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Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson

I’m not one to read books by authors who put out more than two books a year (i.e. James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Stephen King) because they’re often plot-based and low on the intellectual stimulation radar.  That being said, I finally read one of this novel-writing powerhouse-writer’s books: Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson.

Why? Because it sounded interesting, many of my middle school students were reading it, and I got a copy of the book for free from the Book Fair.

Conclusion: It was good. Wonderful? No. Fantastic? No. Kept me guessing? Yes. Fast-paced? Yes. Character driven? Kind of.

I recommend reading it if you’re a fan of Kate Brian’s two series Private and Privilege, or if you’re into middle school level books.

The Genealogist’s Guests by Ann Simpson

The Genealogist’s Guests, a paranormal mystery, by Ann Simpson is an interesting and fast-paced read.  Overall, the plot is intriguing and keeps you guessing, even though it sometimes feels like you’re reading a Soap Opera.  Elizabeth’s family has been through so much and continues to have so many evil things happen to them that you eventually guess what is going to happen next.

Simpson also does a wonderful job of weaving the past and present together in The Genealogist’s Guests. When I first started reading, I was worried that the two worlds wouldn’t seem real if they were mashed together, but when the worlds collide, they seem to make sense. This is mainly due to the fact that we learn the history of the family as the ancestors are being introduced and figure out the mystery right along with them.

Although the concept of the book and the plot work well, I wish Simpson had taken more time to flesh out her living-breathing characters.  Scenes often feel rushed, and because we often infer a character’s personality, readers need to have time to digest a character’s thoughts, actions and words. When a scene moves too fast, readers tend to forget details in the melee.

The Genealogist’s Guests is intriguing, but it could soar above mediocre if the author would look back over the work, or employ an editor, to fix the constant switches between past and present tense.  I understand that the book moves between characters from the past and present, but the switch does not need to occur in the middle of a paragraph. Actually, the switch doesn’t need to occur at all. A couple errors aren’t a problem, but I was constantly thrown out of the story due to the multiple tense switches. It seemed like the author had written the story first in one tense and then decided to change it, but didn’t catch everything.

Overall, The Genealogist’s Guests is interesting, fun, and fast-paced.  However, for a reader like me, I would have liked to slow down the action a little more to connect to the characters and suggest the work be re-edited.

The Seventh Petal

I recently got my hands on a copy of The Seventh Petal by author Ann Morven in order to review the work.  Generally, I’m asked to review poorly written works and challenged to find nice things to say about them.  With The Seventh Petal, I was pleasantly surprised.  Finding nice things to say wasn’t easy – mainly because there were so many nice things to say that I had to pick and choose what to include in my 250-word review.

The plot of The Seventh Petal centers around Sheil B. Wright (a stage name, we are frequently assured) who somehow finds herself in Scotland just as a gruesome crime has been committed.  Sheil also has the unfortunate fate of discovering the body of the local Laird and enduring several days with the motley crew stationed in his castle.  As the police race to find the killer and more people begin dropping dead, Sheil starts to uncover the mystery of the great treasure of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

While reading, I frequently thought of the great Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.  Ann Morven weaves a plot so intense and manages to create such lovely detailed characters that the 138 pages of The Seventh Petal flew by too quickly.  I’ve recently discovered that Morven has published several short crime novels with Sheil B. Wright at the helm; I plan to read them very soon.  I want to find out if her other works are just as fun to read.

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