I now have two things to thank Carl of http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com/ for 1) hosting RIP and 2) posting his currently reading book because I took one look at that cover and clicked through to the description. Having read that, I knew this had to be one of my RIP reads.
Well? Isn’t that a fabulous cover? And the book is much fun. At least most of the way. A., a twenty-somthing European cousin of Ambrose Wells, an American eccentric who jumped out a window, and his mute teenage companion Niamh (pronounced Neev, which he doesn’t bother telling you until 80% through the book. Why tell me then? I’m having a heck of a time getting the wrong pronunciation out of my head!) (And it’s not a critical plot point or anything.) come to America to see the house he’s inherited. They are swept up in the mystery of their cousin’s strange way of life — coded messages, a missing butler, the suicide, which duplicated his father’s, a ghost, and a mysterious meeting of some sort of secret society. What’s going on? Who can they trust? How can they uncover the carefully hidden secrets of Axton house and the Wells family?
It is unusual for me to read a book so recently published (August). The book is written as a series of letters, diary entries and transcripts (the whole reason for Niamh being mute, I believe, though why is she 17? That adds a bit of the wrong kind of creepiness and it just wasn’t necessary.) Some people on Amazon had difficulty with the format. I did not. So, 80% of the book is pretty pure fun with violence kept to a minimum. It’s a treasure hunt and a puzzle. I don’t want to spoil the end, of course. Something about it didn’t quite work for me, but I’m not even sure what. It kinda comes out of left field. Abruptly you’re thrown into a very different book. It doesn’t feel like it grew organically from what had been planted earlier, but more an act of desperation on the part of an author who doesn’t know how to end what is otherwise a very entertaining story with some interesting ideas. It did leave me with some questions which I can’t ask without revealing too much. Overall, I’d highly recommend it.
It’s also good for a number of challenges. Edgar Cantero is from Barcelona, so it fits the Spanish challenge. I chose it from the cover which is one of the 14 things. It’s also partly written in letters which I think allows it to count for the Postal challenge. Just noticed this published an hour ago. D’oh!