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The Eighth Detective

The Eighth Detective, August 2020
by Alex Pavesi

Henry Holt and Co.
304 pages
ISBN: 125075593X
EAN: 9781250755933
Kindle: B07YRL92MK
Hardcover / e-Book
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"Warning: Novel approach is intriguing but doesn’t quite deliver..."

Fresh Fiction Review

The Eighth Detective
Alex Pavesi

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry
Posted July 29, 2020

Mystery | Thriller Crime

The promotional blurb for THE EIGHTH DETECTIVE seduces mystery lovers.

Julia Hart, an editor at Blood Type Books, reaches out to Grant McAllister, a mathematics professor, and requests permission to republish his book on the four ingredients that comprise a murder mystery. Julia finds inconsistencies in Grant’s work and arranges a personal visit to discuss her perceptions with the author and his willingness to republish his book, The White Murders.

And then, the reader begins the journey. The first chapter is a short mystery, followed by “The First Conversation,” the second chapter, that consists of a discussion between Julia and Grant about the short story and the professor’s paper “The Permutations of Detective Fiction.”

The novel continues, alternating a short mystery with a “conversation” about the story, for a total of seven stories and subsequent “conversations.”  Unfortunately, the short mysteries are not well-done. The “conversations” between Julia and Grant are a little more engaging as Julia seems to be probing while Grant is always somewhat elusive.

After The Final Conversation, two chapters remain - The First Ending and The Second Ending. In less than ten pages, the reveal makes the challenge of pushing through this book somewhat worth the effort. While there is an audience for this type dissection of murder mysteries, what is missing in THE EIGHTH DETECTIVE are well-drawn characters participating in an absorbing story. Eagerly anticipating this aggressively publicized book, the reality is little less stellar.

 

Learn more about The Eighth Detective

SUMMARY

There are rules for murder mysteries. There must be a victim. A suspect. A detective.

Grant McAllister, a professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked all the rules out – and wrote seven perfect detective stories to demonstrate. But that was thirty years ago. Now Grant lives in seclusion on a remote Mediterranean island, counting the rest of his days.

Until Julia Hart, a brilliant, ambitious editor knocks on his door. Julia wishes to republish his book, and together they must revisit those old stories: an author hiding from his past and an editor keen to understand it.

But there are things in the stories that don’t add up. Inconsistencies left by Grant that a sharp-eyed editor begins to suspect are more than mistakes. They may be clues, and Julia finds herself with a mystery of her own to solve.

Alex Pavesi's The Eighth Detective is a love letter to classic detective stories with a modern twist, where nothing is as it seems, and proof that the best mysteries break all the rules.


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