Readalong Review: The Murder List by Jackie Kabler

Morning All,

Again, I’m saying happy Friday. I feel like every blog post I write is on a Friday or Saturday at the moment. I need to work harder to make time within the week to post more. I’ve had a lovely week taking part in this readalong. It’s been so much fun and taking part in the challenges on Instagram have helped take me outside of my comfort zone on socials.

Book πŸ“–

Thank you to @onemorechapterhc and @officialjackiekabler for this advanced copy of The Murder List in return for an honest review. Thank you also to @sarabethsbooks for organising such a fantastic blogger readalong. The Murder List is due to be published on 31st May 2022 and you can get a copy here.

Description πŸ”–

Mary Ellis is gifted a diary for Christmas that she completely casts to the side and forgets about. It’s not until she is having a clear out that she remembers her intention to send a thank you note to the anonymous sender and she finds that the diary isn’t actually new. It has entries.

1st January Murder Lisa, Oxford

1st February Murder Jane, Birmingham

1st March Murder David, Cardiff

1st April Murder Mary, Cheltenham

It’s already the end of January and after a quick confirmation, Mary knows that a woman named Lisa was murdered in Oxford on the 1st January. Is it a wild coincidence or is there a killer out there planning on carrying out this sick to do list? Either way, Mary has until the 1st April to find out for sure.

General Thoughts πŸ€”

Well this book is definitely one for being shocked and sucker punched. There was a huge twist around mid-way through that I didn’t see coming as well as the reveal at the end that took me by complete surprise. I loved the tension and suspense in The Murder List, it really did keep me hooked. So much so that I ended up being a bit naughty and jumping ahead of the readalong schedule as I just couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next.

One of the readalong challenges was to write down a prediction from day 2. I’ll include mine here;

I think that Pete and Megan are definitely up to something. Megan seems a little passive aggressive and there are some weird coincidental things that Pete seems to be involved with that make him suspicious to me. I don’t think that Edward or Satish are the killer(s) but I do think they have some kind of secret that they’re hiding from everyone. 

Obviously I won’t be giving away any spoilers (not my review style) but for those that have read the book or will read the book, you’ll probably have a good giggle at my prediction.

Characters πŸ‘«πŸ‘­πŸ‘¬

I’m going to find this section difficult to write without giving away any spoilers but I’ll give it a go anyway. Probably an unpopular opinion, but Mary kind of annoyed me. In the beginning I was all behind her and I think similar to her, I wouldn’t have been able to resist getting involved in the investigation. After a while, I thought that she kind of got a bit needy and it grated on me.

I disliked Pete throughout. I didn’t think he was a good friend to Mary but liked to wear a hero badge. I felt like he swooped in when it suited him and Mary really clung on to those moments. If he was a true friend he would have been there for her more.

There were so many other characters in the book that I could ramble on about but that would make for a very long review. On reflection, I don’t think I trusted any of them and that was probably the point. Whether they were planted as a red herring or not, they all had a secret and something to hide.

Writing Style ✍️

This is the first Jackie Kabler book that I’ve read and I can assure you that it won’t be the last. This author has a marvellous talent for creating suspicion. It was evident how well she had buried the secrets of this story deep, by the different speculations and predictions that were bouncing around in the blogger chat for the readalong. There is zero chill in this story and the short and sharp chapters helped with that I think. It was difficult to get to the end of a chapter and not want to read on.

As I always say, I love a story told from multiple perspectives and this one was no exception. The chapters were split between Mary’s perspective and the police force’s perspective. Both very different but equally engaging. I think the choice of different POVs was a fantastic balance for the book.

Conclusion & Scoring ✍️

After all of the above, it will be no surprise to anyone reading this that I loved this book. The writing and the story were fantastic and kept me as a reader hooked on every single chapter. Reading this alongside a group of other bloggers made it even more fun and if you have a buddy you can read along with, I’d definitely recommend doing so and playing the guessing games together.


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