Kiss of Death is the fourth and final book in Lauren Henderson's Scarlett Wakefield mystery series, after Kiss Me Kill Me, Kisses and Lies, and Kiss in the Dark. While the first few books focused on the bizarre death of Scarlet's first crush, Dan McAndrew, the sequels have expanded in both scope and location. When she travels to Edinburgh for a school trip, Scarlett becomes the target of a series of dangerous pranks. Unfortunately, Scarlett's suspect list keeps expanding: the friends she abandoned at her former school, Dan's surviving twin Callum McAndrew, and even her normally straightforward friend Taylor, who seems to get weirder with every attack.
Apart from a couple of painfully obvious subplots, the vast majority of Kiss of Death feels like a worthy final installment for this entertaining series. The attacks on Scarlett (which range from a drugged water bottle to a shove down a smoke-filled stairwell) don't inspire much excitement individually, but they add up to a convincingly creepy atmosphere. Better yet, this is one of the few girl-in-peril novels with a "happily ever after" ending that actually feels plausible. Scarlett is understandably freaked out by her situation, but she never feels irreparably traumatized. By Kiss of Death's final chapter, all of the books' loose ends have been tied up, teen angst has dropped to non-toxic levels, and Scarlett's dream of a normal life seems both doable and totally well-deserved.
Review based on publisher-provided copy.