4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Family secrets and nefarious plans are bound to be uncovered in this chilling family drama. After the passing of Tyler Chandler's wife, Sarah, Tyler wonders how he will care for his twins. Cody is the apple of his eye, and Rachael, well, he's never really paid her much attention. When his wealthy mother, Joan, is adamant about adopting Rachael, he acquiesces, believing in his heart, that she will provide Rachael with a better life. But his late wife's family has their sights set on raising Rachael as one of their own. Joan Chandler will do whatever it takes to secure her role as the young girl's guardian—even if that means eliminating those that get in her way.
When Rachael is reported missing, detectives Jack and Stacy find themselves perplexed over potential leads that seem to get them nowhere. The information doesn't add up. Someone is lying about Rachael's whereabouts, but who?
Pearl River Mansion by Richard Schwartz combines family drama and chilling twists and turns into a highly immersive read. The book is quite lengthy, at well over 500 pages, and is written from the third-person perspective following a handful of characters. Upon my first impression of the book, I was perplexed as to why it was so long, but it made sense the further I got into reading. The first part of the book focuses on the rift between Tyler Chandler and his mother. Then the author shifts gears and introduces readers to the detectives that are working on cracking the case of the missing girl, Rachael Chandler.
The thing that I enjoyed most about the book was the author's ability to intermingle secondary characters into the storyline without taking away from the central premise. While some of their roles were of lesser importance, all of the characters were an essential piece of the puzzle. By creating multidimensional characters, the author did an excellent job of enabling readers to become fully invested in the story's inner workings.
Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised by my laser-focus in regards to finishing the book. As I mentioned earlier, it was much longer than expected, but because of the author's ability to leave little breadcrumbs of information here and there, my interest never waned. This was accomplished by getting me invested in the Chandler family's lives, followed by intense foreshadowing and then introducing new characters.
Pearl River Mansion had a particularly memorable cast of characters, and I found myself thinking of them long after I had finished the book. Tyler Chandler was a tortured soul, who I believe wanted to do right by his family, but could not move past his childhood demons. Jack Kendall was the relentless detective that was driven by his strong moral compass. He wanted justice for Rachael Chandler and would do whatever it took. My perception of Joan Chandler continuously changed throughout the book. At her core, I believe she wanted what was best for Rachael, but her self-serving qualities overshadowed the nurturing ones.
The writing in Pearl River Mansion was coherent and easy to read. There were no exhaustive spelling errors or issues with grammar, and the story flowed at a consistent pace. I have chosen to give the book a rating of four out of four stars.
Pearl River Mansion is not intended for younger readers as it deals with weighty topics such as child abuse and suicide. Some particularly violent death scenes made my stomach churn, so I recommend tackling this book with caution. On the contrary, I would highly recommend this book for mature readers who like an all-encompassing mystery. The story boasts a well-developed cast of characters, some surprising twists, and it takes place in a mansion full of secrets. What more could you want?
Pearl River Mansion
View: on Bookshelves