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Stevyn Colgan – A Murder to Die For | Review

Title: A Murder to Die For

Author: Stevyn Colgan

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 334

Rating: 5*/5

 

Stevyn Colgan - A Murder to Die For

Stevyn Colgan – A Murder to Die For

 

I was super excited for this book because Mr. Colgan is a local writer and he’s even been a guest speaker at a writing workshop of mine. This release came out through Unbound, which is a pretty innovative new publisher, and so I pledged some cash to support the book in exchange for a pre-release copy, which is why I’m able to read this now and why you’ll have to wait.

Sucks to be you, ’cause this is a cracker. It’s basically a fun take on the classic cozy detective novel, and I love cozy detectives and have even written my own, which is due for release in 2018. But this takes that a step further, satirising detective novels while simultaneously being one. It gets super meta, and I liked that.

Basically, the book is about a murder that happens during a festival held each year in honour of fictitious crime writer Agnes Crabbe. Her fans flock to the small village of Nasely and dress up as her characters, attending talks and hobnobbing with the actors who play her characters on the TV adaptation. Unfortunately, in this particular year, a real-life murder takes place – and the subsequent investigation fills up the majority of the narrative. But I won’t talk about that because, you know, spoilers.

What’s great about this is that it gets the balance just right, making me laugh as a reader whilst simultaneously delivering a plot that kept me gripped until the end. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to both die-hard murder mystery fans and to people who only ever read “funnybooks. Hell, I’d recommend it to anyone, but if Agatha Christie and the other Queens of Crime are your jam then this is sure to give you the warm fuzzies. But if it is your jam, don’t eat it. It might be poisoned.

 

Stevyn Colgan

Stevyn Colgan

 

Click here to buy A Murder to Die For.

 


Robert Galbraith – The Silkworm | Review

Title: The Silkworm

Author: Robert Galbraith

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 456

Rating: 4/5

 

Robert Galbraith - The Silkworm

Robert Galbraith – The Silkworm

 

The first thing to mention is that Robert Galbraith is J. K. Rowling’s pseudonym, and so in many ways you know what you’re getting here. If you’ve read Rowling’s work before – and let’s face it, you should have – then you know that her name alone is a guarantee of a certain level of quality right from the get go. Unfortunately, in many ways, that acts against her – it sets expectations high, and it also biases the reader before they get started. I suspect that that’s why she started using her pseudonym in the first place.

With that out of the way, we can start to talk about the story line. This book is the second of three that follows the adventures of private detective Cormoran Strike, and while I managed to read the three of them out of order, it doesn’t necessarily matter. Sure, the story of Strike’s life follows from one book to another, but seeing as the man is pretty much consumed by his work, it’s only a minor detail.

In this book, Strike – and his assistant, Robin – are recruited to investigate the disappearance of a writer called Owen Quine, who’s managed to offend almost the entire literary world with his constant shenanigans. Quine was gearing up to release a new novel and disappeared just when he was due to release it, and his long-suffering wife asks Strike and Robin to investigate his disappearance.

 

J. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling

 

And then Quine is found dead. Personally, I’d call that a spoiler because it doesn’t happen until about a third of the way through the book, but it’s revealed on the rear cover and so I guess I can say it. That annoyed me – it basically made me feel as though the first chunk of the novel was really just a long rehash of what was on the rear cover, and I was impatient for the body to be discovered so that I could find out what happened next.

It was also a little too meta for my preference – in writing about Quine, Rowling herself took the chance to take a few shots at the industry, and I’ve always felt a little bit weird about it when writers write about writers. Stephen King does it all of the time, to the point at which it starts to feel cliche or self-indulgent, but he also usually pulls it off and Rowling/Galbraith did it here, too.

Overall then, this is a very respectable crime novel and certainly worth a 4/5. However, I also thought it was the weakest in the trilogy, and not as good as some of the other books on the market.

 

J. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling

 

Click here to buy The Silkworm.

 


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