3 out of 4 stars
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For the Man in White is an intriguing crime novel written by Tyler Martin Sehnal.
Six socialites get aboard a derelict ship at the dock in New England for a three-day all-expense-paid cruise through the United States. The cruise is an invitation from the captain of the ship extended to six people in celebration of his lifelong success.
Though each guest keeps mostly to himself/herself during the first two days of the cruise, all of them gather at the small hall to share their last meal together at their final night on board. The captain joins them at this last meal and offers a toast to each of the guests then returns to the ship’s wheelhouse.
The guests are left to enjoy their remaining time together until they have enough and retreat to their own accommodations. Shortly after, however, a gunshot is heard and the guests are shocked to find the captain dead, with blood trickling from his skull.
With the death of the only man capable of bringing the cruise to its end, the passengers are left to die either of starvation or frostbite. Among the stranded guests are a former star attraction in a bar, a thief, a teacher, a gardener, a police officer, and a foreigner. Who put an end to the life of the captain is anybody’s guess.
Told in the third-person perspective, this is a fast-paced and intriguing crime novel with seven chapters, each chapter for each guest, while the seventh chapter is about the Man in White, the captain of the ship. The book has a great premise and the intrigue is kept at high level until the very last chapter. An entire chapter is devoted to the life story of each guest. This technique allows the readers to know each character in a personal level, and lets them form their own opinion whether a particular character is capable of killing the captain or not. Each chapter is told alternately between narration of present events and flashbacks. A surprising revelation gives the plot an exciting twist that leads to a thought-provoking climax.
On one hand, the most important part of the book, for me, is the depiction of the characters’ weaknesses. The author adeptly illustrates the loneliness of isolation, the desperate need to make a contribution to the world, the hunger for recognition, the irrational need for order, the fervent desire for acknowledgement and acceptance, and the ardent longing for love and affection.
On the other hand, what I like most about the book is the portrayal of an extreme case of misunderstanding. The book presents the effects of such an issue and shows how that may lead to broken hearts and tragic lives.
Admittedly, I enjoyed this book a lot. However, other readers may find the alternating narrative between present and past events extremely confusing which may make the reading a less pleasurable experience. Moreover, I prefer a more conclusive ending. Finally, there are several noticeable errors within the entire book.
I, therefore, rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It is intriguing and thought-provoking. I recommend it to fans of crime novels.
For the Man in White
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