Murder at Black Oaks is really two plots locked haphazardly together in one book.
First, there is Frank, a former prosecutor who discovers the man he sent to prison for life, Jose, is innocent. Unfortunately, his evidence cannot be used in court, so he uses his considerable wealth to get the man released with the help of his own attorney, Robin. He invites Robin, Jose, and a group of other people to his mansion. Frank is killed. Jose is suspected. Robin tries to find the killer. This part was terrific. I liked the whole Agatha Christie vibe of the “impossible” murder scene.
Unfortunately, the plot veered off quickly into the weeds with an escaped mental patient, an ancient curse, and a long-ago murder. It felt like it was added for length rather than to enhance the story. Finally, there was a rather quick resolution to the original plot.
I usually look forward to this author’s books, but Murder at Black Oaks was a disappointment. A swing and a miss at a Christiesque tale. 3 stars.
Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.