The Sixes by Kate White
Publisher: Harper-Collins Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (374 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Camellia
From the New York Times bestselling author of Hush and the Bailey Weggins mystery series comes a thriller set in a college town where a student’s death sends one woman on a search for the truth and into the clutches of a frightening secret society.
Phoebe Hall’s Manhattan life has suddenly begun to unravel. Right after her long-term boyfriend breaks off their relationship, she’s falsely accused of plagiarizing her latest bestselling celebrity biography. Looking for a quiet place to put her life back together, Phoebe jumps at the offer to teach in a sleepy Pennsylvania town at a small private college run by her former boarding school roommate and close friend, Glenda Johns.
But behind the campus’s quiet cafés and leafy maple trees lie evil happenings. The body of a female student washes up on the banks of a nearby river, and disturbing revelations begin to surface: accusations from coeds about abuses wrought by a secret society of girls on campus known as The Sixes.. To help Glenda, Phoebe embarks on a search for clues—a quest that soon raises painful memories of her own boarding school days years ago.
As the investigation heats up, Phoebe unexpectedly finds herself falling for the school’s handsome psychology professor, Duncan Shaw. But when nasty pranks turn into deadly threats, Phoebe realizes she’s in the middle of a real-life nightmare, not knowing whom she can trust and if she will even survive.
Plunging deeper into danger with every step, Phoebe knows she’s close to unmasking a killer. But with truth comes a terrifying revelation: your darkest secrets can still be uncovered . . . and starting over may be a crime punishable by death.
Gaining power at the expense of others, an age-old problem, is alive and thriving at Lyle College among students and college personnel.
Phoebe Hall, a visiting professor, is drawn into clandestine, ominous undercurrents as she gathers information about The Sixes to help her friend Glenda Johns, president at Lyle College. Glenda had offered Phoebe a “hidey-hole” to escape her life in New York that was in shambles, so Phoebe agrees to look into a secret society that will bring back memories best forgotten.
Phoebe, a best–seller author, loves research but soon finds her “Sherlocking” has swept her into a dangerous spot. She hates the fear that comes to the fore because of her own experiences when she was in college and was one of the “others”. As she uncovers and endures some of the despicable deeds of THE SIXES, a secret girls’ group on campus, the memory of horrific things that happened to her refuse to stay buried,
The Sixes are “girl power gone wild”, “like wolves”. Their use and misuse of susceptible girls and “dorky, nerdy” boys leads to destroyed futures and even death.
Kate White, with her mesmerizing fictional story, reveals a troubling side of humanity that plagues modern society while showing how Phoebe rises like a Phoenix from the ashes of her professional and personal life to become a wiser and freer person. Phoebe’s libido, that she thought had “left the building” for good, reawakens when the handsome, mysterious Professor Duncan Shaw slips into her life.
The secondary characters with all their intrigues, secrets, hang-ups, and foibles keep Phoebe stirred-up and on the brink of hysteria much of the time, not to mention in danger of losing her life. Glenda offers the best support she can, but her husband Mark Johns, who moves with subterfuge and under radar most of the time, manages to let Phoebe know he is not happy about her being at Lyle.
Other characters like the pompous, arrogant Tom Stockton, dean of students; Val Porter, professor of women’s studies; Craig Ball, the campus security chief; the ex-chief Hutch Hutchison, take Phoebe deeper and deeper into the murky waters of life at Lyle College.
Students and former students are snags unseen on the surface but lethal in their ability to snare the unsuspecting. Blair Usher, her roommate Gwen, and Jen Imbibio, along with former students Wesley Hines, Trevor Harris, and Alexis play big roles in the unraveling of the secrets at Lyle.
This novel ripples with ominous undercurrents (full of red herrings) keeping the reader turning pages to find out just who the bad guys and the good guys really are.
Ms White uses symbolism, incredible metaphors, and a fast-paced style, bringing to life the setting and revealing the deepest emotions of the characters. She does a masterful job of weaving together a multitude of characters with personal agendas that drive them to do extreme things as they strive to reach their goals. The psychopathic and sociopathic actions of some create scary, adrenaline-pumping episodes. However, the steadfastness of true friendships and the sweet, subtle emergence of patient love that survives all the dark deeds make The Sixes sparkle with hope for the future.