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The Appeal: The smash-hit bestseller

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In the last quarter of the book Femi and Charlotte help us out with a review of what they’ve learned which is so useful not least because they’re are a lot of characters to get your head around! Their two year old granddaughter, Poppy Reswick has been diagnosed with Medulloblastoma-a rare form of brain cancer. While I think this novel could shed a few pages, my interest never waned, and I needed to find out what was going on.

This aspect of the book reminded me of the brilliant suspense novel, The Little Lie (1968) by Jean Potts.And it STILL wasn't over after that, as they both changed their minds yet again with last minute evidence. Whispered about in the shadows as one of their own attempts to separate fact from fiction, it isn’t until the dress rehearsal when things explode in a very real fashion. The Fairway Players, a local theatre group run by this family, is central to the story as are the goings on at the local hospitals. The standout debut thriller of 2021 that delivers multiple brilliant twists, and will change the way you think about the modern crime novel. Matters are thrown into disarray when young Poppy is diagnosed with a brain tumour, which leads to crowdfunding efforts and a campaign to raise funds, an appeal for lifesaving experimental drugs from the United States, with the support of Clinical Consultant Oncologist, Dr Tish Bhatoa.

Given the length of the book, the author wisely disperses new plot twists and turns effectively without revealing too soon which path the overall narrative will take, and this is helped by the fact that actions often have more than one interpretation. This mystery is a superb top drawer attention holder as good as the best of Agatha Christie; but that wasn't enough for Janice Hallett, Janice takes a long dark look at close-knit hierarchal communities, local fundraising, digital communications and joy-beyond-joy the creation, management and possible repercussions of digitally-based conspiracy. I’m going to try to keep reading and reviewing, but I will probably have to step back quite a bit from the commenting/social aspect of the site. I thought it quite clever the way the messages could be read in different ways and was upset with myself when I realized that I had missed several big clues (just by not noticing certain things about the messages).

The reader is put in the place of a member of the defense team for a potentially wrongfully accused murder suspect, and has to sort through correspondence of the involved players leading up to, and just after, the murder to see if they can solve the mystery. Her debut, The Appeal, was awarded the CWA Debut Dagger of 2021 and was a Sunday Times’ Bestseller, Waterstones’ Thriller of the Month and Sunday Times’ Crime Book of the Month.

Didn't know what to expect from it but I picked it up when I woke up this morning and literally did not put it back down until I finished it a few minutes ago. They are kept in the dark initially as to the true nature of the case and it is best that readers go in without all of the details as well. As others have mentioned before me, Hallett is not the first to create a mystery comprised only of written communications between different people. But not everybody is convinced of the experimental treatment’s efficacy—or of the good intentions of those involved. Janice Hallett's The Appeal is definitely a fun change of pace in the standard Murder Mystery genre.No matter how much I love them or how interesting they are, I do not ever enjoy reading books with THAT many characters. Couldn't help feeling the author got the idea for how to present it but didn't really have an idea for a story. A local theatre group, The Fairway Players, are getting ready for Arthur Miller’s play, All My Sons, when tragedy strikes the family of Martin Hayward, the director, and his wife, Helen, the play’s star. At first, I was intimidated by all the names of the many persons sending and receiving these communications, but soon I became completely engaged in the case and riveted to the pages.

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