From the author of Suddenly a Murder comes a smart, twisty whodunnit—set on one very unique school campus, and filled with love, betrayal, and deadly secrets. Perfect for fans of Karen McManus and Maureen Johnson.

by Lauren Muñoz
Penguin Random House, May 2025
(via Writers House)

The dead body should have been fake. It wasn’t.

Dulce Castillo is determined to win the murder mystery game her crime and criminology magnet school stages every fall. Last year’s loss to her ex-best friend’s team wasn’t only humiliating; it kept her from winning the $60,000 prize money she and her dad need to keep living in the town she loves. But Dulce is sure this year will be different because she and her friend Emi have a secret weapon: Zane, the new transfer student, who somehow knows everything about forensics.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s as cute as ten puppies wearing bunny ears.

The school’s golden boy, Xavier Torres, is chosen to play the victim. Unfortunately, someone wants Xavier dead for real. When he’s found murdered in the school greenhouse, the primary suspect is his girlfriend, Sierra. She swears she’s being railroaded by the sheriff, but the evidence against her is overwhelming: It shows that she stabbed Xavier with a poison-tipped knitting needle because he dumped her when he found out she was having a fling with his brother.

Sierra begs Dulce for help clearing her name, but Dulce refuses. After all, this is the same ex-bff who lied about why Dulce’s mom died in a car wreck three years ago. But when the prize committee decides to offer up the $60,000 to whoever solves Xavier’s real murder, Dulce has no choice but to throw her monocle in the ring. When she finds evidence that Sierra might be innocent and that someone she cares about might be guilty, Dulce has to determine whether justice is more important than love.

Lauren Muñoz is a writer, lawyer, and former teacher living in Southern California. She received her J.D. from Northwestern University in Chicago, where she frequently skipped class to commune with her sun lamp. When she’s not reading, she can be found knitting, crocheting, and collecting recipes for things she’ll never bake.

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