Official Review: The Opening Night Murders

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Tomah
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Official Review: The Opening Night Murders

Post by Tomah »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Opening Night Murders" by James Scott Byrnside.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The Opening Night Murders is a mystery novel written by James Scott Byrnside. The plot begins when Rowan Manory, a private investigator, decides to protect an actress named Lisa Pluviam. Lisa received a death threat that stated she would be killed on the opening night of her new play, which she doesn’t want to cancel. The fated day arises, and the woman dies right in front of Rowan and several spectators. How will the detective figure out the truth behind this impossible murder?

Byrnside draws clear inspiration from detective novels written around the ’20s and ‘30s; indeed, the story even takes place in 1935. Fans of authors like Agatha Christie, G. K. Chesterton, and Ngaio Marsh will find themselves in good company with this book. Complicated plots, devious murderers, red herrings, and an ingenious detective all combine to form an excellent mystery that keeps the reader hooked from beginning to end.

The setting and characters feel unique and authentic. Much research has been put into making sure nothing feels out of place, even the smallest details. For example, a character talks about “hauling one’s ashes” to refer to sexual intercourse, which none of the older adults seem to understand. This reflects the fact that this expression would’ve been used mostly by young people at the time.

There are many interesting and likable characters, from the mysterious and seductive Lisa to the foul-mouthed Jenny. But the most interesting of them is Rowan, a brilliant man tormented by his physical and mental deterioration due to age. In most novels of the genre, the detective has a fixed personality, as the focus remains on the case itself. This novel, however, puts Rowan through many personal trials that make him a complex and engaging protagonist.

If you enjoy a good murder mystery, you won’t be disappointed by The Opening Night Murders’ intricate puzzles and surprising twists. The novel provides most of the clues that allow the reader to figure things out themselves, but that doesn’t make the case easy to solve. I thought I had a general idea of the solution until the mind-blowing truth was revealed and my expectations were shattered.

The book suffers from minor typographical issues: I’ve found three instances of misplaced punctuation and one instance of a missing word. The formatting is also inconsistent: some paragraphs lack an indented first line. Another issue is that long dialogue lines are written in a single paragraph, which makes the text tiresome to read. None of these problems are egregious, but they should’ve been fixed by thorough editing.

Overall, The Opening Night Murders is a great book filled with interesting characters and a thrilling plot. My only complaint is that the climax feels forced since the culprit confesses everything for no good reason. It’s a common trope in the genre, but I hoped this novel would pay homage to classic detective fiction while avoiding its pitfalls. Because of that and the editing issues, I rate the novel 3 out of 4 stars.

The novel features vulgar language, brief sexual content, and some grotesque imagery, so I don’t recommend it to young readers. Also, you’ll want to look elsewhere if you prefer hard-boiled crime stories with gritty realism. But if you don’t mind fanciful mystery plots that require some suspension of disbelief, this should be a fun read.

******
The Opening Night Murders
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Kathleen Wolfe
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Post by Kathleen Wolfe »

If its mystery its definitely something I would love to read. I usually prefer the most realistic crime stories but your review got me interested. Thanks for the review. :D

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Post by Bhaskins »

Oh this sounds good! Can’t wait to read it! Thanks for the honest review, I have a hard time when dialogue lags.
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Post by Wyland »

Seems like an intriguing murder mystery based on detective stories of the 20s. I have enjoyed books by Agatha Christie so I hope to read this one. Thanks for the wonderful review.

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Tomah
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Post by Tomah »

Bhaskins wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 08:42
Oh this sounds good! Can’t wait to read it! Thanks for the honest review, I have a hard time when dialogue lags.
Wyland wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 08:48
Seems like an intriguing murder mystery based on detective stories of the 20s. I have enjoyed books by Agatha Christie so I hope to read this one. Thanks for the wonderful review.
Kathleen Wolfe wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 07:07
If its mystery its definitely something I would love to read. I usually prefer the most realistic crime stories but your review got me interested. Thanks for the review. :D
I think it's a pretty good book, even if it's not the style of mystery you usually enjoy. Thanks for the comments!

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Kelyn
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Post by Kelyn »

Mystery isn't one of my preferred genres so I will be skipping this one, but it sounds as if the author did an excellent job at maintaining the suspense throughout the novel. That's always a mark of a great mystery writer. Thanks for the review!

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Post by Rachel Lea »

I love a good mystery! And it's great that the author put a lot of research into making sure the setting was historically accurate. Thanks for your review!
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Post by reneelu1998 »

I like how it gives just enough clues to add suspense and keep you guessing. Too bad about the climax though. Thanks for the well-written review!

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Post by Wanjugush »

Going by your review, this sounds like a thrilling mystery book and can't wait to read it. Great review.

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Tomah
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Post by Tomah »

Rachel Lea wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 17:11
I love a good mystery! And it's great that the author put a lot of research into making sure the setting was historically accurate. Thanks for your review!
reneelu1998 wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 17:54
I like how it gives just enough clues to add suspense and keep you guessing. Too bad about the climax though. Thanks for the well-written review!
Wanjugush wrote:
07 Sep 2019, 00:11
Going by your review, this sounds like a thrilling mystery book and can't wait to read it. Great review.
Kelyn wrote:
06 Sep 2019, 16:19
Mystery isn't one of my preferred genres so I will be skipping this one, but it sounds as if the author did an excellent job at maintaining the suspense throughout the novel. That's always a mark of a great mystery writer. Thanks for the review!
Thanks for the comments! It's definitely I book I would recommend, especially if you're a fan of mystery.

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Post by TheAshedPhoenix »

Rowan seems like an intriguing character just by the notion of him being flexible. It's hard to find a good mystery novel with stirring character arcs. The point itself makes me want to read the book but the ending as mentioned by you seems rather unsatisfactory. Having second thoughts but thanks for the detailed review. :)

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Tomah
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Post by Tomah »

TheAshedPhoenix wrote:
07 Sep 2019, 16:56
Rowan seems like an intriguing character just by the notion of him being flexible. It's hard to find a good mystery novel with stirring character arcs. The point itself makes me want to read the book but the ending as mentioned by you seems rather unsatisfactory. Having second thoughts but thanks for the detailed review. :)
Indeed, I can't say I was all that satisfied with the way the novel handled the final confrontation with the culprit, but to be fair, it's rather typical for novels in the genre. Rowan definitely elevates the story one notch above though. Thanks for the comment!

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