I've had "The Appeal" sitting in my Netgalley queue for quite some time. I knew I'd get around to reading it but it wasn't until I saw one of my favorite crime book bloggers mention it on social media (if you're not following Crime By the Book, you need to, she is amazing!) did I pick it up.

I finished the book within two days and stayed up insanely late reading it. I couldn't put it down... I needed to immerse myself in this world and figure out what the crime was and who was responsible for it. 

"The Appeal" by Janice Hallett will be released on January 25th and I think every crime lover needs to read this book. You will not regret it. 

Publisher's Summary

The Fairway Players, a local theatre group, is in the midst of rehearsals when tragedy strikes the family of director Martin Hayward and his wife Helen, the play’s star. Their young granddaughter has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and with an experimental treatment costing a tremendous sum, their fellow castmates rally to raise the money to give her a chance at survival.

But not everybody is convinced of the experimental treatment’s efficacy—nor of the good intentions of those involved. As tension grows within the community, things come to a shocking head at the explosive dress rehearsal. The next day, a dead body is found, and soon, an arrest is made. In the run-up to the trial, two young lawyers sift through the material—emails, messages, letters—with a growing suspicion that a killer may be hiding in plain sight. The evidence is all there, between the lines, waiting to be uncovered.

My Thoughts

This is one of the most interesting books I've ever read in my life. It is exclusively told through emails, text messages, and transcripts. It definitely took some getting used to but once I got in the groove and realized who everyone was, I was entranced. 

It was a really interesting plot but I think what made it really interesting and made me want to find out more was the strange setup. When you were reading everyone's emails, you knew there were missing pieces and it was done purposely to make you curious about what was going to come next.

The strange thing about "The Appeal" was that even though it was a great book, with a unique perspective and point of view, none of the characters were really likable. I found myself annoyed by all of them, especially Issy who you knew was the lonely girl no one liked but I found her so horrible and odd. Reading her emails made me cringe yet I still felt bad for her.

Also, while reading, it was very apparent that something was off with the Haywards and the entire cancer story. I had that in my mind the entire time, which made the rest of the plot come together but the way everything played out, I didn't see any of it coming.

I knew there was a crime committed but I didn't know what and it wasn't clearly explained through the emails. I love when the point of the book is held really close to the chest... Hallett did that beautifully.

There were just so many things to enjoy about this book: the dynamics of the group, the setup, the back and forth of the investigators, and the sheer enjoyment of trying to figure out the story. You felt like you were in a game of Clue. It was like reading a story but playing a game at the same time. 

While I loved the setup of the book, I also really enjoyed the twist and turns of the story. You thought you knew what was happening but then it went a different way, or you were just constantly trying to guess where the story was going. It kept me on my toes and I enjoyed every second of it.

I can't get over how incredible this book was... if you're looking for a nontraditional crime novel, you will love "The Appeal".


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