Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Fruitcake Murders - Ace Collins

Title:               The Fruitcake Murders
Author:            Ace Collins
Publisher:        Abingdon Press
Market:           General
Genre:             Fiction, Mystery
Length:            320 pages
Pub. Date:       October 6, 2015

Description (from Amazon):

As Christmas 1946 draws near, thirty-something marine officer-turned-homicide detective Lane Walker has his hands full. Three men with seemingly no relationship to each other have been murdered, including the powerful District Attorney. The only connection between the crimes? The weapons: twenty-year-old unopened fruitcake tins manufactured by a company that is no longer in business.

While some foods may be to die for, fruitcake isn't one of them! This heaping helping of murder will be no easy task for Walker, and he certainly doesn't need the determined and feisty Betsy Clayton, the political reporter for The Chicago Herald, getting in the way.

Employing witty dialogue and historical accuracy, The Fruitcake Murders offers equal parts murder, mystery, and mayhem in a perplexing whodunit set in the days just after World War II.

My Review:

I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy via the publisher at NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I picked this book as I was in the mood for a good mystery.  And, hello, the author’s name is “Ace Collins;” how cool is that?  Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed in the actuality of the novel.

The first turn-off was all of the issues with the text.  Several of the time stamps were off or out of order or didn’t jive with the content of that section.  There were many contradictions and inconsistency as well as poor grammar, misplaced words and missing quotation marks.   As a former English teacher (as well as having a penchant for details), all of those things strongly affect my overall reading experience even if the story itself is exceptional.

Also, just the whole tone of the book was a bit over the top for me.  I think the author was going for a “classic Dick Tracy movie” type feel with the swapping between first and last name usage, trying on the 1940’s vernacular, etc.  But it just didn’t work.  And the continued reference to how good looking, gorgeous, and handsome everyone was drove me a bit batty.  Even with some of the content and the date/time tags, it was hard to remember the historical setting of the book.

That being said, I think the mystery itself has good bones.  While I was pretty certain “whodunit” by the end, I was waffling between a few different possibilities for most of the book. 

The characters were definitely very character-y.  They were entertaining but hard to get attached to.  And the love triangle was flat ridiculous. 

The start of the story had me fairly lost.  However, I think that’s pretty typical of mystery books. That’s what helps make them mysterious.  So I was okay with it.  Especially as the book kept me guessing through most of it.  I changed my thoughts on the murderer a couple of times throughout the course of reading.  That always makes it more enjoyable. 

I don’t recall any spiritual or supernatural elements.  If they were there, I missed them.  As far as questionable content, there are murders.  But I think any reader would expect that from the title.  I really can’t think of any particular triggers this book might contain for a more sensitive or conservative reader.  Even the descriptions of the murder scenes were pretty tame.

Readers who enjoy easy to read mysteries would like this story as well.  There were actually a few different mysteries to be solved throughout.  However, I don’t know that I’ll be rushing out to buy the next thing Ace Collins writes.  Maybe, though. 

***This review is also posted on The Christian Manifesto and my Goodreads account.***

·       Good mystery elements
·       Kept me guessing
·       Easy to read

·       Grammatical errors
·       Inconsistencies and contradictions
·       Annoying character interactions

My Rating:  2.5 out of 5  (I feel like it was poor from a grammatical and consistency standpoint.  But as the mystery itself was good, I’ll give it a 2.5 for average)

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