Official Review: To Paint A Murder by E. J. Gandolfo

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bookowlie
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Latest Review: To Paint A Murder by E. J. Gandolfo

Official Review: To Paint A Murder by E. J. Gandolfo

Post by bookowlie »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "To Paint A Murder" by E. J. Gandolfo.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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To Paint a Murder by E.J. Gandolfo is the first book in the Veronica Howard Vintage Mystery series. After a successful advertising career, Veronica realizes her dream of opening a vintage clothing shop. She accidentally gets drawn into the world of art theft after the robbery of a truck containing valuable paintings. Add in a few dead bodies, and Veronica’s nosy nature leads to some amateur sleuthing. The tension kicks up a notch, as it’s not clear who she should trust.

The story gets off to a slow start. There is an overabundance of description about every little thing - the furniture in Veronica’s Boston townhouse, the color of her nail polish, her boyfriend Harry’s wardrobe, etc. In contrast, there is hardly any dialogue in the early chapters. While the details paint a vivid picture, the excess causes the story to move at a snail’s pace for the first third of the book. Fortunately, the plot becomes more absorbing as the story progresses, with a few interesting twists.

The nuanced characterizations are what make this book shine. Veronica is a plucky protagonist with a layered backstory. Even when she takes risks that put her in danger, she is by no means a damsel in distress. Some of the supporting characters are written in such a way that it was difficult to figure out if they were good guys or bad guys. These gray shadings add depth to the story and make it harder to figure out “whodunit.”

While the writing sometimes has an easy flow, the author’s style is often exceptionally wordy. In addition, the characters’ backstories are too long. This causes the plot to veer off track and become less focused at times.

I am sorry to report that the editing is sloppy, to say the least. There are numerous errors through the story, and it sometimes felt like I was reading a draft. The mistakes include incorrect spacing before/after punctuation, extra punctuation, typos, words that should be capitalized (e.g. – the first word of a sentence), missing words, incorrect tenses, rectangular icons between words, etc. In general, the poor editing gives the book an unprofessional feel.

This book has earned 3 out of 4 stars. After a meandering start, I enjoyed the surprising turns the plot took along the way. However, the careless editing and wordy, overly descriptive writing style prevent me from awarding a higher rating. Still, Veronica is an engaging character, and I would be interested in reading future installments of this mystery series.

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Note from Author: To Paint A Murder received the EVVY CIPA Award for best detective book of 2019.
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To Paint A Murder
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Post by adamgreenrock »

A book with a slow start might be a turn off for me depending on how it drags out. Though I'm willing to give it a chance. Thanks for your review!

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Post by Juliet+1 »

I'll forgive a lot for a good plot. And it has a plucky female protagonist too! Yep, this one goes in the want-to-read pile. Thanks for a very helpful review.

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Post by unamilagra »

It sounds like this book has a really fun premise. It's too bad it gets off to such a slow start and has some other issues as well. Thanks for a great review!
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Post by NetMassimo »

Shame about the many errors as it seems an intriguing novel for readers who like to get immersed in the story's setting. Thank your for your review!
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Latest Review: To Paint A Murder by E. J. Gandolfo

Post by bookowlie »

Thanks everyone for the nice feedback! To be fair, first books in a series often spend extra time describing the setting and characters to set the stage for future installments. However, it was overdone here. A good story should grab you right from the start!
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Post by espo »

I dislike when authors have a style that is wordy or overly descriptive, especially in books that are supposed to be fast-paced. You wrote a great review, thank you!
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Post by kandscreeley »

I've always thought the author needs to have those types of details in his or her head, but the audience doesn't necessarily need to know them. It can definitely bog a story down. Nonetheless, it seems like a decent enough murder mystery, and those details can be easily omitted. Thanks! Always love your insights.
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Post by Julius_ »

I like mystery novels and I think I'd like to take a look at this. Thanks for the review
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Post by Prisallen »

I hope the author takes your advice and fixes the problem areas. Then, I think this would be a book I would be interested in, although not in its current form. Thanks for the great review!

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Latest Review: To Paint A Murder by E. J. Gandolfo

Post by bookowlie »

kandscreeley wrote: ↑
16 Feb 2020, 21:17
I've always thought the author needs to have those types of details in his or her head, but the audience doesn't necessarily need to know them. It can definitely bog a story down. Nonetheless, it seems like a decent enough murder mystery, and those details can be easily omitted. Thanks! Always love your insights.
I think it's good to have details to create a vivid picture for the reader. However, too much description bogs down the story and veers the plot off track.
"The best way out is always through" - Robert Frost

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Latest Review: To Paint A Murder by E. J. Gandolfo

Post by bookowlie »

Thanks Espo, Julius, and Prisallen for the feedback. Espo - I completely agree about the pacing. In this case, an avalanche of description slowed the pace considerably, especially in the first third of the book. I feel the beginning of a story should draw a reader in; otherwise, he/she might ditch the story after a chapter or two.
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Post by Victoriasmith8 »

I thought it was a good review. Really had me wanting more.

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Post by Salma_asa »

Mystery is my most favourite genre. This book sounds really intriguing. I am excited to learn the whole story of Veronica's mystery solving if i can get past the slow starting . Great review!

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Post by InStoree »

I just got out of a book with the same editing errors and that's exactly how I felt it too - like I was reading a writer's draft. I'm not sure I could manage another work with similar omissions anytime soon. But I will add it to my list, and when I feel ready, I'm sure I will enjoy it. Fabulous review! đź‘Ź Thank you!
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