Review of A Novel Way to Die by Karen Hanson Stuyck
A Novel Way to Die
by Karen Hanson Stuyck
A Novel Way to Die is wholly unremarkable, but that is not necessarily bad. While by no means a stunning and suspenseful example of the mystery genre, it was pleasant and entertaining enough.
I enjoyed the choice of a protagonist. So many sleuths are cops, retired cops, ex-cops, private investigators, or nosey kids. It was refreshing to see a criminologist try to solve the mystery. However, I would have liked to see more of the criminology aspect. Karen Stuyck throws a bit in there, but not as much as I'd have liked.
Most of the characters were interesting (if not entirely believable). Aspects of the family dynamic weren't great: Molly (the protagonist) is having marital problems, but the rest of the plot largely sidetracks this part of the story. It has a bearing, but it feels extraneous to the mystery.
The mystery itself is predictable. Stuyck makes one suspect seem very probably the culprit, but I knew it was a red herring. I guessed the real killer about halfway through--normally I'm not good at guessing whodunit, which may indicate how transparent a mystery this is. The killer catches up to the protagonist and her family, and Molly has to think quickly to save her loved ones from a psychopath.
This book won't change your perceptions of the mystery genre. It will, however, level your coffee table--and thanks to that horrible permabound binding that I despise, it'll never fail at this task. Oh, and you can read it too!