The Suicide House begins with a horrifying murder of two high school students at a private prep school during a secret club initiation test. The murderer is quickly identified and throws himself in front of a train, surviving, but surviving with severe brain damage. However, since then three of the students who were part of the group of students involved in the initiation have killed themselves by throwing themselves in front of that same train in the same place.
This draws a celebrity podcaster who invites Lane Phillips to help him investigate as an expert profiler. He tempts his partner, Rory Moore, a forensic reconstructionist to help and she cannot help but be drawn by the three suicides. They soon find reasons to believe there is more to the story, including an attack on the podcaster that kills him and nearly killed Lane. There is also another reporter/podcaster who is closer to the truth than she knows.
The Suicide House was the first book by Charlie Donlea I have read, an oversight I will work to address. It is the second book with Lane Phillips and Rory Moore, but newcomers to the series are not going to be lost nor will people who read the first be bored by rehashing old information. Donlea creates a story that stands alone while seamlessly meshing with not just a first book with this partnership but with other books featuring characters who provide cameos. Reading this, I never felt like I was missing something essential from other books, but I enjoyed the author’s note at the end pointing out who came from what previous books as it gave me a list of books to hunt down.
This was a fair mystery. There is no secret information. In fact, at times we are privy to the killer’s actions and the story of what happened that night and the investigators are not. That does not privilege us, though, since there are enough red herrings for red herring chowder. The way it comes together, I was not surprised by the solution, but really only twigging to the right answer only a page or two ahead of the final discovery. That makes for great suspense.
I received an e-galley of The Suicide House from the publisher through NetGalley.