Happy Thursday! Time for catching up on the reviews of the week.
Thanks to Atria Books for the free copy in exchange for my honest review
THE APPEAL – Janice Hallett (Releasing January 25th, 2022)
This murder mystery follows a community rallying around a sick child—but when escalating lies lead to a dead body, everyone is a suspect.
The Fairway Players, a local theatre group, is in the midst of rehearsals for an Arthur Miller play, when tragedy strikes the family of director Martin Haywood and his wife Helen, the play’s star. Their young granddaughter has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and with an experimental treatment costing a tremendous sum, their fellow castmates rally to raise the money to give her a chance at survival.
But not everybody is convinced of the experimental treatment’s efficacy—nor of the good intentions of those involved. New actress Sam, a former NGO worker, raises doubts. But are her suspicions justified? Or does she have a history with the doctor involved? As tension grows within the community, things come to a shocking head the night of the dress rehearsal. The next day, a dead body is found, and soon, an arrest is made. In the run-up to the trial, two young lawyers sift through the material—emails, messages, letters—with a growing suspicion that a killer may still be on the loose.
A wholly modern take on the epistolary novel, The Appeal is a debut perfect for fans of Richard Osman and Lucy Foley.
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
I was really apprehensive when starting this book and that is solely because of the format. This won’t work for all readers but I think it’s worth giving a shot! THE APPEAL is a uniquely written thriller where you find yourself completely immersed in the mystery in a whole new way. You almost feel like one of the investigators as everything is laid out in front of you. Make sure to pay close attention otherwise you’ll miss those tiny clues that can change everything. I think this format kept me far more engaged in the book and I really enjoyed that!
While there is a large cast of characters we do get a cheat sheet of sorts a couple of times in the book and that really helped. I could definitely see this formatting going very wrong if not executed properly. Well done to Hallett and I’ll look for more from her in the future.
Great review! I really appreciated the objective opinion, and I’m really interested in your opinion. I read the appeal recently and found it a very easy, engaging read and I agree that the epistolary nature made it really fun. The characters were surprisingly strong just from emails messages. I also solved the broad mystery relatively early on! However I had a few issues – find them in my review here 😊 https://hundredsandthousandsofbooks.blog/2022/11/01/the-future-of-murder-mystery-the-appeal-review/