Book review: The Mystery Writer by Sulari Gentill

Sunday, March 10, 2024 Permalink

The Mystery Writer by Sulari Gentill is a new standalone by the talented writer. I’ve not read her Rowland Sinclair series but love her ‘writerly’ standalones (After She Wrote Him and The Woman in the Library). I’m sure being immersed in the world of writing and publishing helps inspire Gentill as she certainly writes what she knows.

Because I adored her two other standalones my expectations were higher than they should have been and I was a bit disappointed with this book. I liked the first half or even the first two-thirds, but the way this book pans out really didn’t seem feasible and frustrated me a lot.

Book review: The Mystery Writer by Sulari GentillThe Mystery Writer
by Sulari Gentill
Published by Poisoned Pen Press, Ultimo Press
on 06/03/2024
Source: Ultimo Press
Genres: Crime Fiction
ISBN: 1761152246
Pages: 382
three-half-stars
Goodreads

Theo has one dream – to become a bestselling author. Determined to make her mark in the literary world, she heads to the US on a whim to stay with her brother Gus and focus on her writing. But her plans take an unexpected turn when she befriends a famous author, Dan Murdoch, at a local bar – and then he turns up dead. Suddenly, Theo finds herself as the prime suspect.

As Theo grapples with the shocking turn of events, she realizes that Dan may not have been the person he seemed to be, and there is something sinister going on in the world of publishing. Desperate to clear her name and uncover the truth, Theo sets out on a quest to find out who killed Dan and why.

As she digs deeper, Theo uncovers a web of deceit, conspiracy, and hidden motives, with clues leading her to a shadowy online platform called The Shield. With her own life in danger, Theo must unravel the mystery before she becomes the next victim.

I liked Theo as well as her brother Gus and his colleague Mac. I enjoyed reading about Theo settling into life in the US and her writing. I was very confused by chapters interspersed throughout the book about the preppers. It felt like I was being dropped into another book entirely and I expected they would be revealed as chapters of a book written by another yet-to-be-introduced author. We eventually get some clarity around the relevance of that storyline, though it’s a bit too coincidental that the two plots collide.

I was suspicious of the older writer Dan and felt it kinda weird there was no backstory and he seemingly had no history. I certainly waited for a wife and kids to appear. I liked the element of mystery though as it proffered an alternative suspect to Theo and an opportunity to ponder his nefarious past.

But how this ultimately pans out was weird. I struggled with the leaps in time and I didn’t believe Theo was gullible enough to accept the ‘fate’ she did, and it felt very unrealistic that such a scenario could exist at all.

Despite all of that I’d certainly still recommend this as I enjoyed much of it and am confident I’ll love whatever Gentill next produces.

The Mystery Writer by Sulari Gentill was published by Ultimo Press in Australia. It will also be published in the US by Poison Pen Press later in the month.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 

three-half-stars

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