2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
D.J. Adamson’s Admit to Mayhem follows Lillian Dove, a recovered alcoholic with more than a few skeletons in her closet, as stumbles into the echoes of a 60-year-old cold case. Just when Lillian thinks she’s finally got her life back together – sobriety, a decent job, a good man – everything starts falling apart. When she tries to help an unknown person trapped in a burning house, she becomes the sole witness to what the police believe to be arson. It gets stranger: a house on the very same lot went up in flames in another arson case sixty years before. Could it really be a coincidence? Soon, the whole town is awash with rumors and secrets, and as Lillian tries to piece things together, she must also face the ghosts of her own past.
Admit to Mayhem has the makings of a captivating mystery thriller, but the ending left a bad taste in my mouth. As much as I enjoyed the first half of the book, I have to rate it 2 out of 4 stars.
I’ll start with the positive: I loved Lillian. She’s a flawed yet strong character, facing all of her problems (whether they’re of her own making or not) and trudging through them as best she can. She kept her chin up even as her work, her relationships, and her family were unraveling around her, and I was rooting for her the whole way through. She’s troubled, sarcastic, and more than a little bitter, but she’s still absolutely relatable, and I loved her acerbic humor.
Plus, the story is told from her point of view, so her voice immediately leaped off the page and drew me in. I also got to see the mystery unfold through her eyes – there were scenes in the book that took place entirely within Lillian’s head as she thought back to the clues she’d picked up and tried to piece them together. The author did an excellent job pacing these introspective sections so that they didn’t bog down the action or get repetitive.
Unfortunately, as great as the main character was, the whodunit just wasn’t up to par. When I finally got through all the twists and turns of the plot and came face-to-face with the guilty party, it wasn’t so much an “Aha!” moment as it was a “Wait, seriously?” moment. The motive ascribed to the ‘villain,’ so to speak, felt like a huge reach, or at least a massive overreaction. It wasn’t believable at all. I’d been really invested in the story up until that point, so it was quite a disappointment to have the mystery fall apart like that.
On top of that, there were numerous typos and punctuation errors plaguing the novel. They got worse as the story went on, as if the ending was written in a rush, and they became pretty distracting by the end. Another pass by a proofreader would do this book wonders.
At the end of the day, I really wanted to love this book, but the plot issues were just too much for me. I don’t want to give it a one-star rating because of how much I enjoyed everything up until the climax, but I know that it will leave some readers unsatisfied. Admit to Mayhem gets 2 out of 4 stars, but I’ll still be on the lookout for more from this author.
Admit to Mayhem: Lillian Dove Mystery
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like BookishCreature's review? Post a comment saying so!