⇒RELEASE DAY REVIEW (almost): Fame and fortune turn out to be a lot less fun than anticipated for a TV detective when he awakens in a room full of strangers, handcuffed to a bed – with a dead man in the tub. ⇐
**Many thanks to NetGalley, Hanover Square Press, and the author for the opportunity to read a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
by Chris McGeorge
(3.66 stars – Goodreads rating)
Publish Date: September 18, 2018, by Hanover Square Press
Genre: Thriller / Mystery
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: 368 pages (Hardcover)
Time was escaping from the room. They were standing in an hourglass, with hands out trying to catch the sand.
I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but reading a book that I am not enjoying makes me angry! I feel obligated to finish it – especially if I have promised a review, but I’m never happy about it.
So I guess you know by now what my emotion is as I write this review. To put it mildly, I didn’t care for this book. To put it less mildly, @#$%^&*()_(*&^%$#!!!!!!!!!!!
If you’ve seen the movie Saw, you’ve already experienced (a much better version of) this book. But besides the fact that it seemed derivative and unimaginative, ultimately, you discover that it was also extremely unrealistic and improbably in its execution! I don’t want to be more specific because, spoilers.
Trust me, I REALLY HOPE I HAVE THE UNPOPULAR OPINION HERE!
It doesn’t give me any kind of pleasure at all to hand out low ratings for books that an author has obviously toiled long and hard over. It pains me. But this book pained me too, so tit for tat.
Was his really a wasted life – only half lived? Maybe this was to be a fitting end.
OK, so let me stretch past my anger and at least tell you what Guess Who is about…
Morgan Sheppard rose to celebrity status on the wings of a scary event in his youth. His teacher was found hanging in his own classroom, and Morgan gave the police information to solve the case. From there, he became TVs “Resident Detective”, with his own show, fans, and substance abuse issues.
When he suddenly finds himself waking up in a strange hotel room handcuffed to the bed, at first he thinks its just another night of partying gone a little wrong. But when he sees that there are five other people in the room with him – strangers – and a dead man in the bathtub, things start getting real.
Sheppard is then forced to put his over-hyped (nonexistent?) detective skills to work to find out why they’re all there and who killed the man in the tub. Does he? Do they all live? Who put them there? Honestly, in the end, it really isn’t all that interesting – even though it sounds like it should be, and I hate that it wasn’t.
I didn’t care about these characters at all. The most interesting one was the girl called “Headphones” who only spoke a handful of times. Maybe that’s why I liked her – she was the least annoying (and the least transparent).
The writing was clipped and, at times, disconnected. I know this is an ARC, but I felt like I was reading the first draft. Initially, the dual timelines flowed and brought more depth to the story, but that effect fell apart toward the end, making the story feel disjointed and, at one point, like you had entered a different (almost better) story altogether.
I felt like I labored through the second half of the book – already knowing who the perpetrators were and just waiting for the MC to realize it. Turns out, surprise! I was right and the denouement was easily apparent, but more than that – it wasn’t even interesting getting there.
If you have read Guess Who and enjoyed it, please tell me why you did so that maybe I can see it in a different light. I don’t think I’ll change my mind, but I welcome the different perspective.
About the Author
Chris McGeorge has an MA in Creative Writing (Crime / Thriller) from City University London where he wrote his first crime novel Dead Room for this thesis. He constantly told stories from a young age, whether they took the form of comics, short stories or scripts.
He is a lover of Golden Age crime, like Christie and Conan Doyle, leading his crime stories to be a mix of the old and the contemporary. He likes weird and wonderful plots, with plenty of intrigue and twists.
His often coherent ramblings about everything pop culture can be found on his blog Festival of Blood and occasionally he produces the Sarcasmicast podcast with a group of friends.
(Bio from www.dhhliteraryagency.com)