Score: 91/100 (9.1 out of 10)
THE DEAD SPEAK!
Richard Goldman is a recently-deceased billionaire who has left behind a fortune, property, and an all-important will & testament. In these end-of-life documents, he named a number of people who meant something to him, key of which is his mysterious estranged grand-niece, Greta Goldman.
Now, if you're thinking this sounds a bit like The Testament by John Grisham, then you're right. It is a bit like that. However, rather than be fixated on a lawyer's point of view like Grisham was, this book focuses on Greta herself. Believe it or not, this adds to the intrigue because you're literally following the person in question to a point of realization.
Greta (or the protagonist we get to know as “Greta”) is a rather interesting character. She is a New York Times best-selling author with fame comparable to someone like Sarah J. Maas or Stephanie Meyer. However glamorous and idealistic as this might sound, when we first meet her she's under tremendous pressure from her publisher and fans to publish her next book, Give or Take. The author's life is a stressful life. It becomes even more stressful when Richard's mysterious death becomes of personal interest to her.
Richard didn't just die, he was murdered. And he wasn't murdered by just anyone, but a serial-killer who becomes known as the “Millionaire Club Killer”--a killer who specifically targets rich people. It turns out that Richard had a lot of people who loved and admired him, and he also had a fair share of people who hated and despised him. For example, it turns out that for all his success in various industries, he failed in the restaurant business, causing financial hardship and suffering for all involved. He also may have failed in some of his relationships, particularly as a parent and grandparent. Little by little, the mystery grows deeper and we become more and more intrigued.
At one point, we are struck by the possibility that the Greta we know is not Greta at all! Perhaps there are two Gretas! Or one Greta and an impostor!
It's seriously like an episode of Maury, complete with DNA tests and all! It also kinda reminded us of The Man in the Iron Mask in which there seems to be two people who share the same identity and are competing to be recognized as such for their own ends.
This book has as many twists and turns as a dangerous highway, and we love it for that.
Now, there was a little bit of silliness with this book. For example, some of the names are obvious inside jokes. There's Richard GOLDman (the dead rich guy), Detective MOODY, Detective REED (as in “Read”), Special Agent TURNER, Uncle BILLIE and Aunty JEAN (as in the Michael Jackson song), DAWN (as in the dawn of the morning) etc. You could even argue that Edith, like maybe Agnes, is such a classic elderly-woman's name. We had a few chuckles and laughs about these names.
This book is exciting in that it keeps you guessing about who is who and what is really going on. Why was Richard killed? Who killed him? Who is the real Greta and what does she want? Who is this enigmatic, socially-awkward Mallory? What does Mallory want? What is her story?
The one thing we did not like about this book was the ending. It felt like so much was built toward something the murders, yet we don't get a clear, satisfying conclusion to that. Either there will be a sequel or you might have to reread the whole book to pick up clues on your own. Your reaction to this will depend on the kind of reader you are: one who likes an ending that wraps everything up into a nice, neat bundle, or one who likes a ending that leaves things open-ended or up to your interpretation/imagination (like Castaway, perhaps).
You can check it out on Amazon!