Monday, 17 December 2012

Mystery Review: 'Brilliant Prey' by Brenda Wallace

The pundits say that the opening of a book is the most important part to captivate the reader, and I suppose it’s just as important as a way of losing the reader, too. So it is with this book. I had only got to page 2 and I was floored by a simple puzzle. Our heroine receives a letter which contains six hangman puzzles, which she and her sister proceed to solve in no time - all by themselves. Forgive me for being stupid, but isn't hangman a game where both sides, originator and guesser, have to participate? It's not like a cryptic crossword puzzle, where the whole point is to deduce the answer by yourself.

So that set me off on the wrong foot straight away. Then there were a bunch of new characters introduced, a lot of brand-name dropping (do we need to know the heroine has a Gateway computer?) and then more puzzles... And I couldn't get interested because half my mind was still trying to get past the hangman incident. Now maybe there’s some ingenious way to play a one-sided game that I don’t know about, and if someone explains it to me I’ll give this book another go, but for now it’s just too off-putting for me to concentrate on the rest of it. Lots of people seem to like this, so I guess it’s just me. One star for a DNF.

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