Book: Murder Suicide
Author: Keith Ablow
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Is it murder or suicide? I think a little bit of both when it comes to Keith Ablow’s book Murder Suicide, the fifth out of six fiction books in his Detective Frank Clevenger series. But how can a book be both? I wasn’t sure either, but oh dear reader, I am now a believer… it can be done.
The story starts out with famous inventor and genius John Snow being scheduled to have experimental brain surgery. Right before the surgery he is found dead in an alley by the hospital with a single gunshot wound to the chest. Detective Frank Clevenger, a forensic psychiatrist living near Boston, Massachusetts, is called in to figure out if it was murder or suicide. He digs into Snow’s life discovering a bunch of disgruntled people who may have wanted him dead. Including his own family. But Snow had a secret, a big one that may change everything. Now Clevenger, dealing with his own troubles, must make a determination before it’s too late.
Sounds intriguing, right? I thought so. But don’t be fooled. If you’re looking for an action packed page turner, then look elsewhere. Because here’s where the author kills his book. For a thriller, I’m expecting suspense and the story to keep moving. Instead, there’s little action and a great deal of cerebral discussion that’s filled with psychobabble (which I love, but I still call it psychobabble), heavy medical terms and most of the time no context for figuring it out. If you’re not familiar with this kind of stuff I could see it being a little confusing. And in certain parts I had to push through as my interest waned with the redundancy and textbook feel. I had enough of textbooks in college… entertain me, damn it.
But I’m not entirely sure the author is fully responsible for murdering his book. Perhaps the story took on a life of its own and killed itself in the end. Because the ending was a stretch. A rather large stretch and I had to read it a second time to make sure I understood where he was going with it. Not something I usually do, if that says anything.
So why should you bother reading this book? Well, he does a good job of examining the psychology of the characters and delving into their minds trying to interpret their behaviors. Kind of like profiling. To me, that’s very interesting and I would like more of that. Just not in the textbook manner it’s delivered. Otherwise if you’re just looking for a good read give it a try. I’ve read all five of his fiction books consecutively with the sixth and final one to go. My favorite by far was the fourth Psychopath. That one I highly recommend. But that’s for another post. This one however… I could take it or leave it. To me, it’s more of a book for a rainy day when you have nothing to do. Decent story, but I wouldn’t put off something just to read it. It wasn’t that good.
If you’ve read the book let me know what you think… was the story murdered or did it commit suicide?