Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases

The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases
The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases by Michael Capuzzo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm feeling a little more towards 2.5 stars on this one.

This book begins in the present, introducing the people, William Fleisher, Frank Bender, and Richard Walter. These are the people who began the society, Vidocq. They are all experts in the field in one way or another, which they combine their unique talents to aid in solving cold cases for mostly family members, and sometimes police departments.

The story is written in a manner which I did find to be disjointed, and a little frustrating at times. It jumps around from event to event, which well done, makes for a suspenseful and fascinating read. In this case however, it makes for a sometimes confusing, sometimes just bothersome way to read this story. If this book was re-edited to better tell these stories, it would clean it up immensely and turn it into the suspenseful, and informative story it was intended to be. It's just not cohesive that way it is, and that really detracts from the novel.

The beginning of the story reads to me a bit like a snarky boys club, a little pulp fiction, a little gumshoe black & white themed introduction. As I read on, I felt that aspect left the book and it became more serious of a read. Characters like Walter and Bender seem to be confusingly described. They read like one type of person in the beginning, then it seems as you move through the book, the author wants you to see them in an opposite light. I think it was to bring more warmth to Walter, and to make Bender seem like a flighty self-absorbed artist, but it was too jerky in how it happened and it didn't flow. That might best describe the entire story.

Within a chapter, it would flash from one investigation or background to another, and this really made me have to re-read the paragraph to make sure I was understanding we were talking about another murder victim and then refresh my brain on that one. I could not understand the reasoning and how it was relative to what the current topic was discussing.

The story of the boy in the box was a huge one for this book. I felt very let down in the end with it's anti-climatic reveal. It left me wondering "who dun'it?" (sorry) because they never really definitively closed the book on that one. Some parts were drawn out, some parts were sort of skipped over quickly, with no obvious reason relative to story line.

As for the cases themselves, when it came down to finding out the details, that was engrossing. There weren't too many gory details to gross you out, but there was enough to be relative to the story being told. I was most interested in the process of solving these crimes themselves, and less interested in hearing about the characters rise to glory, although it is relative to the crimes. The process and discovery of solving crimes is what most readers want, I included.

It was an OK read. If I didn't have interest in forensics or process of solving crimes, I would likely be horribly bored with the book, since the rest of it is too disjointed to make a really great novel. In the end, it just became a mish-mash of many different parts of these journeys, with the author undecided on which actual route he wanted to approach with telling these crimes and Vidocq Society tales.

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