All Book Reviews by Genre: Mystery

A Study in Charlotte
Cavallaro, Brittany
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This was a very interesting Sherlock Holmes update. The story follows Jamie Watson - great great grandson of THAT Watson - as he accepts a rugby scholarship at a prep school in Connecticut. This prep school coincidentally (yes, they pretend its a coincidence, though it's pretty transparently NOT a coincidence and I wouldn't consider that a spoiler, because...duh) is where The one Charlotte Holmes - great great granddaughter of THAT Holmes - is attending school. Pretty soon, both Charlotte and James find themselves being implicated in Sherlock Holmes copycat murders, and they team up to find the murderer and clear their name.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, though I could've done with a more interesting mystery. The writing was perfectly fine, the mystery familiar (again, it's a Holmes copycat), but the characters were definitely the best part. They didn't feel like Watson and Holmes carbon copies, but there were some clear similarities. The mystery was fairly subpar - I like my mysteries to be a
bit more...mysterious...but the ending left the series open for a fun sequel that I might someday read.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Genres:
Lost
Davies, Jacqueline
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

In my opinion the book Lost was a terrible book. Lost is a book about emotions and feelings. Ug, I thought this would be about a lost dimension or something. Not a book about a girls work and love life. I felt this story dragging on forever, what felt like reading hours was only mere minutes. I read the back cover and it looked like a good book. Never judge a book by it’s cover, the story inside was so bad I wanted to slam the book down and say “That’s it!” Also, It was written like you were in the story, such as refences to you. Like “You are singing!” Unless you like playing along and doing what a book says at 10 at night, do NOT read this book.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Lucas L.
The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair
Dicker, Joel
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I wasn't sure what to expect when I starting reading this book. I did know it was an international best seller and it was translated from French. I was pleasantly surprised by it! I do think the book could have been edited a bit more. It's a mystery set in 2008. So the presidential election is at the backdrop of the main story. When you are reading it, you find that the mystery is a love story. But as it unfolds, you find out there is alot of trickery going on. At times, the investigation into what happened to Nola was very repetitive. Also, the bits between Marcus and his mother could have been cut out entirely as well as the parts about the 2008 presidential election. Neither really progressed the story. But I liked how Dicker wrote his characters and I did like the twists to the mystery. But I wasn't crazy how things were tied up neatly in a bow at the end. But I do think the mystery and the process of solving it and proving Harry innocent was engrossing. If you like mysteries and want something easy to read, I would recommend The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair.

Reviewer's Name: Melissa M.
Awards:
Genres:
Jackaby
Ritter, William
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Nice idea, not especially well executed, but serviceable nevertheless. Penniless but daring young Abigail Rook is stuck in New England when she meets an eccentric private detective named Jackaby. He specializes in supernatural deduction using an ability to see what other people can't -- faeries, monsters, etc. He is also in need of an assistant. When a very odd murder occurs, Jackaby and Abigail are on the case. Who is the murderer? Can our heroes stop the killer in time to save innocent lives? And will we ever learn what Jackaby's initials stand for? At best, it's a really laudable middle-grade supernatural mystery. Unfortunately, Jackaby himself falls rather flat. He seems to be a collection of quirks and mannerisms borrowed from more famous characters. Abigail is by no means and ideal character, but she is independent in a way that many female protagonists aren't. There are several appealing secondary characters -- one of whom is a ghost -- who were a bit more unusual, but on the whole, this book does not have the most intriguing cast, although it does try very hard. The plot itself is reasonably interesting, but suffers from the same malady as the characterizations: originality, or rather, lack thereof. Anyone who's familiar with folklore (or has read Harry Potter) has a good chance at guessing the identities of the murderer and other characters long before the big reveal. If you want a lightweight, easy-read fantasy-mystery with some fun characters and fairly witty dialogue, you'll probably like it, but for really intense murder mystery fans, look elsewhere.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Caroline K.
Awards:
Paper Towns
Green, John
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Quentin, or Q, has had a crush on Margo for ages. So when she invites him out on a night full of revenge, he agrees to help her. After the night is over, Margo disappears. Q finds a trail of clues that she's left behind and vows to find her. After all, it is what she wanted. Right?

I liked this book. I found the subject of paper towns to be fascinating. I like how the author decided to incorporate them into his story.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
The Alienist
Carr, Caleb
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is amazing. It spent weeks on the bestseller lists the year it was published, and is currently being turned into a television series. It takes place in 1896 and concerns fictional psychologist (or “alienist”) Dr. Laszlo Kreizler who works with his best friend John Moore, a crime reporter, to solve a series of brutal and perverted murders of New York City child prostitutes. They are joined by several other unconventional and intrepid characters who help them investigate the murders, eventually leading to an edge-of-your-seat climactic showdown worthy of any blockbuster thriller.
Our narrator, John Moore, is well-drawn and extremely likeable, providing insight into the personalities of more-difficult-to-access characters such as Laszlo as well as entertaining the reader with sarcastic asides and private commentary. His interactions with Laszlo are especially enjoyable – the two are polar opposites, yet have an enduring friendship that allows them to work together like Holmes and Watson. Dr. Laszlo Kreizler himself is dark, brooding, and intelligent, but moves beyond a stereotype and gains the reader’s sympathy, especially as his intriguing past – and relationships -- come to light. The other members of the team are generally likable as well, if rather underdeveloped. Their racial and religious political correctness seems somewhat manufactured considering the time period, but the strength of the plot and their own likability allows the reader to accept it as signs of the characters’ progressive viewpoints and accepting natures. Also, Theodore Roosevelt and other actual historical figures make cameos – it’s like a treat for history buffs.
Speaking of history, a main factor in the story is the concept of “psychological determinism,” a psychological theory that was new at the time but is now largely accepted, as well as forensic science, which was also mostly untested in 1896. The heroes in this story aren’t your typical Victorian detectives, using Holmesian deduction and raw logic to trace the killer. These investigators use psychology and forensics to catch a murderer who leaves no hard clues, making this mystery uncommonly scientific and engrossing. Additionally, the abundance of subplots -- romantic, criminal, historical, etc. -- create an atmospheric and fleshed-out world that serves its reader well.
I urge fans of psychological thrillers as well as traditional mysteries to read this book. However (as you may have guessed), the subject matter is dark, and there is more than one gory and detailed description of a dismembered body. Additionally, the nature of the investigation leads the investigators into some very unsavory locales. The imagery alone requires that I recommend this book for mature readers, probably ages 15 and up. If you don’t have a strong stomach, you may want to skip a few scenes. Otherwise, this is one mystery you won’t want to miss.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Caroline K.
Awards:
Ruined
Morris, Paula
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Of all the books I have read, this book’s chilling story-line has remained ingrained in my head the most vividly for the longest. This book is about a young girl who uncovers the buried secrets of her family while on a vacation in New Orleans. The discovery of her only friend being a ghost led to more mystery and cliff hanging than any reader could handle! This book has heartbreak, love, suspense, and adventure. A must read book for all teens!

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Gerilyn M.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Riggs, Ransom
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating: 4.5
This book is fun and thrilling from start to end. If you like something with a Tim Burton's feel, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is for you. We follow the journey through the eyes of a 16 years old boy named Jacob Portman. When Jacob was younger, his grandfather would always tell him stories about these strange children at the home he grew up in. The pictures that come with every story are creepy yet at the same time intriguing. After the mysterious death of his grandfather, Jacob followed the clues that he left behind in order to discover the world his grandfather grew up in. There are lots of mysterious elements that I don't want to spoiler in my review. If you're up for a fun, thrilling and easy read, definitely pick up this book.
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Vy D.
The New Recruit
Williamson, Jill
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book caught my eye because of the title. Just the sound of "The New Recruit" makes the book sound like it is full of adventure...and it is!
The story opens with the introduction of the main character, a prospective freshman varsity basketball player named Spencer Garmond. He is living with his grandmother in Pilot Point, California, and has been living with her ever since his dad left the family and his mother died. Spencer's grandmother threatens to pull him out of his Christian school and put him in military school. Fortunately for Spencer, a mysterious man named Mr. Stopplecamp wishes to recruit Spencer for a Bible club called Mission League. Forced to chose between military school and the league, Spencer signs up with the Mission League, but soon realizes the true purpose of the league (which is not to be Bible geeks). This book is filled with adventure, action, spying on Russia, and other "fun stuff." A must read for anyone who is looking for a James Bond type story with lots of humor and, maybe, a bit of romance.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Alex N.
Lady Midnight
Clare, Cassandra
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

If you are looking for a fantasy novel to swift you away into a new and complex world, this is the book for you. This is the first book to the sequel trilogy of the Mortal Instruments series, which you must read before this, if you wish it to make any sense.

Emma Carstairs' parents were murdered by Sebastian Morganstern. Or else that's what the Clave has declared. She, however, is not convinced that is the whole story. When murders similar to her parents erupt in the city, her and her friends, Julian and Cristina, are desperate to find the truth. Finding Emma's true parents murderer is not the only thing at stake. Julian's older brother, Mark, was captured by the Wild Hunt years ago. They are a group of Faeries that took Mark in, seeing that he is half Fae. Now, someone is murdering the Fae, and they have offered to give Mark back, in exchange for Julian and Emma bringing them the murderer. They have two weeks, to not only find the murderer, but to also convince Mark to stay with them.

These are not their only worries though. Emma and Julian are parabatia, meaning they are connected in the deepest kind of friendship possible. However, it is forbidden for parabatia to fall in romantic relationships. This is a problem for Julian and Emma, seeing that they might not be able to contain their love for much longer. The repercussions for their love includes banishing them from ever seeing their family again, which means everything for Julian and his seven brothers and sisters.

I have read all other books written by Cassandra Clare, and I did not believe this was the best of them. I did think that Julian and Emma's love was a bit too overpowering, and made the action and rest of the book seem like sides to the main dish. I would have preferred more action and battles, rather then deep conversations about infatuation with one another.

She was able to surprise me at the end, with multiple plot twists and action. Not everything was easy to guess, and it made for good brain exercise. I am looking forward to the rest of the series, which should come out sometime in 2017.

Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Kaitlyn C.
Book Review: Bellweather Rhapsody
Racculia, Kate
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Brimming with snappy dialogue, mistaken identity, and lots of musical references, "Bellweather Rhapsody" is a raucous read. The book takes place at a high school music festival so its full of hilarious yet relatable high school drama and hijinks. When a high school flute prodigy goes missing and the festival participants get snowed in at the Bellweather Hotel, the festival gets even more chaotic. The book does have some dark elements - there's a fair amount of murder. For fans of dark comedies like "Big Little Lies".

Reviewer's Name: Corrie
Awards:
Genres:
The Candymakers
Mass, Wendy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is about a group of children who specialize in candy making. After all, it is expected, since they are the legacies of famous candy inventors. I picked this book because very many people in my grade have read it and liked it. I enjoyed the imagery in this book. I did not enjoy that the suspense was not very exciting. This book both surprised me and was predictable. I can relate to some of the characters because I like other people. This is one of the best books I have read all year!

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Alex L.
Awards:
Genres:
Thirteen Reasons Why
Asher, Jay
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In this book, a box of cassette tapes appear on Clay Jenkins' doorstep. Curious, he starts to listen to the first one, only to find out that they're from his crush and former classmate, Hannah, who recently committed suicide. He spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

I really liked this book. It was sad, but it was also very insightful. You never know what's going on in someone's life or how your actions might affect them.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Alex M.
Awards:
Paper Towns
Green, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This mystery novel centers on the life of a high school senior, Quentin, and his complicated relationship with his neighbor, Margo. After years of not even speaking to each other, Margo appears at Quentin’s window, and they spend a wild night playing pranks and getting revenge on their friends and enemies. However, the next day, Margo disappears. I picked the book because I have read other novels by John Green, who often incorporates both deep and philosophical themes and hilarious humor in great novels. Paper Towns in particular is incredibly thought-provoking and the character development of Margo as both mysterious yet relatable is superb. This book did surprise me given the typical mystery set-up, and was definitely one of the best books I have read this year.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Selena Z.
Storm Front
Butcher, Jim
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Actual Rating: 3.75

Are you looking for a series that will get you back into the sport of reading, and will help tackle that stack of books by your bed with a story more thrilling than the last? How about cheeky, ruggedly handsome modern day wizards? The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher are exciting, quick reads that will entice you into a world of unexpected turns, mythical creatures, and the occasional vengeful mob boss in the city of Chicago. Dragged into the chaos of these rarities is wizard/private detective Harry Dresden, who only wants enough money to pay for his next meal. Lose yourself in these pages that will have you coming back to your local library to snatch the next book off its shelf.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Summer W.
Genres:
“Who Could That be at This Hour?”
Snicket, Lemony
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A mysterious town no longer by the sea. People far more mysterious, with secrets and secret motives. A stolen statue of a mythological creature that was not really stolen. A clueless chaperone with a truly astounding amount of hair. This is the life that almost-thirteen-year-old Lemony Snicket is dropped into during his apprenticeship in the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea.

The first book in the fictional autobiographic series “All the Wrong Questions” by Lemony Snicket, and prequel to his books, “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, Who Could That be at This Hour? chronicles the first of four wrong questions asked about a perplexing mystery and the perplexing people involved. The fast paced plot, complete with the humorous yet thought-provoking narration fans of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” will expect, will have you itching to read more. The characters are surprisingly sincere considering some of their over-the-top quirks, but the seeds of suspicion that are sown will make you wonder—along with the protagonist—who exactly can be trusted. One of the best books I have ever read, any mystery fans will find themselves unable to put it down.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Tessa L.
Christie, Agatha
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A classic whodunit. Campy but fun. I'm not really a mystery person, which is probably why I didn't give it 5 stars. I found myself getting bored with the whole process about 2/3 of the way through. But I really liked the ending.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Doyle, Arthur Conan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The epitome of classic mysteries. A thoroughly enjoyable whodunit. Generally, mysteries aren't my thing, but I very much enjoyed this book.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Kaaberbol, Lene
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This was a book club book. It wouldn't have been on my radar otherwise. That's what I love about my book club, I often get to read good books I would otherwise miss. Which makes me think of how many other great books there are out there that I'll never get the chance to read. Anyways, this book was very good. I definitely recommend it. It takes place in Denmark and Lithuania so I was a bit confused on the geographical aspect, but that's my fault, not the book's. The author crafts an engaging storyline with well defined characters. This book is translated, so I bet it's even better in the original language, read by someone who knows the culture and geography.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
Harris, Charlaine
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After reading all of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, I decided to try another series by Charlaine Harris. Real Murders is the first book in the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries and I am hooked. The writing is fun to read and easy to get involved in. Harris has a way of creating characters that come to life on the pages. I would recommend this for anyone who just wants an enjoyable read.

Reviewer's Name: Christy
Genres:

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