The Appeal by Janice Hallett #BookReview #MysteryThriller #MurderMystery #Crime

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Wanna try your hand at being a detective?

Janice Hallett offers the reader a once in a lifetime chance to unearth the clues and secrets surrounding a community thru mails, messages, and texts and thus uncover a murderer hiding in plain sight. Now if you think, this is gonna be easy as devouring ice cream, think again, the MAZE is just beginning.

With a horde of characters and a multitude of events surrounding a family and the community of friends who are members of an amateur drama club, the mayhem explodes in all ways possible. With an unusual and quirky style of narration, Janice Hallett rocks the literary world, the only drawback is this may work for some but turn into an utterly cumbersome process for another. I felt like, troubleshooting a crisis in an office where 50 employees give a different version of the calamity that had happened with the project submission, but it is left to one or two individuals to sift thru hundreds of emails to identify the core issue.

Just like any group function, there is also the minutiae of daily life that are mentioned in the mail, the gossip, the backbiting, the favoritism, the edgy games, “you said, she said, I said” obfuscation, the malicious intent, the corruption, malpractices, the manipulation, abuse of volunteer profession, small lies that boomerang into a frenzy, there’s everything and a bit more in this one of a kind mystery thriller by Janice Hallett. And of course, Izzy, what a character, the creepiest, weirdest person, I wouldn’t wish as a friend on my greatest enemy.

Pick it up and guarantee you are going to put it down, the characters are varied, only 2 or 3 have distinctive voices, most are unlikable but stick with it until about halfway thru, and then be surprised with the mastery of the technique used by the author with panache. It is hard to write an entire novel with only emails, texts, and messages and then to top it by creating a mystery set around people who sound like you and me amidst the daily grind of life, brilliance beyond words.

5 outstanding stars.

Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Lisa Jewell, this “dazzlingly clever” (The Sunday Times, London) 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 “daring,…clever, and funny” (The Times, London) debut for fans of Richard Osman and Lucy Foley. 

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5 thoughts on “The Appeal by Janice Hallett #BookReview #MysteryThriller #MurderMystery #Crime

    1. Yup Tessa, for a one time expereicne it made an impact, got everyone to sit up and take notice, but to have more than one book like this can give a headache.

  1. 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 😊

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