BOOK REVIEW: The Private School Murders – by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

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Title: The Private School Murders
(Confessions #2)
Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Genre: YA, Mystery, Fiction
First published: October 7rd 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown And Company
Finished reading: August 31st 2016
Pages: 422
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“There is truth in dreams, but especially in nightmares.”

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I enjoyed reading the first book of this series back in January, so I decided it was about time to pick up the sequel The Private School Murders hoping it was going to be just as good. And while it’s without doubt a super fast-paced book with a prose that is very easy to read, I felt like it suffered a bit from the weaker sequel syndrome. It seemed like there were too many different storylines squeezed into just one book, with the consequence that each storyline was only described quite superficially and some of them lacked credibility. Also, Tandoori is quite arrogant and it’s difficult to like her. She was the same in the first book, but somehow she felt more annoying in The Private School Murders. The ‘cases’ she is trying to solve are still quite intriguing though; I just wish that at least the whole James/romance sub plot would have been left out… But then again I’m not really a sucker for romance in the first place. Overall I can’t deny it’s still a pretty decent sequel though.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

After solving the case of her wealthy parents’ mysterious deaths, Tandy Angel doesn’t seem to be done with playing detective. Her brother Matthew stands on trial for murder and young girls are found murdered all around New York’s Upper West side. Tandy is determined to use her skills to get to the bottom of both cases, although another case is still distracting her as well. The biggest mystery of all may be what actually happened to James Rampling, the son of a family enemy who Tandy fell in love and ran away with. She cannot seem to remember much about the whole affair, but she is desperate to find out more…

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While this sequel was by no means as strong as the first book, it is still a pretty decent and superfast read. Not all of the storylines are all that credible, but most of the ‘cases’ are intriguing and the story reads like a train. The main character Tandoori (Tandy) is a quite annoying know-it-all, but she does seem to deliver in the end. If you are looking for an easy and entertaining mystery read, this series might just be the one for you.

BOOK REVIEW: Confessions Of A Murder Suspect – by James Patterson

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Title: Confessions Of A Murder Suspect
(Confessions #1)
Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
First published: September 24th 2012
Finished reading: January 8th 2016
Pages: 372
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“He was already a sociopath, and he was just out of kinder-garten. I didn’t think much of it at the time. It was the family way.”

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I’m trying to read more mystery/thriller books this year, so I decided to pick up my copy Confessions Of A Murder Suspect. I have read various James Patterson books in the past, but this is the first one meant for a YA public. I simply flew through the pages of this book; as always his stories are more than entertaining. James Patterson and Maxine Paetro use an unreliable narrator to tell the story of the mystery around the double murder of the Angel parents, but do so without it becoming annoying. Sure, the Angel family is without doubt a very eccentric family to say the last and their whole situation is on the border of fantastical, but it IS an entertaining read with a surprising ending. (I really didn’t see it coming until the very end!) I’m not sure I actually liked the main characters, but I really liked the writing style and prose. The pace is superfast with just the right dose of suspense and plot twists… Definitely recommended if you are looking for a quick, slightly disturbing and entertaining read.

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When Malcolm and Maud Angel are found murdered, the only suspects seem to be the persons that were in their house at the time: their four children and their assistant. The mysterious and filthy rich Angel family has a lot of enemies, but there seem to be no signs of a break in… And the police doesn’t look for the killer elsewhere. Tandy Angel is determined to find out who killed her parents and decides to do her own detective work. She knows three things: she was the last person to see her parents alive, she and her three brothers are the only suspects the police focus on and she cannot trust even herself. Having grown up in the Angel’s house with the always present demand for perfection has left its mark on all children. Both the police and Tandy herself have a hard time finding out what really happened that night and who is guilty of what. The Angel family has a lot of secrets… Will Tandy be able to unravel the secret of her parents’ murder before the police will arrest both her and her siblings?

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This is not your average detective story and I personally really enjoyed the unreliable narrator/ eccentric family twist both authors have used in Confessions Of A Murder Suspect. The main characters might not be totally likeable, but they fit perfectly with the image of this almost dysfunctional family. The prose is easy to read and the many plot twists and fast pace make you want to continue reading until you reach the end. I read this book in less than 24 hours and I will definitely try to get a copy of the sequel soon to find out what other secrets the Angel family has. Recommended!

WWW Wednesdays #73 – January 13th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I finally picked up Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and so far I’m absolutely loving it. I can’t wait to continue reading it later today! Looks like this is one of those books that is actually worth the hype around it…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last week is Serafina And The Black Cloak by Robert Beatty. A very good middle grade story that has a good mix of fantasy and scary elements and I really liked the prose.
* I then finished All The Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry. I was more than pleasantly surprised by this historical fiction novel. Such an original, beautifully written and emotional story!
* I was in the mood for another crime read so I picked up Confessions Of A Murder Suspect by James Patterson. It’s the first time I read a Patterson YA novel, but I flew through the pages and it was a really entertaining read.
* Afterwards I decided to read Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl since it has become a tradition to reread at least one or two Roald Dahl books a year. He is one of my favorite childhood authors and I always love rereading his work. This is not my favorite, but still good.
* The last book I finished during the read-a-thon was Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid.  I can’t say I was impressed by this one. It wasn’t terrible but there were some parts that really bothered me…
* The last book on this list, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, was not as great as I would have thought either. It’s definitely a dark, twisted and disturbing read with many crazy plot twists and a somewhat surprising ending, but it took me a long time to actually finish it and I didn’t like the characters…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have a new ARC waiting for me: Eternal War Armies Of Saints by Livio Gambarini. This book set in the 13th century is a mix of historical fiction and fantasy and I’m really looking forward to it! I really should read The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings as well, so I can at least start finishing all those poor neglected series… Although I will probably read Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng first. Last but not least, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch is still my newest TBR jar pick.

Friday Finds #58 – October 30th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at A Daily Rhythm and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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BOOK REVIEW: Private – by James Patterson

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Title: Private
(Jack Morgan Series #1)
Author: James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: March 23rd 2009
Finished reading: November 29th 2012
Pages: 400

Rating 3

“People trust me with their secrets, and I’m not sure why. It must be something in my face, probably my eyes.”

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I normally enjoy the work of James Patterson, but I have mixed feelings about this one. Maybe it is because he wrote it together with Maxine Paetro. Maybe it is because it felt like they tried to squeeze in too many storylines into one book. Maybe it is because the many sub plots confused me and I couldn’t make out what the main story was. And it could have even been because of the shallow way of concluding each sub plot. What I can say is that this book could have been that much better if they would have sticked with just one main story. The general idea is very promising and the main character definitely interesting. It’s just a shame they decided to develop the story the way they did. All in all I would recommend picking up a different book if you want to enjoy Patterson’s work.

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Private is about Jack Morgan, an ex-Marine who still struggles with memories of the war. His dad is in prison and asks Jack to take over his investigation company called Private. The company works for high profile clients and has access to the best equipment and staff. When the wife of a Jack’s good friend was murdered, he uses his resources to help find the truth. At the same time, they are both investigating the murder of various school girls and the possible fixing of NFL football matches by referees. Last but not least, his brother shows up with an enormous gambling dept and asks for help.

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 A lot of cases at once, and it becomes hard sometimes to keep following the different story lines. Although Patterson wrote better ones, this one is still interesting enough to keep reading if you have a copy at hand.