A murder that rocked a British family 20 years ago comes to light again in this documentary style novel by Cara Hunter. Luke Ryder was found dead by Guy Howard (now a critically acclaimed filmmaker) at age 10. This story follows his documentary piece for a streaming platform. All characters in this novel are the family of Guy and investigators of this cold case. Hunter introduces all investigators with their resumes & news articles.

The producer asks Guy what’s his reasoning behind creating this documentary of his own family life and reliving the death of his stepfather. His answer? “I want to find the truth. Whatever that truth may be.” I can say without spoiling, the truth does come out after many twists and turns.

My rating for this book was 2 stars for a few reasons. The story was VERY interesting. The dynamic of having a family member investigate a murder of their step parent and finding out in “real time” the identity of the killer was fascinating. But the way this novel was written wasn’t for me. It read like a movie script or if I was reading the closed captioning. I felt immersed, but still found myself skipping parts to get to the actual story.

This brings me to my second reason. After about halfway, it started to become predictable. I had a feeling who the killer was about 70% in. There was a lot of unnecessary drama included (which all characters do mention). Even one of the investigators comments “This is starting to sound way too like Big Brotherish for my liking” and I couldn’t agree more. It was like crime trash TV in book form. 

Now, reading this, I thought it was going to be the setup of a normal novel. And to my surprise it wasn’t. The execution on HOW it’s written is good but it wasn’t written for my own liking. Hunter covers a lot of prejudices and how we as a society have changed in the last 20 years. I also feel like readers from the UK may understand the novel a little bit better? It was based in the UK, and some activities or society norms mentioned seemed far fetched to me. But that could be because I’m from the US.

Either way, this book appeals to the true crime lovers and those who binge (like myself) crime documentaries. It’s a good afternoon read, but the writing wasn’t a style I enjoyed.

Thank you William Morrow Paperbacks, NetGalley, and Cara Hunter for the access to this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

Logan 💋
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