Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jenn's Review: Confessions of a Murder Suspect

Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Series: Confessions #1
Publication Date: September 24, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 372
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  YA psychological thriller,crime
Rating: 5.0
Bottom Line: A too-delicious-to-put-down tale of society sociopaths...
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab it!
Blurb:  James Patterson returns to the genre that made him famous with a thrilling teen detective series about the mysterious and magnificently wealthy Angel family... and the dark secrets they're keeping from one another.

On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, Tandy Angel knows just three things: She was the last person to see her parents alive. The police have no suspects besides Tandy and her three siblings. She can't trust anyone -— maybe not even herself. 

Having grown up under Malcolm and Maud's intense perfectionist demands, no child comes away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to clear the family name, but digging deeper into her powerful parents' affairs is a dangerous -- and revealing -- game. Who knows what the Angels are truly capable of?

Review:  I have a love-hate relationship with James Patterson's novels.  When I love him most, however, is when he is collaborating with Maxine Paetro which is what made me so willing to try this YA mystery series. Apparently, readers either love or hate this book.  I was blown away.  Never have I imagined such an incredible psychological thriller... or a family of such captivating sociopaths.

Perhaps thriller is the wrong word.  The entire novel is a study in psychology.  Brilliant children from brilliant parents are pushed to the extreme and disciplined to the extreme ~are they sociopaths by nature or nurture, or something else entirely?  The Angel's methods are extreme and their discipline harsh, but here's the thing:  I understand it.  I'm not saying I agree with it, but I understand it's origin.  Before my daughter was born, my husband and I always joked, 'your child, your science experiment,' but the Angel family takes that theory to a terrifying level in practice.

Tandy is genuine, honest, and direct, of course she's also not sure if she murdered her parents, but that's another matter.  Her unemotional directness makes many people uncomfortable, some readers too I imagine.  She is upset by her parent's deaths but she's dealing with it the only way she knows how; showing no emotion, because emotions are a weakness.  However, Tandy's telling you what she knows, and confessing little secrets along the way.  (I love the way the confessions are interjected every few chapters.)  In an effort to make her devoid of emotion, some of Tandy's memories have been ...suppressed, so she may not be telling the reader everything, but she's telling what she remembers.

Tandy's main suspects, next to herself, are her remaining family members, and she is honest and analytical about them too.  Actually she has the makings of becoming a Sherlock Holmes-style detective, except for her lack of understanding of human emotions.  Because of that she runs around accusing each suspect with each new secret she uncovers, which is obviously not the best methodology.   However her perseverance does win her some answers and eventually solves the case.

I was pleased to discover this is a series.  There is so much more to discover about this family!  I am interested to see who Tandy becomes once some of her emotions are returned to her -will she still choose to contain them?  What other family mysteries will she unravel?  What will become of her siblings?  I know I will be moving on to Confessions: The Private School Murders quite soon...



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