The Goodreads and iBooks preview snippets looked amazing; 20 on 10 for the guy who came up with them, but only 5 on 10 to the author for writing the book.
I’m not even going to waste my and your time briefing the novel outline; that’s readily available online. The author tries hard to pack in every element of a thrilling drama into the plot, so hard that it seems really contrived: a millionaire who’s shot dead on his wedding night, his stunningly beautiful wife who’s held as the chief suspect, a bunch of suave and ambitious lawyers playing with their personal and professional equations, a drug racket, another cold case, toggling between the present, the past, and the past of the past, and eventually throwing in an aspiring- novelist-cum- bored-law-firm receptionist who tries to shape her novelist career by writing about the unsolved murder mystery of the aforementioned millionaire 10 years after the incident happened (and actually ends up with an instant New York Times bestseller and nothing less…really???).
Confused? So was I, until I concluded too much of good stuff all flung into one plot does not necessarily make a great read, or even a good read. The main question posed in the book shouldn’t have been “Who Killed Raymond Cahill ? ” but rather “How Much Is Too Much ? ”
Coming to the whodunit part, thanks to the popularity of mystery stories, TV series and movies, these days even a ten year old knows the person who looks the nicest, the cleanest and the least suspicious of all would invariably turn out as the real killer. So, what’s the point of heaping all such qualities on a single person and basically making the person cry out loud : “Hey, I look the best and cleanest in this whole cobweb of mysteries; look at me , look at me, and PLEASE look at me until you finally agree that I’m the one who did all the killings. Oh, and BTW I’ve an uncanny ability to network with all these mutually unrelated people who could be easily exploited to carry out the killings and force the plot to look more dramatic (and boring)”.
Also, narrative style is pretty dry and matter-of-fact giving little room to the readers to emotionally connect with even a single character portrayed in the novel. No thrill, no feeling of a knot in your stomach, nothing to anticipate, just boredom setting in more and more stubbornly as your reading progresses: overall a disappointing book for me, especially because my hopes were raised so high following the book’s preview.
The only thing I liked about the book was centering a mystery spanning across years around a single photograph and reinforcing the fact that a picture is really worth a thousand words. Pictures convey silent and subtle messages no words can and the author does deserve a pat on the back for thinking about basing a murder mystery on the hidden messages encrypted in a photograph. I really wish the execution was as good as the ideation and the twists a little more unpredictable.