The Appeal – Janice Hallett

Published By: Viper
Pages: 464
Date Published: 01/07/2021
Date Read: 27/07/2021

Dear Reader,
Enclosed are documents relating to the events surrounding the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons, and the tragic death of one of its members. Another member is currently in prison for the crime. We have reason to suspect that they are innocent, and that there were far darker secrets that have yet to be revealed.
We believe that the killer has given themselves away. It’s there in writing, hidden in the emails, texts, and letters. Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth? Do you dare?

Contains plot spoilers

I found myself simultaneously enjoying this and fully understanding the plot, and at the same time not being able to explain what was actually going on. It was definitely a plot that you had to think about, rather than the author simply telling you what was happening. It is essentially a murder mystery, but by half way through, a murder hadn’t actually taken place.

It is written in the form of conversations, emails, texts, statements, notes, phone transcripts, and police records. You find yourself developing the story and the potential suspects’ stories at the pace of the police officers, which is a novel twist on the classic murder mystery genre.

There are definite nods to Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” with the sheer amount of suspects, but I found it easier to keep on top of them in this than I did with Christie. I’ve tried writing my own Murder mysteries and I find it almost impossible to keep on top of everyone and everything, so bravo to Janice for perfectly balancing it all.

I know I put a spoiler warning at the start of this review, but that was more for minor spoilers, which is why I’m not going to go into the twist and the “oh wow” moment about 3/4 of the way through, other than…oh wow. I didn’t always know where the book was going, but there’s a moment – you’ll know when you reach it – where things start to fall into place and you’re suddenly thrust into the crux of the police investigation. At no point did I guess the correct identity of the murderer – the red herrings definitely did their jobs.

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