Saturday, September 2, 2017

Natural Suspect: Review

Natural Suspect (2001) is a collaborative mystery story devised by William Bernhardt and contributed to by ten suspense novelists--most of whom I had never come across before. I suspect I know why. The Goodreads blurb says that Bernhardt has put together a "Dream Team" of "today's hottest suspense writers" and makes it sound like he and Carl Hiassen (who did the same in Naked Came the Manatee) had come up with a brilliant idea that had never been done before. Hello? Ever heard of folks like Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers and G. K. Chesterton? They and other members of the Detection Club did collaborative mysteries long before Hiassen and Bernhardt even knew how to write (and quite probably before they were even born)--and did them much better.

The best thing about this book is that all proceeds were donated to the Nature Conservatory. That and brief episodes of humor (very brief). The plot is a well-worn one--Head of the Family with Big Bucks threatens to divorce wife and cut everyone out of his will and winds up dead on a big holiday/at a big family gathering (in this case, Thanksgiving). Wife is the prime suspect and winds up on trial. Rest of book is spent making things so convoluted that anybody else might have killed him and no clues really add up and throwing in multiple torture scenes with psycho dressed as a clown (or a ninja or an employee of Footlocker) either really cutting off people's extremities or threatening to as well as an abnormally large rabbit just for fun. I started to give this two stars, but then I realized that there was no way I could rate it higher then the Michael Innes book I just gave one star. So it is.

[Finished on 8/31/17]

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