3 out of 4 stars
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Laura has a gift. Laura knows things, but she’s not a psychic; Laura can see what happened when people die, but she doesn’t communicate with the dead; and Laura can guess what is going to happen, but she doesn’t predict the future. Laura sees strings. As you can imagine important activities, emotional times, and tense situations can leave a mark on our psyche, but that is not all. They also leave behind strings on the objects around them and this is what Laura can see.
A String of Murder by S.J. Wilke follows our string reader, Laura, as she quickly finds herself in a tricky predicament. In her day-to-day life, she uses her gift as an antique appraiser (lots of strings are left behind on old objects) but a more terrifying use for the gift falls in her lap: prevent murder. When her best friend introduces her to her new boyfriend she is nearly incapacitated with the 23 strings that jump off a knife at her. Visions of 23 grisly, gruesome, and unsolved murders of previous girlfriends plummet her to the realization that her best friend is next.
A String of Murder is a fun read with an interesting premise behind it. It takes you away from the traditional psychic realm and uses a unique concept that you can easily wrap your head around. The book keeps you guessing and trying to figure out what the slew of main characters will do to get Laura’s friend out of harm’s way. You have a lovable cast of diverse personalities, light humor throughout, and an interesting plot to keep you flipping the pages. What I liked the best about this book is how the author really dives down into this unique topic and makes the reader think about what could be done, seen, and acted upon with a gift like Laura’s. For example, appraising and authenticating antiques is an ideal way for someone with this ability to make a lot of money. An original work of priceless art would likely have many more emotions (strings) attached to it than a forgery.
There were, however, a few minor things that irked me throughout the book. There were several spelling/grammar mistakes throughout the book. Although not egregious, it definitely was noticeable as even a character’s name was misspelled a few times during the course of the book. Next, and as is often the case with literature, much of the successes and excitement achieved by the protagonists come from extraneous amounts of money and/or influence. Much of the plot resolution was only possible since nearly unlimited resources were available. The final thing that bothered me, and what bothered me the most, is actually very minor but it got under my skin nonetheless. Hemmingway was a raging alcoholic and that showed in his novels as the characters are constantly drinking. That being said, I feel like I either need to call “Coca-Cola Anonymous” or call this book an advertisement for the product because the word “coke” was mentioned over 100 times throughout this relatively short book. That would mean the word was written on nearly every second page of the book and, besides the occasional tea or brandy, it was all that was ever drank, ordered, or consumed by the characters.
For a the short, fun, and unique novel that was a pleasure to consume, I have no qualms giving A String of Murder a solid 3 out of 4 stars. The compilation of the bothersome little things mentioned above was enough for me to deduct a star, but I think a lot of people will get a kick out of this one. If you are a C/T/M/F fan and/or like books that slightly touch unique paranormal concepts, you will love this one. If that genre is not up your alley at all or if even the mention of gruesome murders isn’t your cup of tea, you should probably sit this one out.
A String of Murder
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