One by One by Yawatta Hosby is a murder mystery which begins with a familiar setting. A three- day fun weekend at the beach has been slightly altered to a three-day weekend at a cabin. There is a familiar plot once the first murder takes place. Readers can anticipate more murders will take place. The answers to two questions are important. Who is the murderer that took the life of the first victim? How many more murders will take place before the murderer is found and whoever is left will be able to return to a normal life? With setting and plot taken care of, we can move on to characters. The are many. The characters can be difficult to keep in mind as the story moves quickly as far as relationships with the murders (yep, there is more than one) serving as punctuation points. I may have gotten the characters sorted out by about the 20% point of the novel It took work. Here are notable points of the characters.
Kenan ***** Kenan is a significant brother figure to Rae. He feels it his duty to take care of her ever since the murder of their parents ten years previously. It was a brutal murder/torture scenario that took place in front of Kenan and Rae. It included multiple rapes of Rae. At the time of this trip, Kenan and Rae do not live together.
Rae ***** Rae has a lot of triggers that bring back memories. She takes lots of medication and tends to wander away mentally when she is responding to the triggers. She was willing to go on the three-day weekend when the group was planning to go to the beach. Somehow, the destination got changed to the cabin where the murders and rape had taken place. Readers might logically wonder, what was Kenan thinking?
RL ***** Forget RL. The author will not develop this character. Justifiably represented by two initials, the real estate agent exists as an excuse to justify why Kenan convinces Rae to return to the cabin. The group will have a pleasant weekend, RL will show up, the brother and sister will sign the deed, and the cabin will no longer be in possession of Kenan and Rae.
Naomi ***** Rae’s best friend is Naomi even though Naomi is a self-absorbed person. Suggest any topic, Naomi will make it about her. There has been a shouting match between Naomi and Rae before going to the cabin. Even when Kenan convinces Rae to return to the cabin with the group, Rae maintains she doesn’t want to go if Naomi is going. Kenan will suggest a solution.
Tobey ***** Kenan’s best friend is Tobey. Tobey and Naomi had been together for two years. This three-day weekend would also serve as an anniversary for Tobey and Naomi.
Adam ***** First known as “Creepy Boy,” in fact named Adam, he is a stranger picked up on impulse by Marissa. Think of this guy like a hitchhiker. Whether he was lucky to go with the flow on this trip will be a decision that readers can make.
Brady ***** Rae and Brady had lived on the same floor in a dormitory at university. After graduation, Rae returned home to be with Kenan. Brady followed and became a core member of this group of friends.
Marissa ***** An adventuresome lady, Marissa always goes with the flow. If there is no flow, she agitates the stream to create ideal conditions. A former girlfriend of Kenan, Marissa does not believe in exclusivity, something that led to a breakup with Kenan. On this trip, she picked up Adam on impulse only a few minutes before the group was to depart for the cabin. She had her eyes on another person in the group, although not Kenan. And she was willing to entertain anyone else if time permitted.
Logan ***** Kenan’s roommate is Logan. Rae would like to advance her relationship with Logan but does not do so because of her friendship with Brady. Rae won’t develop her relationship with Brady because he is known as a flirt willing to do anyone and anything that moves. Rae is in an almost impossible situation. So is Logan.
Selma ***** Kenan’s girlfriend is Selma. She maintains jealousy towards Marissa, Kenan’s former girlfriend.
The group will proceed to the cabin in two jeeps, the solution Kenan came up with to keep Rae and Naomi from fighting. Reviewing the situation, we have nine principal characters (minus RL). There is also a Park Ranger, a figure not developed because he dies too soon. Readers might anticipate there will be shifting relationships. Will Kenan attempt to get back with Marissa. Will Marissa attempt to seduce Brady, Logan, Kenan, or Tobey? The novel is a murder mystery (not a spoiler), so relationships will begin to change once a murder takes place.
This novel is fast-paced, but the number of characters might make a reader stop and review who is who more than once. Yawatta Hosby does an excellent job with what she calls her “red herrings.” The story is worth reading. I was surprised by the ending. I think there may have been more than one. One by One is not the first story I have read by Hosby, and it will not be the last. Tales I read earlier by Hosby received four stars from me. Because of the complexity involving characters, I initially gave this 4.5 stars. Then I came to the ending(s) and changed my rating to five Amazon stars.
This 147-page novel is on sale by Amazon for USD 2.99. During a promotion, I bought it for USD 0.99. It is not available on Kindle Unlimited.
I look forward to reading more from this author.