The Perfect Place to Die

Sourcebooks/Fire. Aug. 2021. 384p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781728229119.
Gr 8 Up–A thrilling historical novel set during the Chicago World’s Fair. Zuretta and Ruby are sisters living in Utah with their mother and abusive father. After seeing terrible bruises on Zuretta, Ruby decides they need to leave home for good. Zuretta chooses to stay for her mother, and Ruby goes off on her own. Ruby consistently writes to her sister about her adventures and her new job as a maid, but suddenly letters back stop coming. Zuretta is afraid something terrible happened to Ruby, so she travels to Chicago to find her. With some help from new friends and months of searching, Zuretta gets a job as a maid at a hotel called the Castle, a place she discovers her sister was working before her disappearance. Unbeknownst to Zuretta, she’s hot on the trail of one of the world’s most infamous serial killers. This story takes time to build, but readers who stick around will not be disappointed. Zuretta is a determined young woman who continues her search regardless of the many male characters who doubt her. While this story is historical, this trait is still important for readers to observe. The vocabulary and dialogue fit with the time period, although younger teens may need help defining some words or phrases. True crime buffs will appreciate the passages at the beginning of each chapter, which are excerpts from serial killer H.H. Holmes’ published confession. Race of characters is not mentioned.
VERDICT Purchase where true crime and horror fiction circulate well.

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