Guess Who is a mash-up of Saw and The Game, where nothing is what it appears.
Sheppard, a famous true crime television detective, wakes up handcuffed to the bed in a hotel room. He remembers nothing of how he arrived there. With him are five strangers: Mandy, Alan, Ryan, Constance and a nameless teenage girl wearing headphones. Worse, there is a dead body in the bathroom.
A mysterious horse-masked man appears on the television. He gives Sheppard three hours to determine which of the room’s occupants is the murderer. If he fails, the hotel will be destroyed.
As Sheppard investigates he realizes the game master knows more about him than is publicly known. Due to his drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms, Sheppard struggles to solve the crime.
Guess Who reads like a movie script. It alternates between the present and the immediate past. The plot including the many twists and the ultimate reveal is good. However, the point of view changes abruptly toward the end from third person limited (Sheppard) to third person omniscient. Sometimes it was difficult to determine whose underlying motives were being revealed necessitating rereading. This threw me out of the story right before the climax. Also, some of the characters motivations were too over-the-top and unbelievable. For these reasons, 3 stars.
Thanks to the publisher, Hanover Square Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: locked room mystery, Sept 18 2018
Rett and Bryn continually awaken in the apocalyptic future in the Echo Room.
Step 1: Rett wakes up in a locked metal room with no memory of how he got there. He has blood on his clothes and hands. Soon he sees Bryn, who is also locked in the room with no memory of how she got there. As they talk, they discover they are both from the government-run shelter for abandoned youth, Walling House. Rett tries to discover a way out of the room. He finds a broken lock on one door. He finds hidden doors to two other rooms. However, there is no food or water immediately available—just a bin filled with empty water bottles and another with strangely glowing green tubes. The only clue is the phrase “SCATTER 3” on one of the walls.
Step 2: Explore. Get scared. Repeat Step 1. Rett and Bryn learn a bit more with each repetition.
The mystery is intriguing. The setting in a wrecked near future world is eerily unsettling. Even though it’s marketed as young adult science fiction, the Echo Room works well as an adult thriller too. While the pacing slowed a bit in the middle, the plot kept the reader engaged. The book will make a great movie someday. It is perfect for fans of puzzles and intriguing situations like in the Maze Runner.
A sequel is hinted at toward the end. I’m looking forward to that book. This one deserves 4 stars.
Thanks to the publisher, Tor Teen, and NetGalley for an advance copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: apocalypse, locked room mystery, Sep 11 2018
A Gentleman’s Murder just made me a believer in reincarnation. In this case of Agatha Christie in this perfectly imagined locked room mystery set in 1924.
Eric Peterkin is a member of the prestigious Britannia Club, open to male war veterans only. When a wager ends in murder, Eric, an editor of mysteries, is first to find the body stabbed in the neck in the club’s vault. The list of suspects is long:
-Board members Norris, Aldershott, Bradshaw, Saxon and Wolfe
-“Old Faithful” Cully who works at the club’s front desk
-Detective Inspector Horotio Parker, sent to investigate the crime but also named on a medical file stolen from the dead man’s box in the club’s vault
When the Inspector steals evidence from the victim’s room, Eric decides to investigate the crime along with his occultist sidekick, Avery. Eric’s investigation leads to the victim’s wartime service in a English hospital and a missing Chinese nurse working as a maid within the hospital. It also reveals the not so hidden racism of the time for Eric’s mixed heritage from his Chinese mother.
Of course I wasn’t alive in 1924 but the setting in A Gentleman’s Murder seems pitch perfect compared to the many books I’ve read that were written back then. The mystery itself is just convoluted enough to make finding the killer a challenge but not impossible for fellow armchair detectives. It’s great fun for fans of British golden age mysteries. 5 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Inkshares, and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Jul 31 2018, locked room mystery
Who doesn’t love a locked room mystery?
Only six people were in the locked meditation room:
- Aslan, owner of The Plantation Spa and murder victim
- Julia, part-time secretary and confessed killer
- Saskia, vacationing secretary
- Paul, vacationing pharmacist
- Ann, Paul’s wife
- Ben, rich vacationer
Detective Inspector Poole investigates but doubts Julia’s confession. He insists that a single drawing pin found at the scene is significant as is the crime’s location.
Meditation on Murder is highly recommended to armchair detectives still mourning Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr’s deaths. 5 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Canelo, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: #FrugalFridays, Jun 18 2018, locked room mystery