I have previously read one of James Patterson's novels, the first book in the highly acclaimed Maximum Ride series. And I thought I wouldn't enjoy it, as the book didn't grip me from the beginning, but in the end it turned out to be four stars, quite a high rating. When Random House offered me a chance to review Confessions of a Murder Suspect for them I jumped at the chance, even though I am squeamish, and seeing as Confessions of a Murder Suspect has murder in it, I didn't know if things would pan out well. Surprisingly they did.
Confessions of a Murder Suspect showed us how abnormal Tandy (and her siblings') lives were. It stretched from her parents being emotionless, robotic like humans, disciplining their children with unnecessary punishments, feeding them "vitamins" daily, growing them into super-geniuses, children with an I.Q. like Einstein and talents similar to the likes of Picasso and Mozart. Malcolm and Maud Angel let their kids live a life that was protected and sheltered, so that the children weren't allowed to taste even the slightest amount of freedom on their thirsty tongues. They were kept away from parties, from friends, from boys, from girls, from normality. The Angel children are without a doubt damaged, the product of their parents' high, and impossible demands.
The Angel family live in the Dakota, a building in New York where only the most secretive and most elite people reside. Only people who live in one of the apartments can have access into their own room, so when the Angel parents were found murdered, a ripple of shocked passed through everyone. Could one of the most prestigious couples really have been murdered in the safety of their own home, in the Dakota? Seeing as there was no forced entry, nothing stolen and nothing broken, the cops handling the case started suspecting the the four kids Malcolm and Maud Angel had left behind, as the culprits in a double homicide. Confessions of a Murder Suspect is about Tandy solving the mystery, working to turn the killer in, even if it turns out to be one of her brothers. Or herself.
The Angel children are damaged. They are different, but not for the right reasons. They were moulded into the people they are today. Malcolm and Maud controlled their lives, controlled the process of moulding their kids into robotic, emotionless, genius children. The Angel parents didn't view their children as children, more like experiments. Testing numerous "vitamins" on them, leaving them with the inability to feel, to cry, to hate, to love.
The four main characters are sixteen year old Tandy and her twin brother Harry, ten year old Hugo and big brother Matthew.
Tandy is sixteen years old. She was the last one to see her parents alive and that was when she received a Big Chop. The name for punishment in the Angel household. Tandy is calm and collected, bred that way to focus on facts, compress her feelings and have complete control. Tandy is our narrator, she speaks directly to us, the reader. Never revealing too much information at a time. I love it how James Patterson wrote it on a personal level, as if Tandy is addressing me, trusting me and telling me her tragic, mysterious and suspicious story. I liked Tandy. She was a distinctive character that stood out amongst others. I loved how she was set out to find the killer of her parents, even if it turned out to be one of her beloved brothers or herself. Something that bugged me slightly about Tandy is when she lost control. When she wasn't that emotionless person. It did indeed make her more human when she cried and shouted, but it didn't seem to suit her. Its quite difficult to explain, but there wasn't a smooth transition from her being robotic like, and then turning into a hysteric teenager, therefore I didn't fully adjust to her being this new person.
I also was horrified at some of the things that had happened to her in her sixteen years. When she confessed some secrets, I could understand how she was broken inside. I could understand the painful events that had once turned her world upside down. When I read some of the stuff she experienced, I felt bad for her. She deserved a normal life.
Matthew is the oldest brother. He detested his parents, and moved out of the Angel apartment as soon as he could. Matty is the NFL star. He is famous. He has a reputation to withhold. But since he really detested his parents, he was a prime suspect. Although I didn't completely warm up to Matthew, I didn't dislike him either. He was a great big brother to his siblings, especially to Hugo, Hugo who is his biggest fan. Matthew was, in my eyes, the prime suspect as he use to continuously repeat how he detested his parents...
Harry was my favourite next to Tandy! He was the sensitive one, the one with emotions, the one that Malcolm viewed as damaged. None of the Angel's are allowed to express emotion, they were bred that way. I loved how Harry showed how he felt, I loved how he expressed his sadness to the world, not keeping it in like he had been taught to. When they also described the Angel parents had disrespected him. Saying he shouldn't be playing the piano, how his art wasn't good enough. When I heard that I felt so blisteringly angry. Harry was respected by whoever heard him play, and he's own parents wouldn't accept him for who he was.
I also adored Hugo, the youngest Angel. He was ten years old, built like a tank, and as strong as an ox. Even thought he was this strong little big boy, you could still see he was just a child in the way he acted, and didn't deserve to be going through such turmoil at such a young age.
I enjoyed getting to know the characters and finding out more of the secrets hidden within in the apartment's boundaries.
I love mystery novels, in fact, when I first started reading, the mystery genre was my favourite. Every Saturday I use to go to the library and get out any books that were mystery books or had detective work in it. The mystery books I use to take out were the Secret Seven books and Famous Five books written by Enid Blyton. I still have most of her books, she was a great writer and her books were a large part of my childhood. Now being older, I don't enjoy mystery books as much, as the majority of them contain gruesome scenes about the murders and I don't enjoy books that are filled with doom and gloom. So before I started reading it (I felt quite wary, I wasn't sure it there would be a lot of blood in it and grotesque imagery) I asked my dear, lovely, bookish father, if he could read it before me, just to make sure I wouldn't have a major freak out if I came upon a disturbing scene. As he was reading I kept asking them if there was any major grossness and he said NO! :D When he eventually finished the book, he said, that overall, it was a very clean, not-too-gruesome book. And when I finally read it and completed the book, I was so glad that he was right! Confessions of a Murder Suspect is a mystery novel that keeps you hooked and has you consistently keeping an eagle-eye out for all the characters in case they are the guilty culprit. There was one scene that was a bit descriptive and that was when they were portraying how the Angel parents looked when they were found deceased, but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be.
Confessions of a Murder Suspect is great for any murder mystery lover, however, if you are a person that enjoys an intricate plot, detailed imagery of the victims of a homicide in their murdered state and a shocking ending that you would never have expected, Confessions of a Murder Suspect might disappoint you if you have high expectations from reading other outstanding murder mystery novels. However, if you are like me, and you want to enjoy a murder novel that isn't to heavy, Confessions of a Murder Suspect is a great contender. I did slightly expect the ending, which left me a tad disappointed but I did find it a, happy, round off.
A lot of people that have read Confessions of a Murder Suspect say that they were disappointed by the ending, and I can understand that. James Patterson built up, from the beginning, that Malcolm and Maud were these cruel, unloving people, that treated their kids not like children, but like an experiment. The ending (which I had predicted in the beginning) didn't seem to add up to the descriptions he had placed of the parents throughout the whole book. I was expecting a shocking, tragic ending but unfortunately that was not to be the case. Me and my dad discussed the ending, and he agreed. Then I discussed the ending with one of my best friends that had bought the book, and she thought it was a nice ending. It was a sweet ending, but perhaps too sweet for this particular book. It didn't tie in with what we had been told.
There also seemed to be a few plot holes. We find out that Tandy was fell in love with a boy when she attended a teenage party that she was not allowed to be at, leading to her being out of control, running away, going to rehab etc, but we weren't given a full insight into it which was utterly frustrating at times. I also thought he would have a bigger part in the story but alas it was not to be.
I love the way the book is set out though. There are short chapters that can have you saying just one more chapter, which then inevitably leads to you finishing half the book before you know it. I also enjoyed reading Tandy's "Confessions", the Confessions chapters led to the readers finding out more about the dark, sinister happenings that were going undetected to the public in the Angel house hold. Some of the things that Tandy confessed were shocking and it thrilled me whenever I learnt something new about this mysterious, rich, secretive, disturbed family.
James Patterson is also a very good writer, his writing draws you in and doesn't let you go until you've read the last word. When I started reading Confessions of a Murder Suspect, I couldn't stop. I took it with me everywhere and read it whenever I had a chance too.
Although the ending didn't quite thrill me, there were a mass of happenings that I wasn't expecting, and on numerous occasions I was jumping up and down, shaking everyone saying that I could not believe that what had just happened! Patterson definitely threw in amazing revelations that astounded me. So thumbs up for that!
Confessions of a Murder Suspect was yet another fantastic novel by the brilliant James Patterson. Confessions of a Murder Suspect had me shocked and speechless, it had me wondering suspiciously who the killer was. The oldest child, a NFL star that said openly announced he despised his parents? Tandy, the brainiac, the only girl, the one that never displays her emotions? Harry, the sweet, seemingly-innocent, sensitive one? Or, last of all, Hugo. The youngest Angel that is stronger than a man double his size. You will wrack your brains and add up all the clues, trying to find out who the killer was. Confessions of a Murder Suspect will have you unable to put it down. A must read that any murder mystery lover will enjoy!
I give it: 4/5 CUPCAKES!