"I wanted to hear the voices that, during my years of schooling, had always felt absent from everything..."
THE SINGER RIDDLE
17-year-old VZ Brown likes being Easy VZ, the guy who holds it together with Ed and Jack, his irritating best friends. Ed, obsessed with video games, and Jack, always turned up about bringing the system down. But it’s been three months since Ed was killed by a deluded white man, and VZ feels anything but easy. Phillip Singer, the man who shot Ed, has been found dead. And the story of Ed’s death is going viral all over again. VZ works hard to ignore the hype. He’s focused on keeping his final promise to Ed by finishing the video game he was making when he died. And Diamond, the girl he’s desperate to be with, is helping him. For the first time in a while, VZ has a shot at feeling better. 

Until Jack gets arrested for Singer’s murder.

Singer was never charged for killing Ed. When that decision was announced, people filled the streets of Brooklyn, demanding that Singer be held accountable. People like Jack, who blasted his anger at the cops and courts all over social media. Who now seems to have lied about where he was the night Singer was killed. And who’s suddenly disappeared and won’t tell anyone, not even VZ, where he is. 

Everywhere VZ turns, evidence points to Jack having killed Singer. At the same time, it’s clear that the police investigation is less than thorough. What if the cops are pre-judging Jack, taking the easy way out? VZ can’t bear to lose another friend to bias or hate. He needs to know the truth.

And then there’s the game. Dragons and mutants aren’t VZ’s style, and he can’t wrap his head around the game’s problem-solving logic – or its gross Ed-jokes, either. Yet, as he moves through the game’s puzzles, he picks up skills that come in handy in a murder investigation. Turns out, Phillip Singer had a pretty shady life, full of leads that the cops aren’t following. He also had a step-daughter. Pink-haired, pissed-off Junie is done with people being in her business because of what her step-dad did. But VZ soon realizes she holds the key to what he both wants and dreads more than anything: the truth about what happened on the night Ed was killed.

Facing the truth about Ed’s death feels like it could break VZ. To make matters worse, the question of Jack’s guilt or innocence is driving a wedge between him and Diamond. And as the details of Singer’s death reveal themselves under his newly penetrating eyes, he discovers that the truth doesn’t always set you free. Instead, it comes with a lot of responsibility. 

Now that he’s chased down the facts, will he trust the system that let Singer go free for killing Ed? Or is it time to take matters into his own hands? In the end, he will have to rely on his own deepest instincts, even if they go against what he thought he wanted most.