I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the debut novel by Janice Hallett, The Appeal, on my blog today. With thanks to Viper Books for sending me a copy to review.
In a town full of secrets…
Someone was murdered.
Someone went to prison.
And everyone’s a suspect.
Can you uncover the truth?
Dear Reader – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death.
Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed.
Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered.
Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth?
The Appeal by Janice Hallett is one of the most original crime novels I’ve read in a long while. It’s told in a unique way, and it invites the reader to see if they can solve a mystery. If you’re looking for something that is different in the crime fiction genre, you definitely need to read this. Someone was murdered. Someone was erroneously imprisoned. Who is the guilty party?
When I did start reading, I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure how I would get on with the style in which the book was written. But after the first couple of pages had passed, I was utterly gripped, and I thought the story was told in a really clever and creative way.
A Drama group, run by a man named Martin Hayward, is setting up to stage a production of All My Sons. But this is soon thrown into chaos when he receives the devastating news that his granddaughter, Poppy, has a rare form of cancer. The Haywards, with the help of the members of the drama group, launch an appeal to raise money for treatment, which Poppy’s family believe is the best hope for her survival. The treatment is currently going through trials in America and is not available in the UK and won’t be for years, perhaps ever. But raising the much needed funds, the family need isn’t going to be easy. As the group starts exchanging their thoughts over email and text, the true colours of some group members are revealed.
I don’t want to say much more about the plot, as it is best to go into this book with very little information, but there are some devious and compelling characters. The dialogue between the members of the group was very believable. Even though we don’t get any descriptions of the characters, I managed to picture them in my mind as I was reading. Their voices were also very distinct. As I said, this book invites you to solve the mystery. I didn’t guess who would be murdered and who the culprit was, but I had some idea as to where the plot was heading. This is one of those novels which you’ll want to discuss once you have read it. It’ll make the perfect book club read.
I also think that when you have finished reading this book, you’ll want to go back to the beginning again and see where Janice Hallett planted all her clues. I had suspicions about quite a few characters. This is one of those novels which will really get you thinking.
The Appeal grips you very early on and you’ll be desperate to find out who the person is who gets murdered and who the culprit is. The clues are all there. You definitely need to add this to your TBR pile; there’s going to be a lot of people talking about this book in the coming months. I loved it.
Publication date: 14th January 2021
Print length: 432 pages
The Appeal is available to buy: