Hawked as a must-read of word nerds and amateur lexicographers, this novel tells the story of a mystery uncovered by two employees of a dictionary publisher. The main character is Billy Webb, fresh out of college and just starting a job at Samuelson Dictionary. A flirtatious friendship develops between Billy and fellow editorial assistant Mona when they stumble across citations in the dictionary's files that appear to have been written by an employee about a possibly true grisly event.
It wasn't a bad book, per se, but it definitely was a let-down. A significant chunk of the writing takes the form of dialogue, which doesn't do much to help flesh out the underdeveloped characters. Arsenault's attempts to foreshadow Billy's health concerns were kind of awkward and wedged into the story about halfway through, as though it were an afterthought. I felt it didn't sufficiently add depth to either the character or the plot. And Billy's weird neighbors didn't serve any purpose other than to be able to tell Billy ominous things like, "Weird things happen at Samuelson." The mystery itself didn't keep me wondering what was going to happen. Not that it was too easy to figure out -- I just didn't care. The clues were way too vague and I often felt that Billy and Mona were reading way too much into them.
Overall, I felt this book had a lot of potential but that Arsenault is ultimately too much of a novice to really deliver a genuinely intriguing mystery.