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Charms and Chocolate Chips by Bailey Cates
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You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook

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You Owe Me a Murder: 06/04/19

You Owe Me a Murder

You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook is a YA retelling of Strangers on the Train. While Patricia Highsmith wrote the novel, this retelling is more a nod to Alfred Hitchcock's film adaptation.

Kim meets Nikki at the Vancouver airport. Kim is part of a study abroad trip to London. Going along is her former best friend and her ex-boyfriend. Now the two are dating and they're going to be parading their relationship in front of Kim for the entirety of the trip.

The facts of breakup Kim vents to Nikki. And Nikki, after plying Kim with alcohol shoplifted from the duty-free, suggests that they each take care of the other's problems. Nikki will kill Connor and Kim will kill Nikki's mother.

This is the point where if you've seen the film, you can hear Bruno saying "criss-cross" in your head.

Kim loses track of Nikki at customs. Nikki gets to use the UK line and Kim cannot. Nor can she talk to her without getting in trouble with security. So she doesn't think anything more of their drunken conversation.

Until — Connor ends up dead, pushed in front of an underground train. In Hitchcock's film, Miriam's murder is shown through the reflection of her thick prescription glasses. Connor's death is done entirely through sound, put in stark contrast to his hearing aids.

Now the big difference between Strangers on a Train and You Owe Me a Murder is the countdown. Nikki only has so long to get Kim to do her bidding or to get her framed for Connor's murder if she refuses. Kim and the other students are only there for a set number of days, something each chapter reminds us with a countdown.

So while the set up is a great nod to both Highsmith and Hitchcock, the back half of the novel as well as the new setting, makes this thriller a page turner.

Eileen Cook has another book out this year, One Lie Too Many, which I will be reviewing shortly.

Five stars

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