Squeezing Jagger tighter against my chest, I read the words “Bloody Marley” written in bright red lipstick across the bathroom mirror. The tube of lipstick was laying haphazardly in the bathroom sink, broken and mushed.
Marley Parker, feisty college journalist turned amateur sleuth, is back in her third and final book: Redletter by Maria Sigle. Released in May, Redletter follows Marley Parker as she tries to move beyond the traumatic events of the past and start a career at WKLP News. Her first breaking news story, however, ominously foretells a tough road ahead. When the Candyman Killer appears in Greenbriar, Marley will face her biggest challenge yet.
Halloween is usually a time to celebrate in the small Midwestern town of Greenbriar, a week-long event bringing family and friends together. This Halloween, however, someone begins reenacting urban legends with gruesome results. First, a high school student dies after eating Halloween candy. Then, a woman’s body is discovered floating near a bridge with the letters “OCC” written on her back. Can Marley decipher this clue in time to prevent another murder–perhaps her own?
In Marley Parker and A Rumor of Ghosts, Marley often acted selflessly, even at great personal risk, but also relied on others for help–her sister, Jade; her father, Sheriff Tony Parker; her best friend, Fuchsia Darling; Granny Annie; and even her love interest, wealthy playboy Rob Cummings. This time, she’ll be forced to go it alone as a duo of anonymous killers target the ones she cares about the most.
According to the author, “The message I want to get across the most is her ability to always rise above and get herself out of sticky situations. She never really waits for someone else to come and save her. That’s my favorite aspect of the character–she’s not afraid of anything.”
Redletter is divided into two seasonal parts: Autumn and Winter. Autumn ends on a dark note, when Marley witnesses a brutal murder and flees for her life. In Winter, she must find the strength to recover, expose the killers, and protect her younger sister. Like Marley, you won’t know who to trust as characters’ personalities shift along with their physical appearance.
As the third book in the series, Redletter is Maria Sigle’s most mature work to date. Not only have the characters come into their own, but so has the author. The plot twists are well developed and genuinely surprising. It keeps you guessing until the end. Just when you think Marley finally has the upper hand, the cunning killers do the unexpected, creepy, and shocking.