Published: 1st Jan 2012
Publisher: Arrow (Young)
Genre: YA Mystery
Synopsis taken from Goodreads:
On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, their daughter, Tandy, knows just three things: 1. She was one of the last people to see her parents alive. 2. She and her brothers are the only suspects. 3. She can’t trust anyone – maybe not even herself. Having grown up under their parents’ intense perfectionist demands, none of the Angel children have come away undamaged.
Tandy decides that she will have to solve the crime on her own, but digging deeper into her powerful parents’ affairs is a dangerous game. As she uncovers haunting secrets and slowly begins to remember flashes of disturbing past events buried in her memory, Tandy is forced to ask: What is the Angel family truly capable of?
I picked this book up on a whim, spotting it on the shelf in the library. I have never read a book by James Patterson, so thought I’d give this one a go.
Firstly, this book is odd. I have taken a while to write this review purely because I have found it difficult to bring together my thoughts.
The writing style is very easy to read (maybe a little too easy?) and the short, punchy chapters help to move the plot along. I found myself want to read ‘just one more chapter’ each time, being only 4 pages or so each. The plot takes a while to really get going, but I did feel satisfied with how it progressed.
Although the novel deals with a double murder first and foremost, it also delves deeper into the trials and tribulations of life with the Angel family. The family are high flying, wealthy citizens. There are four living children (an older sister died a few years ago), all with their own talents and flaws. Therefore there are many suspects in the case of Maud & Malcolm’s murder, including all four Angel children. The story explores all the different options and I enjoyed making up my own theories, trying to guess who did it based on a possible motive. The ending didn’t actually come as much of a surprise – I was a little disappointed in it, considering the build up beforehand. Looking back it makes perfect sense and I cannot believe I didn’t see it coming! The book did well to lead me on a completely different path.
The novel is narrated by Tandy – a high-flying, smart girl who tries to play detective. I really enjoyed how she spoke to me, the reader. It was very personal, addressed to me I felt like I got to know her character better. I trusted her, she was more reliable. I understood her more than I ever would have because of this, she is somewhat ‘different’. Her full name – Tandoori – I mean, come on?!
The family are somewhat….how can I say it? Special? Their parents, Maud & Malcolm have extremely high expectations of all their children, each having their own special skill or talent. They administer severe punishments also known as ‘Big Chops’. One involved Tandy standing on her head, reciting landmarks in Bhutan. In the Dzongha national language —- exactly. Severe! The other siblings are talented, intelligent, mature and a little robotic. I really didn’t know who had committed the crime – each one of them could have easily done it.
A variety of characters, mixed with unusual family dynamics, suspense and mystery created a quick page turner. I enjoyed this one in the end and will probably pick up the second instalment, at some point.