After years and years (and years) of seeing James Patterson’s name everywhere (and I mean EVERYWHERE), I FINALLY decided to buy one of his books. At an airport convenience store. During one of our many holiday layovers. And I’m not sorry. Nothing says “Happy New Year” like a good ‘ol (fictional) murder mystery 😜 Just kidding, there are obviously LOTS of things that say “Happy New Year” better than a scary thriller, but this blog is written and curated by someone who used to watch Are You Afraid of the Dark and X-Files as a child, so there you go 😝 Read on for my spoiler-free thoughts on The Murder House by James Patterson and David Ellis! …If you dare… Mwahahaha*COUGH**COUGH**embarrassingly clears throat*….
Suspense, Drama, Thriller, Mystery, Crime, FICTION (thank goodness! 😱)
This novel is definitely intended for a mature, adult audience, mainly due to its violent and sometimes gruesome content and overall creep-factor *shudder*. If you enjoy murder mysteries and crime thrillers (and aren’t immensely bothered by the occasional gory description), then it’s probably safe to say you’d most likely enjoy this.
Overview (from Barnes & Noble)
It has an ocean-front view, a private beach – and a deadly secret that won’t stay buried.
No. 7 Ocean Drive is a gorgeous, multi-million-dollar beachfront estate in the Hamptons, where money and privilege know no bounds. But its beautiful gothic exterior hides a horrific past: it was the scene of a series of depraved killings that have never been solved. Neglected, empty, and rumored to be cursed, it’s known as the Murder House, and locals keep their distance.
Detective Jenna Murphy used to consider herself a local, but she hasn’t been back since she was a girl. Trying to escape her troubled past and rehabilitate a career on the rocks, the former New York City cop hardly expects her lush and wealthy surroundings to be a hotbed of grisly depravity. But when a Hollywood power broker and his mistress are found dead in the abandoned Murder House, the gruesome crime scene rivals anything Jenna experienced in Manhattan. And what at first seems like an open and shut case turns out to have as many shocking secrets as the Murder House itself, as Jenna quickly realizes that the mansion’s history is much darker than even the town’s most salacious gossips could have imagined. As more bodies surface, and the secret that Jenna has tried desperately to escape closes in on her, she must risk her own life to expose the truth – before the Murder House claims another victim.
The Hamptons. Not really sure I wanna visit anymore 😅
TMH has a bevy of intriguing, intricate, and complex characters. One thing I love about mysteries is trying to figure out each character’s motivations and Patterson/Ellis definitely provided an impressive puzzle to solve.
What I Liked
Where to start…
I thought TMH was very interestingly written. The style was very different from what I’m used to (YA fiction and fantasy) and reminded me of my Michael Crichton days. (MC was one of my favorites before I switched over to YA and fantasy…now that I think about it, I’m not quite sure what caused that transition. Was I really reading Crichton as a teen? 🤔 And now am reading Young Adult as a twenty-something? 🤔 Nothing wrong with that, but something for me to ponder at another time).
I also really enjoyed the alternating perspectives. It allowed us to see the mystery from different characters’ points of view, which both helped and hindered the actual solving of said-mystery. Patterson/Ellis also incorporated time jumps, which were a little hard to get used to, but ultimately helped move the story and plot along.
I love solving (or trying to solve) puzzles and this book definitely kept me on my toes. Every time I thought I had a grip on the situation, I was thrown completely off-kilter. Discombobulated, if you will. As a result, although one of my (many) theories proved true, I was never totally certain. Of anything. These guys clearly have the art of misdirection down pat. *slow clap*
What I Liked A Little Less
About those alternating perspectives-
I haaaaated reading from the killer’s perspective. HATED it. It was just UBER creepy. And painfully disturbing. But! Those are my personal feelings and not related at all to the quality of the story or the authors’ ability to convey the plot. I mean, maybe if Patterson/Ellis were less-awesome authors, I wouldn’t have been as creeped out as I was? But then the entire thing would’ve fallen flat anyway. Fortunately/Unfortunately, they both are indeed awesome authors. So, scare-factor is wholly intact.
The Murder House gets 4/5 stars! It was a great book over all – well written, great mystery, interesting characters – but, ultimately, I was still left with some questions about certain characters. Okay, just one character, really. Not necessary or essential questions. Just…questions. I’ll definitely be reading other works in the future. Also! I saw an advertisement (and keep seeing the advertisement, because the internet is obviously spying on my book inquiries) about Patterson’s MasterClass, so if you’re a fan, you might want to check it out 👍