ARC Review: The Killing Code by Ellie Marney

Posted September 12, 2022 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 8 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review:  The Killing Code by Ellie MarneyThe Killing Code by Ellie Marney
on September 20, 2022
Genres: YA Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
My Rating: four-half-stars
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A historical mystery about a girl who risks everything to track down a vicious serial killer, for fans of The Enigma Game and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.

Virginia, 1943: World War II is raging in Europe and on the Pacific front when Kit Sutherland is recruited to help the war effort as a codebreaker at Arlington Hall, a former girls’ college now serving as the site of a secret US Signals Intelligence facility in Virginia. But Kit is soon involved in another kind of fight: Government girls are being brutally murdered in Washington DC, and when Kit stumbles onto a bloody homicide scene, she is drawn into the hunt for the killer.

To find the man responsible for the gruesome murders and bring him to justice, Kit joins forces with other female codebreakers at Arlington Hall—gossip queen Dottie Crockford, sharp-tongued intelligence maven Moya Kershaw, and cleverly resourceful Violet DuLac from the segregated codebreaking unit. But as the girls begin to work together and develop friendships—and romance—that they never expected, two things begin to come clear: the murderer they’re hunting is closing in on them…and Kit is hiding a dangerous secret.

My Review

The historical time period in this story, as well as the type of people who were featured was very interesting! It was during World War II, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t read about the women working on breaking codes, at least not in a story. There were a few details mentioned in the story that I did recognize from movies or other books about the code breakers, like Alan Turing and ENIGMA. But then there was info about Washington DC, like the area where the Pentagon was built and what it had been before they put that building there. I want to read more on that history for sure.

I really liked the mystery. I loved how the characters were code-breakers, and they used these skills that were part of their jobs to be applied to trying to solve murders of people close to them, or similar enough that they could see how they were also in danger. The author did a great job of even keeping me as the reader guessing about who it could possibly be. I had a couple different guesses, and one turned out to be right in the end, but that was after I’d been thrown off track a little bit with some of the solutions the girls came up with for the suspected perpetrator.

While this is a YA book, the characters are actually more new adult age in my opinion. Also, personally the romance was a little extra for me in that I don’t feel it necessarily added that much to the story. I get that it adds the little extra with LGBTQ characters. And maybe gave a little more reason for them to connect? It just at times seemed thrown in and not crucial for the storyline or even the character’s growth. As I’ve mentioned before, third person isn’t always my favorite way to tell a story. However this story did use that in a way that we were able to kind of get the story from more than just Kit’s viewpoint at times.

In the end I liked the story enough that I’ll be adding it to my school library as well as recommending it for my state school library association’s reader award nominees for the future.

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8 responses to “ARC Review: The Killing Code by Ellie Marney

    • Lisa Mandina

      It was interesting how the author had them relate the mystery solving to the methods they used for codebreaking.

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