Killer content by Kiley Roache

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The world of young US social media megastars and influencers, utilising Tik-tok and Instagram to create a name, image and wealth is the setting for this youth-centric drama. Step aside Kardashians! The six teenagers who are at the centre of the drama are all highly successful as creators of content for Tik-tok and other media platforms. Their huge number of followers makes them valuable marketing tools used by organisations willing to pay big dollars for product placement in their online videos. In this vacuous world of wealth, image and partying there is competition to be the most watched. Amongst the six teens (four girls and two guys) who are part of an influencer cooperative-collection living together in a spectacular mansion, there is also romance and rivalry. When their persistent and prolific posting is disrupted by a murder, they are all under suspicion.

The prologue to this story immediately tells us that one of the teens is arrested, but the rest of the story reveals the perspectives of all the characters before and after the murder. Slowly suspects are revealed, and pieces of evidence disclosed, but always the mystery and tension are being tightened before the big reveal. The police in the story do not live in the Insta-world and their inability to understand the language and behaviour of influencer culture comes across as amusing. There is a subtle critique of some of the Tik-tok and social media culture, but it is also implied that it is a powerful youth force. This story feels like it could be inspiration for a TV teen drama and will be enjoyed in the YA world because the social media world is their second home. It is a compelling story and will be enjoyed by readers aged 15+.

Themes: Murder mystery, Social media, Influencers, Wealth, Image, LGBTIQ.

Carolyn Hull