Official Review: Pancake Money by Finn Bell

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any crime, thriller, mystery or horror books or series.
Forum rules
You must limit each topic thread in this section to only one book or only one series. Make the title of the topic the name of the book, and if possible also include the author's name. If you want to allow spoilers, you must include the word spoilers in the title of the topic, otherwise spoilers are prohibited.
User avatar
Jkhorner
Posts: 170
Joined: 09 Feb 2018, 08:32
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 56
Currently Reading: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid
Bookshelf Size: 410
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jkhorner.html
Latest Review: Pancake Money by Finn Bell
Location: South Carolina

Official Review: Pancake Money by Finn Bell

Post by Jkhorner » 03 Apr 2018, 08:54

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Pancake Money" by Finn Bell.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


Pancake Money by Finn Bell is a grisly thriller set in small-town New Zealand, where saintly Catholic priests are dying in particularly gruesome ways. Detective partners Bobby Ress and Pollo Latu team up to discover the identity of the “Holy Man Killer” – and hopefully prevent any further deaths. They confront uncertainty, gang relationships, family tragedy, and their own desires for safety in order to beat the ticking clock and catch the perpetrator before he (or she) disappears forever.

Pancake Money is not just action-packed and thrilling; it also takes the reader on a philosophical journey, discussing at length the psychology of pain, family relationships, and mental illness. Watching from Bobby’s perspective, you get to observe his mind piece together the puzzle of a serial killer: Are these deaths caused by an individual or a group? Is the motive sex, money, or power? Are the victims random or intentional?

This story is not exceptionally long, yet the plot is fully developed. The identity of the killer is not revealed until the final chapter, yet for most of the book it is obvious that there are only two possible outcomes. However, there are enough twists and interesting elements that kept me reading and enjoying the journey. The most gripping aspect of this plot is that it is entirely believable.

Finn Bell knows how to create a character that sticks with you. Bobby and Pollo are the perfect match-up, each with their own quirks and backgrounds. By the end of the book, each character’s motivations are clearly defined, and you can anticipate how each person will react to his circumstances. Due to the short length, a few of the side characters are perhaps more obtuse than needed, but they are used well, regardless.

My main concern about this book is its style. Because it is written from Bobby’s perspective, the entire book is in dialogue style, albeit inner dialogue. That means everything is present tense, and the sentences are extremely short. Often they are not full sentences. While technically correct, clipped present tense is not my favorite to read. In addition, the philosophical discussions are repeated again and again, with no new information added to each repetition. Getting into a detective’s mind is one thing; getting stuck on a loop is an entirely other, far less pleasant experience.

The only other issue with Pancake Money is the title. I do not fully understand the reference, as the words “pancake money” are only used a few times in the book, and they are never fully explained. It’s a catchy title, but perhaps a better option would have been Breaking Point, as the main conflict revolves around identifying the point at which repeated infliction of pain will result in mental illness.

All in all, I greatly enjoyed this book. There were some grammatical errors, but not enough for me to be bothered by them. I will warn you, it is quite graphic. I made the mistake of reading this one in my first trimester of pregnancy; I suggest you have a stronger stomach than mine when you attempt it.

The plot and characters of Pancake Money recommend a high rating, but the clipped writing style and lengthy repeated philosophizing lead me to rate it 3 out of 4 stars. It may not be for everyone, but Pancake Money is certainly a fascinating and enjoyable read.

******
Pancake Money
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like Jkhorner's review? Post a comment saying so!

User avatar
MsTri
Posts: 599
Joined: 02 Jul 2017, 12:56
2018 Reading Goal: 12
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 66
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... 15362">The Prodigal Son</a>
Currently Reading: A Game of Thrones
Bookshelf Size: 181
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mstri.html
Latest Review: The Different Kinds Of Monsters by Seth Chambers
Location: Chicago, IL

Post by MsTri » 05 Apr 2018, 15:30

This soooooo sounds like my kind of read! Even though I agree that the title may be confusing since there's no clear indication as to why it was titled that way, I don't think Bobby's inner dialogue will be an issue for me. I also love graphic content, so that's actually a positive for me, *lol*! Thanks so much for the introduction!

User avatar
stacie k
Posts: 317
Joined: 01 Feb 2018, 17:04
2018 Reading Goal: 40
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 32
Currently Reading: Farenheit 451
Bookshelf Size: 32
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-stacie-k.html
Latest Review: Tethered to Wanting by Constance Huddleston Anderson
Location: California

Post by stacie k » 06 Apr 2018, 00:38

I, too, was perplexed by the title! All in all, this sounds like an entertaining read. I enjoy action-packed, thrilling detective stories! Thanks for a great review!
“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable.” Proverbs 15:2a

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 4578
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2018 Reading Goal: 115
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 36
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 94
Currently Reading: End of the Last Great Kingdom
Bookshelf Size: 170
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: Dreaming to Be the Outlier by Daniel Hotchner

Post by kandscreeley » 06 Apr 2018, 07:20

I was wondering about the title myself. I was thinking it didn't sound like it much related to a "Holy Man Killer." I guess I understand what the author was trying to do with the style of the writing, but it isn't one of my favorites either. I think I'll skip this one. Thanks for the review, though.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

User avatar
Jkhorner
Posts: 170
Joined: 09 Feb 2018, 08:32
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 56
Currently Reading: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid
Bookshelf Size: 410
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jkhorner.html
Latest Review: Pancake Money by Finn Bell
Location: South Carolina

Post by Jkhorner » 06 Apr 2018, 13:24

MsTri wrote:
05 Apr 2018, 15:30
This soooooo sounds like my kind of read! Even though I agree that the title may be confusing since there's no clear indication as to why it was titled that way, I don't think Bobby's inner dialogue will be an issue for me. I also love graphic content, so that's actually a positive for me, *lol*! Thanks so much for the introduction!
MsTri, having read several of your reviews, I had an idea you might like this one! Thanks for stopping by :)

User avatar
Jkhorner
Posts: 170
Joined: 09 Feb 2018, 08:32
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 56
Currently Reading: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid
Bookshelf Size: 410
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jkhorner.html
Latest Review: Pancake Money by Finn Bell
Location: South Carolina

Post by Jkhorner » 06 Apr 2018, 13:27

stacie k wrote:
06 Apr 2018, 00:38
I, too, was perplexed by the title! All in all, this sounds like an entertaining read. I enjoy action-packed, thrilling detective stories! Thanks for a great review!
Thank you for the comment! I liked the title, but I wish it had fit more with the story.

User avatar
Jkhorner
Posts: 170
Joined: 09 Feb 2018, 08:32
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 56
Currently Reading: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid
Bookshelf Size: 410
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jkhorner.html
Latest Review: Pancake Money by Finn Bell
Location: South Carolina

Post by Jkhorner » 06 Apr 2018, 13:28

kandscreeley wrote:
06 Apr 2018, 07:20
I was wondering about the title myself. I was thinking it didn't sound like it much related to a "Holy Man Killer." I guess I understand what the author was trying to do with the style of the writing, but it isn't one of my favorites either. I think I'll skip this one. Thanks for the review, though.
That's completely fair. I'm a fan of elaborate and varied sentences myself ;) Thanks for stopping by!

User avatar
Oceanside
Posts: 23
Joined: 14 Mar 2018, 05:12
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 12
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-oceanside.html
Latest Review: Roadmap to the End of Days by Daniel Friedmann

Post by Oceanside » 07 Apr 2018, 00:36

The title definitely draws the reader in. I was already interested in this book because of the title but after reading your review, I was interested even more. I love a good fully formed character with good background stories so this is definitely a book I might have to check out. Thanks for the review!

User avatar
CambaReviewer
Posts: 235
Joined: 29 Apr 2017, 05:44
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 50
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 32
Favorite Book: The Barnyard Buddies STOP for Peace
Currently Reading: When Leaves Fall
Bookshelf Size: 256
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cambareviewer.html
Latest Review: Who Hears While Not Listening? by Alim M. Bey
Location: Earth

Post by CambaReviewer » 07 Apr 2018, 01:51

This is a very thorough and well written review. This book is obviously not for the fainthearted. Sounds very interesting though. I will build up a little muscle and then read. 8) I like the plot. I was curious about the title. Your suggested title resonates with me! Well done!

User avatar
MollyEnter
Posts: 48
Joined: 12 Feb 2018, 21:56
2018 Reading Goal: 25
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 44
Currently Reading: Final Notice
Bookshelf Size: 35
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mollyenter.html
Latest Review: The Reel Sisters by Michelle Cummings
Location: Minnesota

Post by MollyEnter » 08 Apr 2018, 02:57

Thanks for this review. I'm excited to hear that you enjoyed the book because I am really interested in reading it. It sounds intense.
"No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself."

Virginia Woolf

User avatar
Libs_Books
Posts: 434
Joined: 13 Feb 2018, 12:54
Favorite Book:
Currently Reading: The Mathematician's Journey
Bookshelf Size: 207
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-libs-books.html
Latest Review: Home Economics for Girls by JP Wright
Location: UK

Post by Libs_Books » 10 Apr 2018, 13:18

In terms of content, this book sounds like a must-read, but I agree with you that the use of the present tense can be wearing and I don't like the idea of repetition much, but then the whole 'internal dialogue' thing sounds fascinating. I like the idea of a well-matched team, too - of course, in TV terms, that's a bit of a cliché but perhaps not quite so common in literature - more often a hero and a sidekick, I think. Thanks for a well-balanced review.

Eileen R
Posts: 225
Joined: 27 Nov 2017, 03:12
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 30
Currently Reading: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Bookshelf Size: 25
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-eileen-r.html
Latest Review: Heartaches 3 by H.M. Irwing
Location: Kenya

Post by Eileen R » 13 Apr 2018, 10:08

Thanks for the review. From the title, it's hard to know what the book is really about that's why I was so surprised to know that it's about the murders of Catholic priests. It's books like this that make me love this genre. From the review the book sounds intriguing. Great review

User avatar
Rosebella
Posts: 41
Joined: 07 Mar 2018, 06:09
2018 Reading Goal: 15
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 100
Favorite Author: J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison
Currently Reading: Purple panties
Bookshelf Size: 33
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-rosebella.html
Latest Review: Demon Freaks by J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison
fav_author_id: 96867
Location: Thika,kenya

Post by Rosebella » 13 Apr 2018, 13:05

The title is what intrigued me ,but after reading your review ,I think it down plays the story line .Sounds like a book ,I definitely be interested to read .thanks for great review.

User avatar
Agafs favour
Posts: 6
Joined: 10 Apr 2018, 06:58
2018 Reading Goal: 12
Currently Reading: Final Notice
Bookshelf Size: 17

Post by Agafs favour » 13 Apr 2018, 18:53

Yeah,the title's what caught my attention.Reading the review,i felt like i was already in the novel. I looooove the fact that it is going to be filled with lot of detective works and even maximum suspense

crediblereading2
Posts: 216
Joined: 19 Jan 2018, 13:32
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 15
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-crediblereading2.html
Latest Review: Heartaches 2 by H.M. Irwing

Post by crediblereading2 » 14 Apr 2018, 00:26

Now, this is the kind of thriller that I love. I am the detective solving this mystery while I read along. All the elements are there that will keep my eyes glued to the pages of this book.

Post Reply

Return to “Crime, Thrillers, Mystery and Horror Books”