Thursday, September 12, 2019

Canadian Mystery Not All That Thrilling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

For the MacAllister kids, summers always revolved around Camp Macaw, the business their parents have run for years.  Now that the elder MacAllisters have died, their children—now adults—are reuniting for the reading of their father's will and to figure out what to do with the prime property on which Camp Macaw sits.  With varying feelings about the camp, their parents, and each other, the five MacAllister siblings have different ideas about what to do with the land.  Prepared for some heavy debating, the kids are nevertheless shocked by the caveat their father gives in his will.  Before any of them can do anything with Camp Macaw they have to work together to solve a mystery.  

Twenty years ago, the bludgeoned body of 17-year-old Amanda Holmes was found in a rowboat at Camp Macaw.  The crime has never been solved.  Until it is, none of the MacAllisters can collect their inheritances.  

As the MacAllisters dig into their collective past, they will unearth long-kept secrets that will either bring them together or tear them apart forever.

I love a good secrets-from-the-past-haunting-the-present story, so the plot summary of I'll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie instantly caught my attention.  Unfortunately, the novel's execution doesn't quite live up to the promise of its tantalizing premise.  The mystery is compelling enough, but the characters are almost wholly unlikable and the plot is predictable enough that I guessed the culprit almost from the beginning.  Plus, the story is seriously depressing.  Overall, then, I didn't end up loving this one.  It ended up being just okay for me.

(Readalikes:  A hundred titles should be coming to mind, but I'm drawing a blank.  Help?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language, violence, depictions of illegal drug use, and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of I'll Never Tell from the generous folks at Lake Union Publishing via those at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

11 comments:

  1. The whole premise of this one seems a little off to me. Maybe it's explained in the book, but the whole thing makes me wonder why the old man didn't do something more to solve the murder while he was alive. That's quite a can of worms to ask your heirs to open up and explore on your behalf.

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    1. It's explained better in the book, but the premise is still a bit far-fetched.

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  2. I read this one several weeks ago and agree with you. I've read other stories by this author that I liked a lot better. The characters were annoying and I spotted the guilty party almost immediately. That happens and doesn't spoil a books for me as I like to see the puzzle solved, but yes, not her best work IMHO.

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    1. Really? Maybe I just started with the wrong book by this author then. I'll have to try one of her others and see how it compares.

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  3. Seriously depressing? And predictable? Shoot. This one's been on my TBR list since it came out. Now I'm not sure I want to read it.

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    1. Yeah, I thought it was both. Which doesn't mean you won't, though! If you do read it, let me know what you think.

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  4. If I don't like the characters, a book is a tough sell.

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    1. Agreed. I don't have to necessarily understand a character or agree with their every decision, but I have to feel SOME warmth for them or I just don't care what happens to them, you know?

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  5. This sounds amazing so it's too bad that it didn't live up to the premise. I can probably deal with predictable if it's a quick suspenseful read but throw in the depressing and I think I'm probably out!

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    1. Yeah, I thought the premise sounded intriguing even if it's far-fetched. And, yes, I can deal with some predictability as well, but between the unlikable characters, the too-obvious killer, and the depressing vibe, it just didn't work very well for me. I didn't hate the book, but I didn't like it all that well either.

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  6. Too bad the actual story didn't measure up to the blurb. Nice honest review Susan. I get disappointed when the story is too telegraphed. Better luck with you current read.

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