Hitchcock gets a jolt of social justice in Milman’s ...sophomore novel. What could have been just a clever reconstruction of classic mystery conventions is elevated by wry humor and genuine emotional intensity. As a thriller, it’s twisted and engaging; as a character study, it has lingering, affecting aftershocks.
Anybody who’s ever read James Patterson will know what to expect from this kind of thriller; Derek Milman serves up the same action and breathless pacing; the difference is mostly the ten or fifteen years shaved off the protagonist (and so-energetic plying of the sunny side of the street, dating-wise), but the dirt-dumb stupidity of that protagonist stands firmly in place ... Aidan’s adventures in Milman’s handling are infectiously page-turning, despite being laughably silly ... And right from the start, characters are introduced in the stacked cliches of screenplays rather than the texture of prose ... The whole business doesn’t read much like a Young Adult novel, it must be admitted. Aidan is an adorable, bumbly teenager, yes...but virtually none of his quips or actions are in any way believable...for 17 or any other age. But then, readers - even YA readers - don’t come to books like Swipe Right for Murder for the believability. They come for the killer title, they stay for the killer roller coasters, and with any luck, they leave happy and come back for the next book.
This seventeen-year-old protagonist flirts heavily with well-wrought likability but makes enough bad decisions and exposes enough of his rough-edges to offer the reader a complex and compelling portrait of teenage life, the sort of teenage protagonist I hunger to read ... Aidan is a post-millennial gay protagonist who’s refreshingly unselfconscious about his sexuality ... he is charming, if not entirely believable in the action scenes and moments of high anxiety. It’s all kept at a jaunty distance. (This is true of many a YA novel. Perhaps by design) ... For me, the most riveting moments in this thriller were the quiet ones, where Aiden struggles with his own demons.