, the swankiest private school in Seattle, Hammett Frye is the guy that can get you things. Need answers to the test? He’s got ‘em. A grade or two changed? Easy. Some beer for a kick-ass rager? No problem. All for a price, of course. So when geeky Marvin Willow asks Ham for some help keeping a football player the size of a bus off his back, it’s business as usual. Until Marvin is found dead at a party, hanged from a tree.
The police say suicide, and as much as Ham wants to believe it, he can’t. He may not have known Marvin well, but he knows people. Marvin wasn't the kind of guy to do that, and if he didn't kill himself, that means someone else did it. Ham was supposed to be watching out for Marvin, and he just can't let that slide.
Ham starts to look into Marvin's death, annoying pretty much everyone in the process. Marvin's sister Macy, the school principal, the cops. All of them want Ham to drop it. But as he digs deeper, he finds that Marvin pulled the thread of something nasty happening at the school. Something a lot worse than just a little underage drinking or cheating. As Ham keeps digging, and the people against him get bolder in their attempts to get him to stop, it becomes clear that Ham's chances of finishing the semester alive are slimmer than his chances of passing Chemistry.
I did it the way dealers do it. The taste is free. After that, you pay.
Not that I was a dealer. After Peter Kyle OD'd last year, I let everybody know that dealing in school was over. I didn't care about pot. Who the hell did nowadays? It was the hard stuff that would be met with a rain of destruction that would make Vesuvius look like a failed science experiment.
I could get away with statements like that.
Chem class. Last period of the day. Last day of the week. It was one of those days that grabbed you and threatened to drag you outside whether you wanted it or not. Kids sat out on the grounds chilling in what was likely the last nice weather we'd see for the rest of the year. Some were already heading toward the parking lot, escaping early. Those of us who were unlucky enough to have class last period just had to suck it up.
We had about five minutes left until class started. There were ten-minute breaks between classes. It was, according to the school handbook, "To permit students to socialize, network, and engage in lively discussions on a wide range of topics." Mostly, people just talked or tapped away on their phones. Texting, tweeting, or updating statuses. Anything but studying. And the discussion was certainly on a wide range of subjects. From who was banging who, to Hannah Stark's kick-ass rager last weekend.