Sunday, November 29, 2015

Murder. Mystery. And Matrimony? Book Review: Secret Admirer by Patricia MacDonald


My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Laura Reed feels safe and happy in Cape Christian, a little jewel of Victorian architecture and quiet streets on New Jersey's southern tip. The children's books she writes are earning her modest fame; her husband Jimmy's art gallery is flourishing; and Cape Christian is the right kind of small town in which to raise their little boy, Michael. She never dreams that this New Year's Eve her nearly perfect life will end. That a man in a ski mask will break into her house, knock her out, and shoot her husband dead. That it will be nearly one hour before she revives and calls 911. That those missing minutes before her call will convince the police that she committed the crime. Although there is too little evidence to arrest her, Laura feels the eyes of the entire community - including her in-laws' - accusing her. Even her lawyer, Jimmy's business partner, doesn't seem to believe her. Her only ally is Gary, a young wheelchair-bound painter. His faithful devotion and the bouquets he sends brighten Laura's days. Then Ian Turner docks his sailboat in Cape Christian, and a chance meeting brings him into Laura's life. His marriage, too, has ended in tragedy, and he not only believes Laura, but falls in love with her. For the first time since Jimmy's murder, Laura dares to feel alive. Until she begins to sense that danger is near.

We've all heard the story. Husband or wife disappears or is murdered, remaining spouse inherits a large sum of money, and is immediately suspected. Snooze, snooze.

But what happens when we know the suspected killer is innocent? Can you believe their plea throughout the novel or will you too be swayed by opinions from the outside?

I typically don't read adult or mystery novels but in desperate need in something to occupy my mind I picked up Secret Admirer  by Patricia McDonald. Initially I wasn't too impressed by the seemingly dull story but just as I let my guard down I was thrust into a mystery like no other.

The author flawlessly attaches to you to the main character Laura. You sympathize with her because of her funny, but oblivious husband, cute child, and pesky in laws. Once Laura is accused of murdering her husband, you stand by your girl despite the accusations that seem like they might have some truth to them.

Laura makes some questionable decisions throughout the novel which lead you to question her just as you would if you were following her case in real life. The author definitely throws some curve balls, some of which are better done than others but overall add to the suspense and thrill of the novel. I can't say this is a completely unpredictable mystery, especially since I'm not too experienced in the mystery department myself but I will say with pride that I was at the edge of my seat during some parts. Like I said before, the author does an excellent job of emotionally connecting you to the character so you're just as concerned about her future as she is. This might not be a classic as far as mysteries go but it is definitely worth the read. 

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