Book Review: Confessions of A Murder Suspect, by James Patterson

confessions_murder_suspectJames Patterson is one of my favorite authors, and since he’s also one of the world’s highest paid authors, clearly others share this opinion.  When I saw his latest collaboration with Maxine Paetro, Confessions of A Murder Suspect, I knew I had to read it.

The basic premise of the story is the investigation of the apparent murders of Malcolm and Maud Angel. The Angels are a very powerful family, heading up a huge pharmaceutical company and hedge funds, and it would seem that the list of suspects would be huge. The cops however, narrow the list done to one of the couple’s children given that their deaths occurred in a locked, extremely secure and exclusive apparent complex. Tandy Angel, one of the couple’s children, is not going to sit around and wait for the cops to conduct their investigation so she starts one of her own. Throughout the book family secrets and conspiracies arise and nothing is as it first seems. “Confession” chapters break up the main story and give us more insight into the lives of the Angels.

I personally have mixed feelings about this book. When I was reading it, I was fully engrossed and it kept me turning pages… after I had finished, however, I wasn’t quite so sure anymore. A lot of what makes the story so interesting is the many mysteries that the plot centers on, and once the secrets are revealed, the story loses something. It’s not that the answers to the many questions are underwhelming or unbelievable exactly– they just weren’t what I thought, and a lot of it wasn’t really justified in my mind.

The thing that I had the biggest problem with in this book was the final “who done it” explanation. Without giving anything away, suffice it to say that knowing all of the information about Malcom and Maud that is revealed by that point in the book, it doesn’t seem well justified that their deaths occurred in the way that they did. It was mainly the way that Malcom’s death occurred that bothered me- Maud’s was fairly well explained- but I just can’t fathom why Malcom’s death occurred the way that it did, knowing all of the information about Maud.

On the flip side, I think that the book’s strongest point is the careful balancing of several plots lines. While the main focus is the murder investigation, there are several other mysterious that are expertly tied into the main plot. I loved the many family secrets that the Angel family contained and never felt bored.

Another of the book’s strong features are the “Confession” chapters. They’re a unique way to add more information to the story that wouldn’t have necessarily been easily tied into the story if it was written in the traditional chapter format. There are just enough of these to add something extra to the plot without drowning it out.

When the book ended I was mostly satisfied with the way that things were wrapped up and most of my questions had been put to rest. That being said, room was left open for a sequel, which will hopefully fill in any reaming gaps and extend the story of the Angel family.

-Angela J., 12th grade

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