Title: The Appeal
Author: Janice Hallett
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 51
(see below for breakdown)
Dear Reader – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death.
Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed.
Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered.
Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth?
This was fantastic! It is the best utilisation of mixed media format that I have come across. As the reader you are on the same knowledge level as two of the characters, these are two law students that have been tasked with sifting through the correspondence for a murder case for which their boss is working on the appeal for. You join them reading a selection of emails, text messages etc following the events as they unfold. The events are centred around an Amateur Dramatics group as they wrestle with staging their latest play combined with family tragedy within the organising family and the charity appeal that follows.
There is just something so captivating in learning about the various players in the mystery. For a long time we are unaware what the mystery actually is other than someone was murdered. In stead through their various missives we learn about all the characters, details of their lives and the community as they rally to raise money to help one of their own. The fact that we don’t get the whole picture as we don’t get every communication. The messages and emails of certain arties are missing and we only get replies to them and not the full conversation. This means as the reader we have to hypothesize and fill in the gaps from the information given and build up our own theories and suspicions. Hallett invokes this in such an effortless way. Its a book that just draws you in and as you follow along with the charity appeal and get to know all the various relationships, you just can’t put it down until you know how it all plays out.
My only complaint is the ending seemed a little spoon-fed to us the reader. There are clues and important information revealed at the 11th hour that didn’t feel like it was easy to reason out during reading and that just took a little away from the excitement of unravelling it all.